What are the keys to understanding the car accident settlement process? What do victims need to know, and what is your attorney’s role?
For decades, Cohn & Swartzon have helped individuals and their loved ones navigate this often difficult and frustrating process. To understand how the system works and what you need to wind up with a favorable outcome, we’ll look at a few of the key points of the car settlement process and the information you’ll need to proceed.
What Information is Necessary to Proceed with a Car Accident Settlement?
Some of the important components of your car accident settlement will need to be secured immediately after the accident occurs. For example, even if the damage appears minor, insist that the police be called and wait for them to arrive.
Police reports can indicate who the officer felt was at fault in the accident, which can play a vital role in your settlement and is essential for protecting your rights.
After the police have completed their assessment of the scene, your next steps should include seeking medical attention, especially if there is any sign of pain or injury.
A doctor’s evaluation will help to ensure you’re proceeding properly with your recovery, and it will help you and your attorney determine the appropriate amount of compensation to file for.
Understanding the Car Accident Settlement Process
If your attorneys believe that they can prove negligence after investigating and reviewing the details of your case they will file a claim against the driver who was at fault and the insurance company.
Depending on the severity of the case and the settlement requested, it may take some time for the insurance company and the other driver’s representative to respond. Specific circumstances, like ongoing medical treatment or negotiations between representatives, can also lead to delays.
Most settlements in California are finalized out of court, but it is absolutely necessary to have an attorney review the language in your settlement before you sign it.
Many initial settlement offers are not sufficient for the victim’s present and future needs, and if you accept the offer, you won’t be able to pursue compensation for injuries or medical needs discovered in the future.
If you and your attorneys agree that the settlement offer is not acceptable, your lawyers can negotiate with the other side (“mediation”) to work out an acceptable settlement. The majority of car accident cases are wrapped up at this stage, but if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement, litigation will follow.
What to Avoid When You File For a Car Accident Settlement
There are a few “case killers” to be aware of if you think you’ll proceed with a claim after you’ve been in a car accident.
Many Californians already know, for example, not to say “I’m sorry” to the other driver at the scene of an accident. This can be taken as an admission of fault, and it could impede your attorneys’ ability to pursue your case.
Other potholes to avoid involve gaps in your medical treatment after an accident. If the other side can demonstrate that you waited for several weeks to see a doctor, for example, or that you didn’t complete physical therapy, it will be easier for them to convince a mediator or jury that your recovery doesn’t merit the compensation you’re requesting.
“Getting the details right is the most important part of building a settlement for our firm. That means a lot of investigation needs to happen upfront so that we can present a consistent and credible story throughout the process. We work closely with all of our clients to understand the challenges they’re facing after the accident to get a complete picture and obtain maximum compensation.”
– Saar Swartzon, Founding Principal, Cohn & Swartzon
In conclusion, choosing the right personal injury attorney is the key that unlocks the whole car accident settlement process for you. With experienced legal counsel on your team, you’ll get the information you need to make informed decisions and move forward on the road to recovery.