How The Settlement Process Works When You Make A Claim After An Auto Accident

Many people are curious about how the settlement process works during a personal injury case. The truth is they don't always work precisely the same way, but there are certainly a few things you can expect. If you're in a car accident, you need to contact an auto accident attorney. From there, the process will begin.

Before Requesting a Settlement Amount

The first step is to gather information and figure out just how much to ask for as a settlement. At this point, you can help your attorney a great deal by providing him or her with everything they ask you for. In general, you and your lawyer will need to come up with the following:

  • All bills you accrued related to the accident (medical and other expenses)
  • All information from doctors and other professionals related to your condition
  • Receipts for things you purchased since the accident
  • The names and contact info for all witnesses you can think of
  • The names and contact info for people you saw before, during, or right after the accident
  • All job related correspondence

All of these things will go towards figuring out your settlement amount. Do not procrastinate on getting any of this information to your attorney.

You may also want to keep a journal or diary from the day of your accident. This can help establish or corroborate your mental state. It's not necessary, but in some cases it can help with figuring out how much to ask for pain and suffering.

Your initial settlement request should include all of the following:

  • Medical expenses (and future medical expenses)
  • Lost earnings (and potential lost earnings)
  • Other economic loses (such as damaged property)
  • Intangibles (pain and suffering)

After you and your attorney figure it all out, your attorney will attempt to negotiate with the insurance company of the negligent party.

The Negotiations

In order to negotiate properly, your attorney will likely submit a settlement request for an amount higher than the one the two of you came up with. In an ideal situation, the insurance company will accept the settlement offer and you will receive the funds you asked for.

If the insurance company doesn't accept the initial settlement offer immediately, several things can occur. The insurance company can,

  • Argue against your version of the story
  • Ask that you see a doctor chosen by them
  • Ask to see the evidence or ask for a deposition
  • Make a counter offer

This process can go on for some time, and it's where many cases can become bogged down. This is especially true because the correspondence between your attorney and the insurance company will occur mainly through the mail with lengthy dates attached to when either party can respond by.

If all of these things end with no settlement, then you must either drop the case, or take it to trial. The insurance company also has the option of skipping straight to trial as well. The trial is a whole other thing, but the settlement process can still occur during a trial.

You Need Representation

Notice that all of this involves an attorney. Attempting the settlement process on your own is not something you should ever consider. Remember the insurance company has lawyers, and all those lawyers do is deal with cases such as yours. You need an attorney on your side to guide you through the process properly. To learn more, speak with someone like Reed Law Offices.