The Process for Settling a Car Accident Claim
By Chris Dixon
A trial is not always necessary to settle a car accident claim. In fact, most settlements are agreed upon before a case goes to trial. The best chance that your car accident claim has of settling outside of court is to have a detailed demand letter created with the help of an experienced lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can then negotiate with the other party to make sure that you receive the most for your injuries in damages.
Filing an Insurance Claim
You must file an insurance claim with an experienced lawyer to ensure that your car accident claim will have the best chance of winning. Not filing a car accident claim with a lawyer can be the difference between accepting a lowball offer from the insurance company and receiving the highest amount of compensation for your case. A lawyer can help with filing an insurance claim by:
- Analyzing your case
- Determining the weaknesses and strengths of your case
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
- Not accepting a lower settlement and negotiating for the most in compensation
Large insurance companies can be intimidating, and will often attempt to get you to settle for less than your claim is worth. This is often successful because they will make an offer that may seem like a lot in damages, but will be mediocre at best. A lawyer will see right through this and negotiate with the other party’s insurance company until you receive the highest amount of compensation for your car accident claim. A big part of this is writing a persuasive demand letter with the help of your attorney that will list all of the damages you’re claiming and facts to back them up.
The Demand Letter
A good demand letter is crucial when negotiating a settlement outside of court. A demand letter will include facts from the case such as damages sustained in the car accident, both economic (damage to personal property, physical injuries) and non-economic (mental and emotional distress, loss of affection). Any medical expenses that occurred because of the car accident will be listed in the demand letter, along with lost wages and any other expenses that occurred. In the conclusion of the letter, a proposed settlement will be listed. This amount will be higher than the injured person expects to receive for their injuries to allow for wiggle room during negotiations with the insurance company.
This stage of settling a car accident is important because negotiating with the insurance company is the key to receiving the highest amount of damages possible. Your personal injury lawyer will go back and forth with the insurance company until you are happy with the offer they provide. Negotiation tactics vary from case to case, but some of the more common negotiation tactics include:
- Writing a letter that reinforces the facts from your demand letter
- Stating why the amount that the insurance company provided is unacceptable
- Providing additional information, such as a copy of a medical report from your doctor
- Dropping the price of your settlement a bit. Since the amount that you provided is more than you expect to receive, dropping the price by say, $1000-$2000 can be a helpful tactic to use.
Negotiations can sometimes go on for months. There isn’t a set amount of time that a settlement has to be reached by. This might seem stressful, but an experienced lawyer will make this process easier. They will deal with the insurance company for you, keep you updated on the details of your case, and attempt to speed up the process in any way possible while making sure that you are getting the highest amount possible in damages.
Accepting or Denying the Final Offer
Once a settlement has been reached that you are willing to accept, go over the amount with your lawyer and make sure that it covers all damages and attorney fees. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to write a letter with your lawyer denying the final offer and making a counter offer. If you are ready to accept an offer and it meets your needs, then you will sign a release that says that you will give up your right to file additional claims for your injuries in exchange for the settlement amount received.
Get everything in writing if the insurance company attempts to give a verbal agreement. Once you send the release letter off, the insurance company will send you a check for the settlement amount to your attorney and the process will be done. To get started with filing your car accident claim, find a local lawyer to discuss your case with. The Dixon Injury Firm is a trusted firm that has recovered more than $34,000,000 in compensation for their clients and will fight for your car accident claim as well. For more information on how the Dixon Injury Firm can help you win your case, contact our personal injury attorneys day or night to discuss your case.
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