- Car accident settlements help injury victims avoid the stress and uncertainty of a trial.
- Attorneys fight for fair settlements by negotiating with insurance companies.
- When a lawyer has strong evidence backing their argument, they have a much better chance of helping their client obtain maximum compensation.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a car wreck caused by a negligent driver, you might be worried that you’ll have to go to court. However, many of these cases end in car accident settlements rather than go to trial. A skilled lawyer is important since can help you get the most out of your settlement since the worth of a car accident claim can vary.
At Sand Law, we’ll work hard to make sure that happens. We have extensive experience negotiating fair car accident settlements, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you. Schedule a free consultation by calling 651-291-7263 or contacting us online.
Understanding Car Accident Settlements
More than 1,900 people suffered severe injuries in Minnesota car wrecks in 2022. Experts estimate the economic impact of those injuries to be more than $296 million. In many instances, injury victims obtained significant settlements by taking legal action.
Car accident settlements occur when the parties resolve their legal dispute without resorting to a lengthy trial. The parties opt for a negotiated settlement amount rather than dealing with the complexities and expense of going to court. The settlement is the amount the at-fault party or their insurance company agrees to pay the injured party.
About 95% of all personal injury cases end in a settlement. However, getting to an equitable resolution requires the skill and experience of a car accident attorney.
Key actors in car accident settlements include:
- The injured party (the plaintiff) – This is the person who suffered harm due to another’s carelessness. In your case, you’re the plaintiff seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.
- The at-fault party (the defendant) – The defendant is the one who caused your harm and is liable for your damages.
- The insurance company – Insurance providers play a pivotal role in the settlement process, often handling negotiations on behalf of the at-fault party. They’re responsible for the eventual disbursement of settlement funds.
- Your car accident lawyer – Your attorney will guide you through the complexities of car accident settlements, serving as the primary negotiator to secure a favorable settlement.
The Settlement Process
In a sense, car accident settlements begin the moment a wreck happens. You must get medical help immediately if you suffer a car accident injury. Seeing a doctor will be critical for your health, of course. But it will also significantly impact your settlement amount.
The reason is that getting medical help will create a record of your treatment. Your attorney will be able to link the accident to your injury. The insurer can use certain tactics to lessen your compensation, doing things like arguing you were already hurt or your injury isn’t as severe as you claim. But since you sought treatment, your lawyer will have hard evidence to counter those arguments.
Other essential elements of receiving a fair settlement offer include the following:
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Your car accident attorney will serve as your legal guide. They’ll evaluate the case’s merits, gather evidence, formulate a negotiation strategy, and prepare to advocate for your rights. As you’ll soon learn, you need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible so they can begin their investigation.
The Demand Letter
Car accident settlements hinge on the plaintiff’s attorney’s demand letter to the defendant’s insurer. This letter details the injuries you sustained, the medical expenses you incurred, your lost wages, and any other damages suffered.
Counteroffer and Negotiation
The opposing party will likely respond quickly with a counteroffer. Once your attorney receives that letter, they’ll enter into negotiations, with both parties striving to find common ground. This is where your car accident attorney will employ their negotiation skills, emphasizing the strength of your case and demanding full compensation for your damages.
Finalizing the Settlement Agreement
Upon reaching an agreement, both sides enter into a formal settlement agreement. This document details the terms and conditions of the settlement. Once both sides agree on the terms, the document will become a legally binding contract, ending the case.
Why the Investigation is So Critical to Your Settlement
If you’re going to get a fair settlement, you’ll need proof showing the wreck wasn’t your fault. Your attorney will work to get that proof by performing a detailed investigation. These are just some of the components of that investigation:
- Accident scene evidence – Your attorney will use photos of the scene to showcase vehicle damage, road conditions, and relevant traffic signs or signals. These pictures will provide a clear and vivid depiction of the accident’s circumstances.
- Witness statements – Eyewitness accounts will support your version of events, adding credibility to your claim and reinforcing your attorney’s argument.
- Police reports – Official police reports are often the backbone of equitable car accident settlements. These documents are critical in establishing the at-fault party’s liability and aligning with your account of the incident. You likely won’t have a chance of obtaining a favorable settlement if you file your claim without a police report.
- Medical records – Medical records are also critical to your case. These documents detail injuries, treatments, and associated expenses, serving as tangible proof of the physical toll of the accident.
- Expert opinions – Your attorney may seek opinions from medical professionals or accident reconstruction specialists to fortify your case further. These experts provide professional assessments of your injury, the cause of your injury, and the accident’s potential long-term impacts on your life.
- Documentation of damages – Proof of financial losses, including medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages, will validate the economic impact of the accident. Your attorney will present your damages in a way that leaves little room for dispute and strengthens your negotiation position.
How Attorneys Obtain Fair Car Accident Settlements
Your attorney will take a strategic approach to car accident settlement negotiations. Thanks to the solid evidence mentioned above, they’ll work from a position of strength. Your attorney will prove the defendant’s liability and the extent of your injury and damages.
These are a few of the strategies plaintiff’s attorneys typically use:
A precise calculation of damages forms the basis of any effective negotiation. Attorneys meticulously evaluate current and future medical expenses, lost earnings, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Legal Precedents and Case Law
Attorneys also draw upon relevant legal precedents and case law to establish a precedent for the amount of money you seek. Referencing similar cases where courts awarded substantial settlements reinforces the validity of your demanding compensation.
Strong negotiation involves clear and concise communication. Car accident attorneys articulate the strength of their case, the credibility of their evidence, and the potential outcomes of pursuing the matter in court. Effective communication is critical to reaching a favorable settlement.
Counteracting Adjuster Tactics
Insurance adjusters often employ tactics to minimize settlements. Your car accident lawyer will work to counter whatever strategies the insurer will use. They’ll protect your rights to secure an equitable settlement that reflects the true impact of the accident.
Speak With a Sand Law Attorney
If you’re looking for a lawyer with a long track record of achieving fair car accident settlements, you want a Sand Law attorney. Schedule a free case review by calling 651-291-7263 or using our online contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do many car accident cases end in settlements instead of going to trial?
Car accident settlements provide a quicker and less expensive resolution compared to going to trial. Both parties negotiate a settlement amount, avoiding the complexities and costs associated with a lengthy court process.
How does the investigation impact the likelihood of a fair settlement?
A thorough investigation, including gathering accident scene evidence, witness statements, police reports, medical records, and expert opinions, is critical to establishing the facts of the case. This evidence strengthens the plaintiff’s position and influences the negotiation process.
What role does a car accident attorney play in the settlement process?
A car accident attorney serves as a legal guide, evaluating the case, gathering evidence, formulating a negotiation strategy, and advocating for the injured party’s rights. Their expertise is essential in navigating the complexities of the settlement process and securing a favorable outcome.