A car accident settlement comes into play following a traffic collision. In Indiana, it is not uncommon for motor vehicle collisions to occur. They happen daily, and depending on the severity, can lead to minor, severe, or fatal injuries.
A crash victim is entitled to receive damages (settlements) for the harm caused to their person or vehicle. While the law makes provisions for this, several processes are involved in a settlement claim. This article will try to provide information on the steps and more.
What Is a Car Accident Settlement?
People have heard the word “Settlement” many times, but not all know what it means. In this article’s context, it means an agreement to resolve a legal demand for damages.
In a typical car accident settlement claim, the claimant (victim) agrees not to sue for damages. They also agree not to end any ongoing lawsuit until they reach a consensus with the defendant (usually the at-fault driver).
Most vehicle accident claims get resolved through settlements. Many people would rather avoid going to trial or hiring an attorney. However, it would be best to have a lawyer with you during the negotiations.
The Car Accident Settlement Process
To get your damages for the injuries sustained in a traffic collision, you must do the following:
Investigate the Crash
An investigation is the beginning of any personal injury claim. In the case of a car accident settlement, it begins from the collision scene. At this point, it is crucial to note the events leading to the crash and identify the at-fault driver.
If you failed to do this immediately after an accident, you could request the official police report. If your insurance company investigated before paying your premium, you could also ask for the evidence they gathered.
Your car accident settlement can progress from investigation or get nipped in the bud. The latter will happen if the evidence points to you as the at-fault driver. If it doesn’t, then the next step would help you.
Calculate Your Losses
The essence of a car accident settlement is monetary compensation. To get the maximum amount, you have to know the exact value of what you lost. Losses cover the following:
- Medical expenses incurred during treatment of injuries suffered.
- Non-medical expenses incurred from the accident. This can be vehicular damage or any damaged possession in the vehicle.
- Lost income, both past, and future.
- Pain and suffering and diminished quality of life.
You can get an assessor to help you ascertain the extent of your losses if you can’t do it yourself. You will also need a medical report detailing your injuries’ impact on your life.
Submit a Demand Letter
Once you’ve carried out the first two steps, the next action in a car accident settlement claim is the demand letter. You can address the correspondence to the at-fault driver or their insurance provider. To ensure you cover the field, address it to both.
In the demand letter, write a comprehensive statement of your case. Attach a request for the amount you want. Usually, the at-fault driver or their insurer will accept, reject, or issue a counterclaim. At this stage, it’s time for the next process.
In every car accident settlement claim, the victim has a maximum and minimum amount in mind. When the at-fault driver or their insurer rejects your request, they will introduce a new amount favorable to them.
It is the beginning of the negotiation stage. Next is a series of back and forths that can either end in an agreement or a gridlock. If it’s the former, you take your money and look forward to the rest of your life. If it’s not, it means you have to go to your last resort: trial.
File an Action
Once you file an action in the appropriate court, you will begin the car accident settlement process all over again. At this point, it would be best to hire a personal injury attorney. During the trial, you will present all the evidence you gathered during the investigation.
Include your loss assessment, medical report, and demand letter. The jury can decide in your favor after subjecting your evidence to Indiana’s comparative fault laws. They will either give you the amount demanded or reduce it if you are partly at fault.
Stewart|Phelps|Wood Can Help You!
A car accident settlement does not happen overnight. The processes are long and require the expertise of a personal injury attorney. Our team of lawyers at Stewart|Phelps|Wood has a combined wealth of experience. We will get you the maximum benefit. Contact us today!