Fighting For Our Clients Receive the Settlements They Deserve
Car accidents can disrupt your day when they occur and cause stress for some time afterward. After dealing with medical treatments, car repairs, and other unexpected obligations, the last thing people want is a lengthy legal case.
Many people want to simply resolve their car accident claims as fast as possible, which is why settlements can benefit all parties in an accident. A settlement is an agreement between two or more parties that any car accident victims will receive a certain amount of compensation for their losses. The agreement also involves the victims giving up any further legal rights regarding the accidents after they receive payments. This is common in car accident cases. A settlement decides matters without going to trial, and most of the time without involving the courts at all.
However, there is a big difference between:
- Settling a case to your benefit, or
- Settling so fast that you fail to protect your legal rights.
The settlement process can be more complicated than many people imagine. This is why you need to work with a car accident lawyer even if you believe you are going to settle your case. If you suffer injuries and losses due to a car accident and believe another party was at fault, do not wait to discuss your options with the legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C., in Chicago.
Settlement Offers From The At-Fault Driver
If it was clear to everyone involved that another driver caused the accident, that driver may offer to settle with you directly. The defendant might do that immediately after the crash, sometimes at the scene. The other side may try to talk you into not involving police or insurance. While this may seem like a generous offer and an easy way to get some money, it's a bad idea. Never accept payment directly from another driver in this type of situation for several reasons.
- The driver is out to protect his own interests. Many drivers offer payments up front because they know they do not have auto insurance to cover any damage or injuries. To avoid any trouble with law enforcement no insurance, they would rather offer to settle. Further, not making a police report and settling with the defendant directly may create issues with both auto and health insurance coverage.
- The payment may be unreliable. It is not likely that a driver will pull out a large amount of cash to pay you—and you can never trust that a check will not bounce. Too many people who accept offers from drivers never receive a cent of the money.
- You have no idea what your losses will be. Calculating car accident losses is difficult. New losses can develop over time. Never accept an amount before you know what kind of medical bills, lost wages, car repair costs, and other losses you will face.
Insurance Company Settlement Offers
So you know not to accept payment directly from an at-fault driver right after an accident. That being said, what about a settlement offer from that driver’s insurance company? Chances are, an insurance adjuster will call you soon after the accident to ask some questions. The company may even offer a settlement payment at that time.
Never accept this initial offer without first discussing your case with an attorney. Most car wreck attorneys in Chicago would recommend not having the conversation at all. Too many issues can come up, such as recordings of conversations and verbal settlements.
The following are some reasons to remain skeptical of an insurance settlement offer:
Lowball Settlement Offers
Insurance companies are corporations and are concerned about profits. They will try to limit liability by making low offers in hopes that an unknowing or desperate car accident victim will accept the offer.
Many people accept insurance settlements because they believe they lack other choices. However, these are not all-or-nothing situations. If you exercise your right to turn down an offer, you do not lose the chance to recover compensation. An insurance adjuster might even tell you that you have a certain amount of days to settle, and after that they will close their file. Your Chicago auto accident claim attorney will know how to negotiate for a higher amount.
Case Value is Unknown Shortly After an Accident
Knowing how much compensation you are due after an accident can be difficult, sometimes impossible. Many people accept settlement offers from adjusters because it seems like a lot of money. In reality, however, initial settlements are usually well below the amount you deserve. Our lawyers know how to fully and accurately calculate your losses. This ensures you understand whether a settlement is fair.
You Can Only Settle Once
Accepting an insurance settlement will almost certainly involve waiving your rights to any additional compensation from that crash. If you accept an offer and later realize your losses are much greater than you thought, you will most likely be out of luck. You can only settle your car accident claim once.
These are only just a few reasons of why you should always consult with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer before settling. There are many other reasons.
Settlement Negotiations in Car Accident Litigation
If an insurance company's final settlement offer is inadequate to fully compensate you for your losses, your attorney can advise when to file a personal injury lawsuit. Most claims settle out of court, however sometimes insurance adjusters are unreasonable.
Many people believe that filing a lawsuit means that they will go to trial. However, most car accidents cases resolve during litigation. The case may settle at a pre-trial conference or mediation, for example.
Our lawyers know how to use the litigation process to gather evidence and build a strong case in your favor. This will enable us to effectively negotiate the settlement amount that you deserve. This process takes time and resources. Therefore, you want a law firm with the experience and ability to fight for the settlement that will cover all of your past and future car accident losses.
Discuss Your Injuries With a Car Accident Claim Lawyer
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we regularly represent car accident victims in all stages of the insurance claim and litigation process in Chicago. We have the resources to stand up for your best interests.
Further, we will never pressure you into accepting an inadequate settlement just to resolve your claim faster. For more information about how we can help, please contact us online or call (312) 924-7575 today for a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.