Imagine you were in a serious car accident last year and you haven’t been able to work for the last 10 months. You’ve lost a lot of earnings, and you’re struggling to make ends meet. You don’t even know where the money to pay for your medical care is going to come from.
Fortunately, your personal injury lawyer is working hard to get you a financial settlement for your injuries and lost income as fast as possible. But what is a car accident settlement exactly, and what’s involved in this process?
The definition of car accident settlement
When you settle your car accident case it means you’ve resolved your legal action before the final trial proceedings. In fact, most car accident injury claims settle before trial. That’s because a settlement ensures a result that both parties can control.
Insurance companies like to settle car accident cases because it helps to balance their liability exposure more efficiently and predictably. Injured victims like to settle car accident cases because it prevents them from losing their claims and getting nothing. Once your car accident matter is settled, you will be barred from bringing a legal action against the settling defendant in the future, so it is important that you’re satisfied with the settlement result.
Writing the demand letter
When an insurance company undervalues your injuries, you can have your attorney compose a demand letter, which is sent to the insurer and explains why you deserve a higher settlement. The demand letter will describe the accident, your injuries and your financial damages. It will then state how much you’d like to receive to settle the action without going to court.
A skilled attorney will craft your demand letter in a way that honors the fact that the insurance company may want to negotiate the settlement amount. Just because a certain amount is demanded in the demand letter does not mean that the ultimate settlement will be this amount.
Negotiating the settlement
After the demand letter is received and the defendant responds to it, a settlement negotiation may take place. The parties go back and forth until they arrive at an agreeable settlement figure on which both clients are willing to sign off.
If settlement negotiations break down and nothing can be done to arrive at a settlement, the case will need to go to trial. However, sometimes the parties can participate in alternative dispute resolution or mediation to resolve a dispute that they’re unable to negotiate around.
Getting help from a personal injury lawyer
Being down and out with injuries and not able to work is difficult enough from a psychological and emotional perspective. However, it can also ruin you financially. That’s why, if you’ve been seriously hurt in an auto accident, you may want to reach out to a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your claim and help pursue a financial settlement that will get you back on track with your life again.