Car accident settlements can be handled at any time, from when you are first talking to the insurance companies after the crash to when the jury gives a verdict at civil trial. There are plenty of options along the way in terms of when to settle and what amount to settle for.
The role of a skilled attorney is to maximize the value of the case and advise their client on the benefits and risks of settling at a particular time, given the amounts offered. At Smith Hulsey, we have handled countless insurance settlements for Gainesville car crashes and could offer assistance in your situation.
When consulting with a car crash lawyer, one of the most important pieces of information to bring is the accident report. In Gainesville, this document can typically be purchased online within three days of the accident for under fifteen dollars.
The other important documents for a car crash victim to bring to a legal consultation include the following:
There are various reasons why a person may want to settle a car accident case before going to trial. The most common factor is the amount of money being offered to them at that time. Our seasoned car accident lawyers could calculate what a person will actually net from their settlement after paying medical bills, health insurance reimbursements, and attorney’s costs and fees.
Another reason to settle early is if the injured victim does not plan to have further medical procedures. Any evidence that the victim is fully healed and may not need future treatment will work against their settlement value.
In general, there may be various facts that a person does not want the insurance company to find out, such as pre-existing conditions or partial fault for the accident. The primary risk of going to trial rather than settling is that the jury may decide the case is not as valuable as the plaintiff thinks it is. Any of these could be reasons to settle the face early on without having a jury to determine how those factors play into the case value.
The primary reason a person will refuse a settlement offer is that the amount is insufficient. An experienced attorney’s job is to advise on when an offer is too low, when a client should continue negotiations, and when it makes sense to proceed to trial.
On the other hand, some people may want to be heard at trial regardless of economic factors. However, it is important to note that the jury does not get to hear what settlement offers were exchanged in the past. The jury will make a decision on how much money to award without knowing how the insurance companies have treated the person throughout the case.
Once medical treatment is complete or can be predicted well enough in the future, a dedicated attorney could assemble various types of information to estimate the cost of a patient’s injuries. This could include past and future medical costs, as well as the value of the person’s pain and suffering.
Our car crash lawyers could then send this information in a 30-day demand letter to the at-fault person’s insurance company, otherwise known as the liability carrier. This means that the carrier has 30 days to make a fair offer to our client. If they do not, a second lawsuit could be brought later on for bad faith liability.
Often, those demand letters lead to negotiation well beyond 30 days. Sometimes, it leads to mediation in which both sides negotiate with help from a neutral individual. Both formal and informal negotiations can occur at any point before, during, or even after the jury trial, especially if there is a pending appeal of the verdict. At any stage of the insurance settlement process, assistance from a skilled local attorney can be crucial in securing a fair amount of compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, settling may be the best way for an injured victim to get the compensation they need and deserve. The attorneys at Smith Hulsey are skilled at handling insurance settlements for Gainesville car accidents and could advise you on what is most beneficial in your case. It is important to have a knowledgeable legal professional to represent your best interests, so give us a call today for a consultation.
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