Car accidents can impose a great many burdens on victims. It may be helpful for those injured in an accident caused by another driver to know what is about to happen. Most accidents settle via a settlement rather than going to court. If you are interested in understanding a brief overview of the accident settlement process, read on.
The Settlement Process
The car accident settlement process typically involves the following steps:
Contacting insurance companies: If you have been involved in a car accident, the first step is typically to contact your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company to report the accident and file a claim.
Investigation: Once the insurance companies are notified, they will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident and the extent of the damages. Insurance adjusters will gather evidence such as the accident report, photos, and eyewitness statements to make a ruling on who caused the accident.
Evaluation of damages: Based on the results of the investigation, the insurance companies will evaluate the damages and make an initial settlement offer. This may involve obtaining repair estimates and proof of injuries using medical records.
Negotiation: If the settlement offer is not satisfactory, negotiations may occur between the insurance companies and your personal injury attorney to reach a settlement that adequately compensates you for your damages.
Acceptance or rejection of settlement: If an agreement is reached, you may choose to accept the settlement offer. Your attorney will advise you on what to expect in monetary compensation because of damages. Know that once you sign the settlement paperwork, the case is over, and you cannot seek additional money.
Trial preparation and the trial: As the case prepares to go to trial, both parties will present their evidence in a series of actions known as discovery. It's only too late to settle an accident once it goes to the jury to decide upon and many cases end up settling during discovery actions like depositions and the like.
The car accident settlement process can be complex, and the specific steps may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Additionally, the laws and procedures for car accident settlements can vary by state, so it may be helpful to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Speak to an auto accident lawyer to find out more about the settlement process and more.