Should You Settle After a Car Accident?
Car accident victims have the right to be compensated for the financial loss they incurred due to injuries caused by a negligent party. After an accident, the injured person is suddenly swamped with medical expenses and other costs at a time when they are unable to work. A claim can be filed against the at-fault party’s insurer or the negligent party themselves. Resolution of the claim occurs in two ways: a negotiated settlement or a court verdict.
Most legal claims are settled before the case ever reaches the court. However, it can occur before or during the civil trial. The settlement is a legal contract between the parties, and the payment of monetary compensation is enforceable.
The receiving party is expected to relinquish their right to file another claim against the defendant for the same accident. If either party to the settlement breaches the contract, a lawsuit can be filed against them.
Clearly, there are pros and cons in settling a case. That is why you need an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process. You also need an attorney who is equally comfortable at both the negotiation table and in court.
Let’s examine the way in which a case can be successfully resolved. We will delve into the pros and cons of a settlement and when they are a good choice and when they are not.
Morris Law – Attorneys Who Have Your Back
Our attorneys believe that an injured person should not be suffering both physical and financial harm because of another’s mistake. That is why we work hard to obtain the compensation you deserve. From investigating the accident to determining liability and negotiating with the insurer, we have your best interests at heart. Do not try to go it alone. Call us at (843) 232-0944 in Myrtle Beach to schedule a free case review, and we can tell you what your options are moving forward. We are also available online.
What Is a Settlement?
Many people have heard that some cases settle out of court and that is true. However, there is much more information you need to know if you are contemplating settling your case. For instance, the entire case does not have to settle. Some aspects of it may settle, but the remainder are determined by the court or jury.
Basically, a settlement is a way to resolve a legal claim. The injured party agrees to accept a payment from the at-fault party in exchange for not filing any further claims against them. If a lawsuit has already begun, the plaintiff would agree to drop the case or a portion of it. Between 90 to 97 percent of all claims are settled outside of court.
Who Pays the Settlement?
Many settlements are paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company. In others, the at-fault party pays the settlement amount directly. When either occurs, an agreement/contract is signed by both parties and includes:
- The date of the settlement and the amount
- The rights the plaintiff gave up when they accepted the settlement
No Looking Back
When the agreement is signed and the funds are accepted, it is irrevocable. The plaintiff loses their right to pursue another claim for additional money that they may need to pay for expenses due to the accident. In other words, if the plaintiff requires surgery because of an injury incurred in the accident, they will have to pay for it themselves. The defendant is no longer responsible for paying the surgical costs.
Problems With Settling Too Early
Car accident victims often face serious injuries, hospitalization and loss of income. Taken together, these factors impose significant financial difficulties for the family. Many times, the natural inclination is to settle the case quickly and return to a sense of normalcy. The insurance companies know this and use it to make the injured party accept a low-ball figure.
The insurer wants to do this to save money, especially in cases with significant injuries. The earlier they settle, the more they save. An experienced Myrtle Beach attorney will counsel their client to wait until treatment is finished before settling and negotiate with the insurer/defendant for a higher settlement amount.
Negotiation in a Settlement Agreement
The lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant will negotiate for a fair settlement amount. The plaintiff’s lawyer will assess the damages and the amount of money needed for medical expenses and lost wages as well as pain and suffering and propose a specific amount. The lawyers for the defendant or the insurance company will propose a lower amount as they try to poke holes in the plaintiff’s claim.
As negotiations go back and forth, some settlements will reach an agreement that is considered fair. Aside from the calculations and arguments each side uses, there are other factors that favor a fair amount for the plaintiff such as the reputation of the attorney handling their case.
When it is well-known that the attorney is a tough negotiator and that they are ready to go to court if the insurer/defendant fails to provide a just amount, the defendant will be more likely to concede. Morris Law attorneys are just as comfortable at the negotiation table as they are in court.
How Much Will My Settlement Be?
There is no way to answer this question fairly. Each accident has its own set of elements such as the type and seriousness of the injuries, the behavior that caused the accident and other parameters. The bottom line is the plaintiff needs to receive the compensation they deserve.
Morris Law Works Hard for You
At Morris Law, we work hard to ensure that the amount of compensation our client receives is adequate for their injuries and other financial expenses. We are here to answer your questions and represent you with the insurance company. Just contact us at (843) 232-0944 any time to move forward.