In 2013 alone, approximately 2.31 million people were injured1 in motor vehicle crashes. This continued the trend of declining car-related injuries. However, despite this decline, medical expenses and economic losses have continued to increase.2
Following an automobile accident, many victims are naturally inclined to begin filing an insurance claim with their insurance company in order to recover for any damages or losses suffered during the accident. The insurance company, after completing a review of the facts and an assessment of damages and losses, will likely respond to the claim with an Auto Insurance Settlement.
If you file a claim with your insurance provider, it may seem convenient to accept the settlement offer with which the insurer responds. Although the settlement offer may ultimately be your best option and one which you should accept, it is important to always carefully consider not only what you will receive in the settlement but also that which you may be giving up.
While an estimated ninety-five percent (95%)3 of auto settlement cases are settled in the pretrial stages of legal proceedings, it is important to consider that each individual auto settlement case has its own unique set of facts. As such, a settlement offer may or may not be the best option in your individual case.
What Should I Take Into Consideration When Negotiating an Auto Insurance Settlement?
In order to determine whether or you should accept a settlement offer, you should begin by understanding what the settlement will cover. If you have been offered a settlement following an automobile accident, you should be aware of some of the following:
- What was the total amount of damages to my vehicle?
- What was the total medical costs associated to any injuries I may have sustained as a result of the accident?
- What costs does my insurance policy cover?
- How great of a difference is there, if any, between the damages and losses suffered compared to my insurance coverage?
- Do I have any potential future costs which may result directly from the accident?
Included in the insurance company’s settlement offer will likely be a Release and Waiver. Once the settlement is agreed upon and signed, the Release and Waiver will prohibit you from bringing forth any additional claims, both known and unknown at the time of signing. It is likely that settlement offer will also include a nondisclosure provision. This means that you will not be allowed to discuss the contents of the settlement agreement with anyone after you accept the settlement.
When Should Accept a Settlement Offer?
You should only accept the settlement offer that you deserve. Agreeing upon a settlement is not a one-sided process. You can negotiate to ensure that the amount you receive is fair and covers your costs accordingly. Once you receive the insurer’s best offer, you must decide whether the offer is, under your case’s unique facts, the best for you. If the offer is not the best for you, you may be able to proceed to recover in court. It is important to remember that recovery at trial is not guaranteed; you may recover more than the final settlement offer, less, or perhaps nothing at all.
It is wise to have a settlement offer reviewed by an attorney prior to acceptance. An experienced auto accident attorney in your area will carefully review the facts of the case and assess whether or not the offer is reasonable. Additionally, an attorney can help advise you as to those questions you may have regarding taking this matter to trial.
Accepting a settlement offer is an important decision. You should carefully evaluate each settlement to ensure that acceptance is the correct decision for you. In any instance, you always want to seek assistance of a lawyer who understands this particular type of Auto Insurance Settlement case.
This post was submitted by Dolman Law Group of Clearwater, Bradenton and St. Petersburg, FL – https://www.dolmanlaw.com/.