Individuals injured in car accidents will most often seek compensation from the at-fault party who caused the accident. Because drivers are required to maintain car insurance, injured parties will receive much of their compensation from insurance companies. While this should require following a relatively straightforward process, this is not always the case.
Car accident cases rarely go to trial. The parties involved settle a majority of cases. Some cases may resolve in a matter of weeks, while more complex cases may take years before reaching a settlement. Understanding how an insurance settlement works will help you better prepare the information and documentation needed to more easily navigate settlement negotiations—a process through which an experienced attorney at Emroch & Kilduff can help you.
Insurance companies want to minimize payouts. Therefore, insurance companies will often extend settlement offers that fall short of covering all of your medical expenses. Key factors to help evaluate your case follow.
Extent and Severity of Injuries Suffered
An individual’s injuries and related medical expenses make up the majority of settlement amounts. Minor injuries that require few medical expenses tend to settle quickly. More extensive and severe injuries, which often require significant and lengthy medical treatments, tend to take more time to settle. This occurs because the insurance company will want to assess the details of your injuries and expenses. Insurance companies want to determine whether you incurred necessary or excessive treatment-related expenses. Insurance companies will contest any costs they deem unnecessary.
Conflicts Regarding Liability
Insurance companies love to contest liability. Whenever fault is in dispute, an insurance company may use that to its advantage. Any dispute regarding fault can provide an insurance company with leverage to offer you a lower settlement amount—or no settlement at all. An experienced attorney at Emroch & Kilduff will know how to determine liability and push for the settlement you deserve.
What Is the Process for Reaching a Settlement?
Most insurance settlements follow a standard, multi-step process, through which one of our attorneys may help you:
- Insurance settlements are typically initiated when the injured party issues a demand letter. A demand letter is sent to either the party at fault or the insurance company. The demand letter provides you an opportunity to highlight the facts of the case, information regarding medical expenses, and other damages sought. The demand letter should request a specific amount of money—a much greater amount than the lowest amount for which you would settle.
- The insurance company will almost always reject your initial demand. Instead, the insurance company will return with a counteroffer—an amount of money that is, more often than not, significantly lower than what you seek.
- The insurance company’s counteroffer will set the stage for negotiations. You should never accept the insurance company’s first offer; it will generally attempt to settle for far less than what you deserve. Negotiations will progress as the parties exchange counteroffers until reaching a settlement amount acceptable to both parties.
- The parties should memorialize an acceptable settlement in writing. The settlement should include the specific, agreed-upon terms such as the settlement amount, any provisions regarding the resolution of the matter, and other details. Seek legal counsel to review the settlement offer before signing. If everything is in order, sign the settlement agreement and wait to receive your compensation.
Contact a Richmond Personal Injury Attorney
Reaching a settlement with an insurance company can prove lengthy and complex. We recommend that you seek experienced legal counsel if you enter into settlement negotiations with an insurance company. Our experienced and knowledgeable legal team at Emroch & Kilduff will review the facts of your case, develop a strong legal strategy, and negotiate on your behalf to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today by calling (804) 358-1568 or online and schedule your initial consultation.