October 10, 2020 | Car Accidents
When another party causes your car accident, you might be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, losses, and other damages. The insurance company for the at-fault driver pays the car accident claim in most cases. The insurance company offers a settlement amount for the accident victim’s damages.
When you settle with the insurance company, the company prepares a settlement agreement. You are required to sign the car accident settlement agreement before you receive money for your claim. However, it is wise to be cautious.
Car accident settlement agreements are binding contracts and might benefit the insurance company more than it benefits you.
Car Accident Settlements – What Do You Need to Know?
Before you sign a settlement agreement, make sure that you understand the following five key things about car accident settlements:
1. A Car Accident Settlement Agreement Covers All Claims
When you sign a settlement agreement for your car accident, the agreement covers all claims related to the car accident. Even though you might not realize that you have a claim for future damages because you sustained a catastrophic injury that resulted in a disability, you release your right to pursue that claim when you sign the settlement agreement.
Therefore, it is best to wait until you complete medical treatment before signing a settlement agreement. Until your doctor releases you from treatment and you receive an impairment rating, it is impossible to know the extent of your damages. Before you sign a settlement agreement, make sure you understand each claim you could pursue to receive compensation for a car crash.
2. A Settlement Agreement Covers All Parties
Some car accident claims might involve numerous parties. Multiple parties could share liability for the crash.
A car accident settlement agreement releases the driver and his insurance company from further liability for your injuries or damages. It also releases all other parties, known and unknown, from liability for your car accident claim.
3. The First Settlement Offer May Not Be the Best Offer
In many cases, an insurance company offers a low settlement amount to get rid of a claim that is worth much more than the initial settlement offer.
For example, a drunk driver causes an accident that results in traumatic injuries. The insurance company knows that the claim’s value is much higher, but it wants to reduce its liability. Therefore, it offers a quick settlement before the victim talks with a lawyer.
The company knows that the victim has been out of work and needs the money to pay bills. If it can get a settlement agreement signed before the victim realizes the value of the claim, the insurance company can save money.
4. You Can Negotiate Your Settlement
You do not need to accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company. You can negotiate the settlement amount. In many cases, a counteroffer results in a higher settlement amount.
However, you need to know the value of your claim. It can be challenging to value car accident claims if you are not familiar with personal injury laws and the damages you can receive for a car accident claim.
Victims are entitled to receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, impairments, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages. The insurance company is not going to tell you the actual value of your car accident claim.
If you are unsure how to calculate the value of your claim, talk with a personal injury lawyer before you sign the settlement agreement.
5. A Settlement Agreement is Final
A car accident settlement agreement is final. You cannot demand more money after signing the agreement, even if you discover additional claims or injuries. You could not file a personal injury lawsuit for your car accident if you entered a settlement agreement.
Therefore, you need to review the settlement agreement carefully before signing the agreement. You must read the fine print and ensure you understand all the legal terms and conditions of the agreement. Settlement agreements are binding contracts that are enforceable in court.
Consulting with a car accident lawyer before settling your injury claim can be beneficial. An attorney can confirm that the agreement covers all claims and parties that could be liable for your damages. An attorney also calculates the maximum compensation for your claim to determine if the insurance company offers a fair amount to settle your injury claim.