An experienced car accident attorney might negotiate several settlements during the course of a single year. If you’ve been in a car accident recently, it can be difficult for you to understand what your attorney is doing behind the scenes to get you the best possible settlement. This article will help to shed some light on the process of car accident settlements.
Beginning the Settlement Process
Most attorneys begin working on your settlement before they even contact an insurance adjuster. It all starts with talking to the victim and gathering the important information that will form the case. Police reports, medical reports and test results, vehicle estimates and eyewitness accounts are all a part of the evidence that must be gathered before the settlement process can begin. The more detailed information an attorney has available to him, the better the chance will be for a fair settlement.
Contacting the Insurance Company
Once the attorney has gathered all of the details surrounding the accident, he will contact the insurance company for the purpose of opening the legal case. In most situations, insurance companies will quickly settle to avoid having to go to court. The attorney might start by notifying the insurance company of the proceedings with a letter of intent, and then follow up with a letter of demand for compensation. Generally, the company will respond to that letter within thirty days.
To Settle or to Negotiate?
If the attorney has worked with the insurance company in the past, it’s possible that the adjuster is well acquainted with what he will accept and what he will not. In cases like these, the process can go relatively quickly, and the settlement might be completed within a few months’ time. However, it’s very common for insurance companies to begin by offering lower car accident settlements just to find out if it will be accepted. All too often, people take their claims into their own hands and don’t talk with an attorney. In cases like these, insurance companies usually end up paying less in settlements. If the settlement is refused or sent back, the insurance company might offer a higher amount, or they might refuse to go any higher. In those cases, it’s up to the attorney to advise about the next steps. The negotiation process has been known to last for a period of several months with many offers that get sent back before one is agreed upon.
Negotiating a legal case as a car accident victim is very difficult, and it’s not something that should be attempted without the assistance of a qualified attorney. Attorneys understand the law, and they know how insurance companies work.
Perhaps you’ve been in a car accident recently, and you’re thinking about taking control of your own case in an attempt to get a settlement from an insurance company. Many people do, especially with the incredible amount of information that’s available to them online. Even so, an attorney offers you the best chance for success with every step of the negotiation process.