Car Accident Settlement Basics
So you were in a car accident recently, you’ve begun communicating with your car insurance company, but your not sure what, if anything else you should be doing. You were injured in the accident and you have not started improving yet. The back and neck pain are causing you more difficulty than you care to admit. Sitting for long period of time is painful and the at-fault driver’s car insurance company is not offering you what you want or need to compensate for your damages and to cover your medical bills. You are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit for your car accident or retaining a car accident lawyer to help you through this difficult time, but you’re still not sure what to do. What are my best options after a car accident? Is a personal injury lawsuit my only option? This article is meant to answer these any many other common questions.
What is a “Settlement”?
A car accident or personal injury settlement is a resolution to your case or claim that is by agreement and is completed prior to trail. Most civil cases, including car accident personal injury lawsuits do not involve a jury trial. In fact, the majority of the time personal injury cases are settled by the parties without the cost and potential loss at jury trial.
Why would the insurance company settle my car accident lawsuit before trial?
Simple, there is no guarantee of the outcome at trial for the insurance company, and you for that matter. Juries are unpredictable and can be swayed by one fact or emotion during a trial. The insurance company is always playing the odds and trying to minimize the impact on their profits. Therefore, they want to settle for an amount they deem reasonable to avoid the potential of a huge verdict in your personal injury jury trial.
Why would I want to settle my car accident lawsuit before trial?
You have the potential of a defense verdict in your car accident lawsuit as well, i.e. you could receive nothing. Our team of fierce advocates allow our clients to decide, if they take their individual personal injury case to trial or not; however, we ensure they have our advice and all the information before making the decision.
What is a Demand Letter?
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A demand letter in a personal injury car accident case is what it sounds like, a demand for compensation or you will file a lawsuit. When you and your car accident lawyer believes your injuries are undervalued by the other driver’s insurance company, your car accident lawyer should write a demand letter to the insurance company.
Your demand letter should explain the accident, describe your injuries and damages, and request compensation to make you whole to avoid litigation in court. An experienced personal injury lawyer and good writer will be able to clearly and articulately describe your injuries, the facts and law that support your claim, and supporting medical records, and more depending upon the specifics of your case.
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Experienced personal injury car accident lawyers will typically make a demand for an amount higher than the level of what is expected to allow for negotiation room on both sides. Many times, the insurance company will require you to submit to an independent medical evaluation to support your claim for injuries. Your car accident lawyer will explain the “independent medical evaluation” in great detail before the examination takes place.
Negotiated Settlement in Car Accidents
After your attorney sends your demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and they have the chance to respond, your case may move to settlement negotiations, i.e. a back and forth between the parties to resolve your case without litigation.
In some cases and if the client is willing, you may proceed to mediation or alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) if you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company prior to filing your personal injury lawsuit. In mediation, a third-party attorney or mediator will listen to both sides arguments and defenses and try and reach an agreement between the parties to settle your car accident claim without litigation.
Mediators in car accident cases are often experienced litigators that give their input on what they believe will take place, if your car accident lawsuit proceeds to trial. After a successful mediation, the parties will reach a negotiated settlement in the car accident case and you will receive compensation without the difficult and emotional process of going through civil litigation. However, if you are unable to come to a settlement in your car accident case with the at-fault driver, your personal injury lawsuit will proceed to civil litigation and potentially jury trial.
Professional Legal Representation for your Car Accident Settlement
To settle or not to settle; what should you do? This is a difficult decision that requires weighing a number of factors, the law, and the strength of your car accident case. In most cases, it is in your best interest to seek the counsel or an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate the pros and cons of settling your car accident lawsuit. Our fierce advocates will walk you through every step in the process and ensure you have a clear understanding of each decision that you must make in your car accident settlement or car accident lawsuit.
Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Personal Injury
Handling the strains of a personal injury accident as well as the demands of the legal process can be overwhelming. At Cannon & Associates, we have the right attorneys, dedicated to serve you and deliver fierce advocacy to you in your car accident settlement or lawsuit.
Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for accident victims and will fight to protect your interests and uphold your rights. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.