When you are in a car accident, you might be able to avoid court by filing an insurance claim and coming to a fair settlement agreement with the responsible party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, this process is not always as easy as it may sound. There could be many different parties involved in a car accident claim, such as the other driver, their lawyer, insurance companies, and much more.
Proving the responsible party’s liability to their insurance company may help you avoid going to court. If the insurance company sees proof that their client caused your accident, they may offer you a settlement rather than prolong your case by going to court.
A car accident lawyer may be able to help you gather the evidence you need to work towards a fair settlement so that you do not have to go to court for a car accident.
How the Settlement Process Works
When you come to an agreed-upon settlement, you avoid having to take your claim to court. However, you should be cautious when formally accepting a settlement because of the legal implications. Here are some of the fundamentals of how settlement offers and negotiations work:
A Settlement Releases Liability
When you come to an agreed settlement, you generally release the at-fault party from any further liability for the car accident. You may have to sign a release document in order to receive your compensation.
A Settlement May Be Binding
The settlement you agree on may be final and binding. In most cases, there is no going back on your decision once you sign the paperwork. Even if further damage is discovered in the future, you typically cannot go back to the liable party to obtain more compensation than what was already agreed on. This limitation makes it important to fully understand the potential value of your damages when you enter settlement negotiations.
Your Lawyer Can Review Each Offer
If you work with a lawyer on your case, they can file your insurance claim and coordinate settlement negotiations on your behalf. If they receive a settlement offer, they will present it to you.
You Have the Final Say
You will always have the final say in settlement negotiations. You have the ability to accept or deny any offer that is presented to you by your lawyer. Your lawyer can review your options with you and make suggestions, but you are the only one who can make the final decision.
You Can Still Go to Court
If the responsible party’s insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, you or your lawyer may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to trial. Keep in mind that there is a general two-year statute of limitations, or legal time limit, for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California, per Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1.
Possible Compensation in a Car Accident Case
In general, the potentially recoverable damages in a car accident case may include:
- Loss of income: for the time you had to take off of work due to the accident or your recovery process.
- Medical expenses: for any medical expenses you acquired due to the car accident you were in.
- Future medical expenses: for any future medical expenses you may have.
- Property damage: for any property damage you sustained as a result of the accident, such as vehicle damage.
- Pain and suffering: for any physical or mental pain you have gone through as a result of your accident.
This is not an exhaustive list of the types of damages you may be eligible to receive. A car accident lawyer may be able to help you determine what specific types of compensation you may be entitled to.
How Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices Can Help You
If another party caused your car accident, Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices may be able to help. A Los Angeles car accident lawyer from our firm may be able to coordinate all aspects of your case while you focus on your recovery. We may not have to go to court for your car accident, but our firm is more than willing to defend your rights on trial if necessary.
For a free case review with a member of our team, call Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices today at (888) 522-6291. We represent car accident victims in Los Angeles on a contingency-fee-basis with no upfront payments required.