What Is A Car Accident Settlement?
When you are injured in a car accident, you have several options for remediation. One of the most common is to reach a settlement. Sometimes an insurance company will do the right thing and you will get a fair settlement when you report the accident. However, in most cases, insurance companies will try to pay you less than what your settlement is worth. If that is the case, you need a lawyer to help you negotiate and receive a fair settlement.
What Is A “Settlement”?
In legal terms, a settlement is a payment for the damages incurred from an accident. Damages are awarded on a scale based on the details of the accident. Damages can cover everything from medical expenses to property damage to lost wages. In Florida, damages are paid by the party responsible, or “liable”, for the accident. To determine liability, Florida uses a split fault system. Meaning that they assign a percentage of fault for the accident to each party. Depending on the percentage of fault, determines the percentage of damages you’ll receive based on the value of the damages. For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident, your settlement will be $80,000.
How Do You Pursue A Settlement After A Car Accident?
The first step in starting the settlement process is to notify the insurance company of the accident and that you are injured. They will then assign a claims adjuster to review this case. During this time, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney. Insurance companies are known for using tricks to get out of paying a fair settlement for your damages. So it is important that you understand how to talk to the insurance adjuster. You don’t want to give them any details they can use against you. If you hire an attorney, you won’t have to talk to the insurance adjuster. They will work the claim so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
What If The Settlement Offer Is Inadequate?
If the insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement or denies your claim, you still have steps you can take. First, your attorney will write a demand letter. A demand letter is an official document that details the incident, your injuries, and other damages. It will also provide evidence in your favor including police reports, medical records, and documentation of the financial burden your injuries have caused. The demand letter often asks for more than what your injuries are worth so they have a good starting point for negotiations.
Once the demand letter is sent, the insurance company and your attorney will begin negotiations. Sometimes this can be done by simply communicating with the insurance company and providing evidence. Other times settlement negotiations will occur in person with an arbitrator. During this time, your attorney will gather evidence and argue your case. Then they will work with the insurance company to find a fair settlement that works for you both. For most car accidents, it is best to pursue a settlement. However, sometimes insurance companies will get out of paying a fair share. In that case, you need an experienced attorney, like the team at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh to take your case to trial.
With over 100 years of experience getting fair settlements for our clients in Sarasota, we have the knowledge to fight for you. Call us today for a free case evaluation and learn how we can help you reach a fair settlement. If we have to, we’ll take your case all the way to trial!