Most personal injury claims are resolved before a lawsuit is even filed, and frequently before the insurance claim stage has even begun. To put it another way, when you begin an injury claim with the goal of securing the best possible payment, your attorney will typically focus on “developing your case.” It’s less important to know exactly when a deal will be achieved.
Before You File a Lawsuit, You’ll Likely Receive a Settlement Offer
It’s safe to assume that you’ll receive a settlement offer fairly quickly after the accident, usually within the first month or two after a liability insurance policy applies and it’s evident that the insured party was at fault.
After being rear-ended at a stoplight and notifying the other driver’s insurance company that you intend to file a claim for injury and damage to your vehicle, the insurer is almost certain to make a settlement offer shortly after, in the hopes that you will agree to the deal, sign a release, and the matter will be resolved.
However, don’t rush things. Legal assistance may be necessary if your claim includes a serious injury and the nature and degree of your damages are not yet known. After accepting the insurance company’s offer, you have little recourse if your injuries turn out to be worse than you anticipated and you need extensive future medical treatment.
How Much Can the Other Party Afford?
The opposing side’s ability to pay your claim should be taken into account before accepting or rejecting a settlement offer. As an example, what happens if the person who caused the accident doesn’t have much (if any) coverage?
If that’s the case, you’ll have to think about whether the other party has the financial resources to make good on its end of a personal injury settlement. No matter how large the court award, you won’t be able to collect anything if they don’t have enough insurance, money, or assets. A lower settlement offer and not going to court may be your best option in this situation.
The only way to ensure that the responsible person is held accountable is to go to court and take your chances on whether or not a judgment is actually paid out. If a personal injury lawyer is reluctant to accept your case, don’t be startled. Look at the Norris Injury Lawyers areas we serve and see if we can help you.
Insurance Coverage Provided by the Other Party
As a general rule, the insurance company for the party liable for your injuries has the last say in how much money you get in a settlement. If an insurance company goes bankrupt, your claim will be covered by state-mandated “insurance guarantee” funds, so you don’t have to be concerned about that.
The limits of the other party’s insurance policy can have a major impact on the settlement choices you have available to you. Despite the fact that it is possible to receive compensation over the policy limit, the person or firm responsible for the accident will have to pay out of their own pocket for any damages that exceed the limit. This means that if the policy limit is low and the other party is broke, a pretty cheap settlement offer might be the best you can get.