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Should I Accept the Settlement?

Should I Accept the Settlement?

Car Accident Lawyer

While car accidents are one of the most common areas of the law, the truth is that the majority of car accidents actually don’t end up in court. While some cases squeak by, the vast majority are settled before that stage happens. The reason for this is that cases take a lot of time, energy, and money. As such, insurance companies prefer to settle before this happens. 

In fact, insurance companies may even offer you a settlement shortly after you file your claim–before a car accident lawyer is by your side. However, before accepting a settlement, there are some things you should consider. 

Does the Settlement Match the Incident?

Unfortunately, many insurance companies will try to low-ball a victim. Whether it’s because they don’t think the other person knows enough or because they don’t have legal representation, an insurance company will often offer a settlement that doesn’t begin to cover the damages following the incident. 

Even when a settlement sounds attractive on paper–especially when you have several bills mounting–there’s a chance that the settlement won’t go far enough to cover all your expenses. 

For a minor fender-bender, the offer may indeed be adequate for covering the damages sustained to your vehicle as well as your hospital bill confirming you have no major damages. However, for incidents resulting in needing substantial repair (or even a complete replacement to your vehicle) and prolonged medical care, chances are the first couple of settlements won’t go far enough. 

What Should a Settlement Cover

Sometimes there’s a misconception that following a car accident, the other party is only responsible for repairing/replacing your vehicle and any immediate medical bills. However, the truth is that a settlement can and should cover a wide range of conditions. Essentially, there are two major types of damages a settlement should cover: economic and non-economic. 

Economic damages refer to damages that are easier to calculate. Examples include:

  • Compensation for current and future medical bills (including physical therapy)
  • Property damages 
  • Lost wages 
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Funeral costs (in the case of wrongful death)

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to damages that are harder to calculate. These damages typically don’t have a quantifiable figure. Examples include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering (including the development of certain conditions like PTSD)
  • Temporary or permanent disfigurement 
  • A reduction in the quality of life 
  • Loss to one’s reputation 
  • Trouble maintaining relationships following the incident 

How a Lawyer Can Help 

Trying to negotiate with insurance companies can be extremely difficult. Insurance companies often employ different techniques like being unavailable, taking a long time to reply, or outright being unwilling to cooperate. When dealing with significant financial burdens from a car accident, many people end up accepting any settlement they can. 

However, one way to avoid this problem is by having an attorney. The right car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies and apply legal pressure when need be. Our friends at Therman Law Offices, LTD can help!