Most people have heard the term "settle outside of court". This means to accept a monetary payment from someone before a court case has ended with a judgment. Settling a case, such as a car accident claim, is often a good thing since you avoid the expenses, stress, and the time it takes for a case to go through the court system. About 95–96 percent of all personal injury cases end up settling before the trial starts. To find out what you need to know before you accept a settlement, read on.
How do I Know I Can Settle?
You don't have to wait for the insurance company to offer you a settlement. They'll probably assume that you are happy with having your car fixed and your medical bills paid. If you think you deserve some money for pain and suffering, lost wages, future medical bills, help around the house, rental car costs, etc., then you have to be assertive and make the first move.
How to Get Negotiations Started
Knowing how much to ask for is the most important part of a settlement. Most people don't know what fair amounts are, and that is why they accept shockingly low settlements every day. Once you take the money, you can't undo things. You cannot take any further action, so it pays to get this part right the first time. Very few ordinary citizens know enough about car accidents and the law to understand what they are owed. For that reason, many people seek help from personal injury lawyers to help them. A lawyer can take a look at your case and come up with a demand. The demand letter tells the other side what you expect to be paid to avoid taking the case to court. That usually gets the other side started with negotiations.
What Are You Entitled to in a Settlement?
Each case is unique, and even your lawyer will only provide you with a range of potential settlement figures. For the most part, the value attributed to your pain and suffering is based on how bad your physical injury was. If you had very minor injuries, you probably cannot expect to be paid more than what you would have without taking action. If you were hospitalized and had more extensive injuries, keep up with how much was spent on your treatment costs. That figure helps determines your pain and suffering award. Add to that your lost wages and other expenses. You can also take a look at an injury calculator to get a better idea of what to expect with your case.
Speak to a personal injury attorney to find out more about what to expect for your settlement.