How Much Should I Settle for a Car Accident?Auto Accidents
How much should I settle for a car accident? Your recovery should be your priority after a car accident. Full recovery means healing from your injuries and bouncing back from the financial difficulties a car accident can bring. You need money to do either of those things, and the responsible driver, business, or entity should pay for your damages. However, knowing what you deserve after an accident can be challenging.
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you get what you deserve after a car accident.
You should always rely on the skill of an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer to help you know if you are settling your case for a satisfactory amount of money. Do not leave money on the table during a car settlement negotiation. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney in your area immediately.
Do Not Speak to an Insurance Adjuster Without an Attorney
You should never speak to an insurance adjuster without speaking to an attorney. A car accident attorney is a legal advocate with experience negotiating with insurance companies.
Car insurance companies are for-profit businesses and have the single goal of protecting the bottom line at the cost of the car accident victim. Insurance adjusters may record your statement and use what you say against you in settlement negotiations and trials, even if you do not admit liability. You should always have a legal representative speaking on your behalf before agreeing to a conversation with an insurance company.
Never Accept the First Offer
The first settlement offer from an at-fault driver’s insurance company is usually not the best. Never accept the insurance company’s first offer without consulting a car accident lawyer. Typically, the insurance company will work quickly to resolve an outstanding claim, especially when an accident victim is unrepresented by legal counsel. Insurance companies avoid paying a higher claim as the case matures.
Further, you should not hastily accept a settlement offer. Your injuries can worsen over time or may take weeks or months to manifest. Once you accept a settlement offer, it is final. You cannot return to the insurance company and ask for more money after realizing you need more funds to cover medical expenses. A car accident attorney can help ensure that you accept a good settlement offer to cover your injuries and other damages.
Continue Medical Treatment
Always comply with your doctor’s advice after a car accident. You cannot predict the severity of your injuries without the assistance of a doctor. Your medical records can make or break your case and may be why your case increases in value. When car accident victims stop medical treatment before they get released, it can hurt their car accident case and risk them not fully recovering from their financial losses.
Your doctor should continue treating you until you reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is a status that doctors assign patients when the doctor determines that the patient is unlikely to improve. After you reach maximum medical improvement, you can estimate how much money you need to settle to pay for your current and future medical bills. Your car accident attorney may advise delaying settlement until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney
It will help if you spoke to your car accident attorney about any settlement offer from the insurance company. An experienced car accident attorney can evaluate whether the settlement offer is the best outcome available for you.
You and your car accident attorney can discuss whether you should accept the offer, present a counteroffer to the insurance company, or take the case to trial. After speaking to a car accident attorney, you will know the next best step to take to ensure your legal rights to compensation are protected.
What Factors Help Increase the Value of a Car Accident Settlement?
Many factors can help increase the overall value of a car accident settlement. A car accident attorney can help you assess the value of your case by closely evaluating the details of your claim to find factors that will increase the overall value of your car accident settlement. Some of the following factors tend to increase the value of a car accident settlement:
Severity of Injuries
The more severe your injuries are after a car accident, the higher the monetary value of your claim. After an accident, you deserve compensation for all your damages. Before accepting a settlement offer, you should consider all of your injuries, property damage, mental and emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.
The most significant fact to prove in a car accident case is who is liable. Before you can recover financially for injuries and damages from a car accident, you must prove that the other driver is liable for the crash. Determining liability can be quite challenging, depending on the type of car accident. A car accident attorney can use their legal skill and experience with car accident cases to prove liability. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney in your area to help protect your legal rights.
Insurance Policy Limits
Insurance policy limits often determine the overall value of a car accident case. Sometimes, no other money is available for a car accident victim to receive compensation for their injuries. Each driver with automobile insurance coverage has policy limits for each accident in which they are liable for injuries. The insurance policy will not usually pay more than the limits available in any claim.
Suppose you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver. In that case, you might need to file a claim with your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage policy. Your car accident attorney can help you file a claim with your insurance company to access uninsured and underinsured coverage so you can fully recover financially for your injuries.
You can seek compensation for current and future medical bills. Car accidents can leave victims with expensive medical bills incurred through no fault of their own. An experienced car accident attorney will advocate for you to receive the money you are entitled to so that you can cover your current and future medical bills and fully recover after a car accident.
Pain and Suffering
In the aftermath of a car accident, you can receive pain and suffering damages. Non-economic damages are intangible and, thus, may be challenging to prove to an insurance company or a court that you have suffered from them. Having a skilled car accident attorney working on your behalf is crucial as you try to receive the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering damages. Proving pain and suffering damages may increase the overall value of your case.
You have the right to additional damages if you lose income due to a car accident. Sometimes, car accident victims have injuries that prevent them from working. Your injuries are not your fault, so you should not have to suffer from lost income because you suffered an injury. You don’t have to carry the burden of expensive medical treatment after a car accident if you hire an attorney.
You can recover for current and future lost wages. In addition to lost wages, you can recover for lost earning capacity. Lost earning capacity refers to the change in the ability to earn money. If you can still work after the car accident but can no longer work in the same industry or at the same frequency, you may have lost earning capacity.
For example, if you were a firefighter before the car accident, but now you are physically limited and must take a sedentary job, you have lost earning capacity. Your car accident attorney will work with you to help determine if you have lost earning capacity.
Loss of Companionship/ Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is a spouse’s legal claim to recover for losing their spouse’s companionship after their spouse gets hurt in a car accident. A court may consider the value of caring for the injured spouse, the value of the injured spouse’s household services (especially if the family must hire outside help to complete tasks that the injured spouse typically performs), and the value of the injured spouse’s companionship. You should not accept a settlement offer without considering the value of a loss of consortium claim.
You may be entitled to recover for property damage caused by the car accident. Since you may face difficulty getting the money you need to fix your vehicle, contacting a car accident attorney in your area is a good idea. Your car accident attorney will help you as you allege your damages and attempt to recover for your loss. You shouldn’t accept a settlement that fails to take property loss into account if the accident wrecked your car.
What Happens If I Reject an Offer From the Insurance Company?
It is important to remember that you are not required to accept an offer just because the insurance company presents it to you. If the offer is unsatisfactory to you, you can reject the offer. You should speak to your car accident attorney to decide if it is the best possible offer and whether you will have a better outcome at trial. If you choose to reject the settlement offer, these are the next steps that your car accident attorney and you may take to resolve your claim:
Present a Counteroffer
After rejecting a settlement offer, the first step is to present a counteroffer to the insurance company. An insurance company’s first settlement offer is not always the best. Your car accident attorney will likely work with the insurance company to create a reasonable settlement offer. A part of that negotiation is a counteroffer. Your car accident attorney will work with you to decide what amount you want to settle your case and present that number to the insurance company.
Send a Demand Letter
Suppose the insurance company rejects your counteroffer for settlement. In that case, your car accident attorney may send a demand letter to attempt to resolve the case. A demand letter is an official correspondence from your car accident attorney asking to settle the case. In the demand letter, your car accident attorney will describe your injuries, your need for future medical treatment, your financial loss for treating your injuries, your lost income, property damage, and intangible damages like pain and suffering.
File a Lawsuit
Often, insurance companies are not willing to settle car accident claims. The more claims the insurance company pays out, the worse its bottom line suffers. Suppose the insurance company is not willing to settle. In that case, your car accident attorney will file a lawsuit and take the case to trial. Your car accident attorney will continue to try and settle the case while the lawsuit is pending. If the threat of a lawsuit encourages the insurance company to settle the case, you can sign a settlement agreement, and the court will dismiss the lawsuit.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were in a car accident, you need legal representation immediately. Do not delay calling an experienced car accident attorney right after a car accident- it can mean the difference between winning your case and losing. A car accident attorney’s job is to protect the legal rights of car accident victims. You can rest assured that the right car accident attorney will do the same for you.
Contact a local Charleston personal injury lawyer immediately if you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident.