How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?

A car accident settlement allows you to resolve your injury case outside the courtroomThere is no magic to settling a car accident claim. Every case is unique, and so too is every insurance settlement. However, there are some things that you should know about settlements if you’ve been hurt in a car wreck.

Understand the Settlement Process

In order to reach a fair and fast settlement, it is important to know about the:

  • Letter of notification or demand letter. This document needs to be sent to the insurance company of the at-fault driver, stating why its policyholder is legally liable for the damages caused, what injuries resulted from the crash, and what damages you suffered.
  • Insurance company’s likely reaction. The insurance companies are not in the business of paying out on a car accident settlement—they want to keep the money in their own pockets. Insurance adjusters often use intimidation tactics to test your reactions and the strength of your position and may deny their client’s responsibility. This is why an immediate on-the-scene investigation, accident reconstruction, and collection of witness reports may be necessary.
  • Negotiations. At every step, there will likely be a confrontation. The initial settlement you are offered in your Wisconsin car accident insurance claim will almost always be insufficient for covering your total damages. The insurance company and its lawyers will use every trick to lure you into a settlement that is significantly lower than what you deserve. For example, your initial car accident settlement offer may only pay for your current medical bills and lost wages up to that point. It most likely will not take into account future losses and expenses related to your car accident injuries. Initial settlements also usually do not figure in damages for the pain and suffering you endure from your injuries or the loss of enjoyment of life due to permanent disabilities.
  • Evidence and paperwork. Nothing will be settled based on verbal declarations, no matter how convincing your statements. Every single element of your claim needs to be documented.

An attorney who focuses on car accident settlement claims will be able to help you review an initial settlement offer to determine if it is an adequate amount of compensation for your damages. If your attorney determines you can seek more than the insurance company is offering, then he or she can help you continue negotiations and file a lawsuit to pursue your full settlement, if necessary. Please contact us today via this website if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced attorney about your own settlement.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham