Individuals who have suffered injuries in a car accident because of another person’s negligence often don’t know where to turn. In many cases, their injuries require extensive and costly medical treatment. If their injuries are severe, they may not be able to work or enjoy life the way they had before the crash.
Thankfully, many victims can find some recourse by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party and their insurance company. However, insurance companies like to offer victims small or moderate settlements so they can avoid a lengthy legal process and a potentially larger payout.
In some cases, accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer might be the right move for you. In other cases, you’ll need to push back with the help of a lawyer and potentially even take your claim to trial.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident at the hands of a negligent driver, keep reading to learn about some factors that should influence your decision about any settlement offer as well as how an attorney can help you make this critical choice.
Is Settling Your Car Accident Claim the Right Move?
Contrary to popular belief, most car accident claims end in a settlement before the victim files a lawsuit, and many more settle during preparations for trial or during trial. In many cases, a settlement gets the victim the compensation and sense of justice they need while letting all parties avoid the long and demanding trial process.
If you’ve been injured, settling your claim can help you avoid legal fees and the hassle of court schedules, eliminate the possibility of an unfavorable jury decision, and allow you to receive compensation faster than pursuing further litigation. Settling can also relieve a lot of stress and anxiety if you or your attorney think it’s possible you might lose at trial and thus forfeit any compensation at all.
Drafting a Demand Letter
If you’re thinking about settling your claim without going to court, you and your attorney will need to draft a demand letter to begin the resolution process. To do so, your lawyer will need to gather your medical records. This process may take weeks or even months, so you should work with an attorney to get started immediately. If your injuries caused you to miss work, your attorney will request your employment records to prove your schedule and salary before the accident and document any time missed due to your injuries or medical treatment.
Once you’ve gathered all the relevant paperwork and other materials, your attorney will need to draft a direct and concise demand letter. This letter should list important dates along your timeline and describe relevant events in detail.
Sometimes, It’s Worth It to Take a Car Accident Claim to Trial
When the insurance company offers a settlement amount less than the cost of your medical bills (including expected future medical bills), lost wages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with an attorney to help gauge the true value of your claim. In some cases, the insurance company will simply refuse to make you a fair offer, and in that case, you and your attorney will have to begin preparing for a trial.
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Keep in mind that preparing for trial doesn’t always mean you’ll have to go to trial. The process of filing a lawsuit and getting ready for litigation may be enough to show the insurance company that you’re serious about receiving fair compensation and lead them to make a better settlement offer.
Understanding the Legal Process of a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you and your attorney decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer will draft a complaint and submit it to both the court and the negligent driver. Once served, the defendant will have around 20 days to respond.
Once the trial process is underway, the discovery phase will begin. Discovery is essentially a long exchange of information between your attorney and the defendant’s attorney via written questions and other documents. In addition, both legal teams will depose relevant participants and witnesses and decide whether to use their testimony at trial.
Trials can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful, but if you’re working with an experienced injury lawyer with a successful track record, they should be able to handle most of the hard work for you. And even if you change your mind about your resolve or your ability to win at trial, preparing for trial doesn’t prevent you from continuing negotiations and securing a successful settlement.
Atkins & Markoff: Fighting for Car Accident Victims in Oklahoma
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident and you aren’t sure whether to settle with the negligent driver’s insurance company, the attorneys at Atkins and Markoff are here to help. Our team of skilled and knowledgeable attorneys and support staff have years of experience negotiating favorable settlements for car accident victims, and if we’re able to take your case, we’ll use our resources and expertise to fight for you relentlessly.
To schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your claim, review your settlement options, and help you determine the true value of your case, please contact us by calling (405) 607-8757 or completing this brief form.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.