How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?

There is a lot to do after a car accident. Settling your case is one of the most important things to consider after a traffic accident. However, if this is your first time getting into a traffic crash, you might not know how car accident settlements work. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the settlement process. Contact a Bakersfield car accident attorney today to start your journey toward full and fair compensation.

How Long Do Most Car Accident Settlements Take?

It is normal to wonder how long a car accident case will take to settle. There is no guaranteed timeline for settlement after a car accident. Some factors affect the timeline of your accident settlement, including the following.

Car Accident SettlementsThe Facts Surrounding The Crash

The facts surrounding the accident can affect how long the settlement takes. For example, if there are multiple potentially responsible defendants, finding each one can take a long time. If your accident involved a government entity, then you might face complications. Patience is important in cases with multiple defendants. Holding each defendant accountable can increase your odds of full financial recovery after a car accident.

Whether The Insurance Company Cooperates

Most insurance companies do not want to pay settlements. Insurance adjusters will use various tactics to avoid paying claims to protect the company’s bottom line. The longer the insurance company cooperates with you, the longer it will take to settle your car accident case.

The Extent of Your Injuries

The extent of your injuries is an important detail that affects your settlement timeline. When you accept a settlement offer, it holds significance. Be aware that car accident injuries sometimes are not fully present until long after the crash. Settling too early is risky. Once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot return to the table and ask for more money, even if you need it to pay for medical treatment for accident-related injuries. Discuss the best time to settle with your attorney to maximize your compensation.

The Court’s Schedule

Settlement negotiations typically resolve the majority of civil accident cases. However, some insurance companies are uncooperative. If the insurance company does not offer a satisfactory settlement, your case will continue to trial.

You must submit your case to the court’s schedule once your case moves toward trial. The court might have a busy schedule. Depending on the number of cases ahead, your case’s resolution timeline can get much longer.

Accident Investigation

Your legal team will help in the car accident investigation. Accident plaintiffs need to present proof of their losses to recover a settlement. So, the investigation is an essential part of the car accident settlement process.

Accident InvestigationSo, what goes into a car accident investigation? You should know that the other driver’s insurance company will investigate the accident. The insurance company wants to find evidence to keep their insured off the hook and help them avoid paying your claim. To fight against this, you need a legal team to investigate the case.

Accident Reconstructionists are important to the investigation process. Lawyers employ Accident Reconstructionists to decide the exact cause of the crash. These professionals often testify to the court about how the accident happened. Their opinion can help provide clarity.

Your legal team’s investigation is not limited to getting a report from an Accident reconstructionist. A car accident attorney will also do the following to help build a solid case on your behalf:

  • Get a copy of the police report.
  • Review traffic camera footage.
  • Speak to eyewitnesses.
  • Interview your friends and family to understand how the accident affected your life.
  • Read medical records, including your doctor’s prognosis for full recovery.
  • Review your medical bills.

How Do I File An Insurance Claim?

You will need to file an accident claim with your insurance company. Getting legal counsel before you speak to an insurance adjuster is a good idea.

The claims process is one of the first steps you will take toward financial recovery after an accident. After the crash, the insurance company will investigate the cause. After its investigation, the insurance company will either approve or deny the claim. If the insurance company denies your claim, you can appeal.

The law requires insurance companies to follow set deadlines. Insurance companies must acknowledge receiving the claim within 15 days of filing. Insurance companies must decide within 40 days of receiving the claim. If you believe the insurance company is delaying your claim on purpose, a lawyer can aid in fighting against the delay.

What Happens If My Claim Gets Denied?

You can file an appeal if the insurance company denies your car accident claim. The insurance appeal process can get overwhelming. Your accident lawyer can support you through the appeals process. The typical insurance claims process includes the following steps.

Send An Appeal Letter

You must send an appeal letter after getting notified of the denial. An insurance claim appeal does not begin until the company receives your appeal letter. A car accident attorney can aid in drafting the letter. This is your chance to express why you believe the denial was incorrect. If the insurance company does not accept your appeal, you will likely need to file a lawsuit.

What Is My Case Worth?

No two car accidents are the same. How much your case is worth depends on the facts surrounding your accident. Typically, the more expensive your damages are, the more your case is worth. For example, you can recover the cost of surgical treatment. Injuries that require invasive treatment usually make for larger settlement offers. Speak to an attorney to learn more about what compensation is available in your case.

Is This Settlement Fair?

There are several factors that you should consider before you accept a settlement offer. You must consider the extent of your harm and what you will need in the future to fully recover from your losses.

Most accident victims are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. In special circumstances, an accident victim might recover punitive damages, too.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include the tangible losses a victim suffers after a crash. Physical accident-related losses are usually obvious, but having legal counsel can help strengthen your case. Examples of economic damages can include:

  • Current and future medical bills.
  • Current and future lost income, including commission and advances.
  • Lost earning ability.
  • The cost of rehabilitation services and domestic help.
  • Property damage.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages refer to the intangible losses from a car accident. Car accident settlements have lots of physical losses. In addition to the economic damage, there are also plenty of emotional and long-term effects of injuries.

Proving non-economic damages can be hard. With an attorney, you can get the financial compensation that you deserve.

Examples of non-economic damages can include the following:

  • Loss of consortium.
  • Disfigurement.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Lost enjoyment of life.
  • Humiliation.

Punitive Damages

Courts rarely award punitive damages. They only award these damages to punish defendants who act with malice, fraud, or oppression. Speak to an attorney about your case to decide if punitive damages are available.

Consider Life After The Accident

In addition to the above, you should consider your life after the accident. Many car accident victims do not return to life as usual after an accident. Consider whether you will make a full recovery before accepting a settlement offer. A full recovery after a car accident includes a physical, mental, and financial recovery. Your attorney will review the facts and support you in deciding if the settlement offer is fair, considering your life after the crash.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

What you do after a car accident is vital to your legal claim. Your steps can make all the difference as you pursue financial compensation.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?Get medical attention after a car accident. In addition to your physical health, you will need medical attention to support your legal claim. Insurance companies look for any excuse to avoid making a payment. When accident victims do not see a doctor, this gives adjusters the perfect excuse not to pay.

Seeking legal counsel is another important step to get the monetary recovery you need after a car accident. An experienced attorney can protect your rights after a car accident.

How Can An Attorney Help Me?

The right legal team can put you on the right track to recovery after an accident. An attorney experienced in car accident settlement recovery can get what you deserve after a crash. Here are some of the most helpful ways an attorney can support you after a car accident.

Settlement Negotiations

Working with an attorney before negotiating with an insurance company is smart. An insurance adjuster might use your inexperience to exhaust and confuse you into settling for less than you deserve. Unrepresented car accident victims have a harder time getting full compensation than accident victims who hire an attorney.

Identifying Your Damages

Some accident victims downplay their injuries. They might want to avoid feeling like a burden to their loved ones. However, do not fall into that trap. Sitting down with an attorney can be a great way to understand what compensation you can be entitled to after a car crash. Your attorney can help review your losses and plan to recover everything you deserve after a traffic accident.

Representing You At Trial

Your attorney will fight for your rights in court after a traffic accident. Representing yourself in court can be an uphill battle. Inexperience with the court system can make it more likely to leave money on the table. An attorney can persuasively present the facts so you put your best foot forward as you fight against the insurance company and defense counsel invested in seeing you lose your case.

How Do I Get My Settlement Check After a Car Accident?

Getting the final settlement check is important to putting your car accident case to bed. You might meet the following before you get the final settlement check.

Signing a Release Form

The insurance company will require you to sign a release form. Signing the release form signals the end of the case. There is no going back once you sign the form, so be careful about what you sign. Your attorney will review the release terms and explain what you agree to by signing the release form.

Your Attorney Will Get The Check First

If you hire an attorney, your lawyer will get the check sent to their office. Your attorney will deposit the settlement check into their escrow account. After depositing the check into their escrow account, your attorney will pay outstanding obligations on your behalf and take their fees.

Payment of Outstanding Liens

Paying outstanding liens is one of the potential outstanding obligations from a car accident settlement. Many car accident victims do not know they owe money to their health insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare. However, you have a legal obligation to repay these entities. Your attorney will ensure no liens are outstanding after an accident.

Getting Your Settlement Check

Car Accident Attorney, Mickey Fine

Mickey Fine, Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer

Finally, after settling, the last step involves receiving your settlement check. Your attorney can provide valuable insights into the timelines, delivery methods, and any additional steps you might need to take to ensure a smooth receipt of your settlement funds. Keeping the lines of communication open with your attorney during this stage ensures that you are well-informed and can promptly address any questions or concerns about the settlement payment process.

How Long Do I Have To Sue After a Car Accident?

If your case isn’t settled with the insurance company, filing a lawsuit might be necessary. The law limits the time accident plaintiffs have to file a lawsuit. For example, under California state law, car accident victims have two years from the day the accident happened to file suit.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

An experienced car accident attorney can support you through the settlement process.
Contact an attorney today if you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident and start getting your life back.

Car Accident
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on