When a victim has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, North Carolina law allows the victim to pursue damages against the at-fault driver for any losses their injuries have caused them. While many victims may think that this must be a fairly cut-and-dry process, the truth is that car accident claims and dealing with insurance companies is anything but simple. Insurance companies are in the business to make a profit and any time they have to pay out settlement money to a victim, it cuts into that profit. This is why victims should seek out the assistance of a North Carolina car accident attorney, allowing the victim to focus on their recovery while the attorney focuses on getting them the compensation they deserve.
How Is a Settlement Reached?
There are many ways a settlement offer can be agreed to. If the parties are in active negotiations, there is likely an ongoing communication exchange taking place, with phone calls, emails, and letters between the victim’s attorney and the at-fault party’s attorney and/or insurance company. There may also be formal settlement conferences or mediation where the agreement can be reached. In situations where the lawsuit has reached trial, the agreement may be reached right outside the courtroom before or during the trial.
Factors Regarding Car Accident Settlements
When an insurance company offers a settlement amount, there are certain factors that a victim should think about when considering whether or not to agree to the settlement offer.
Before agreeing to any settlement, it is critical that the victim has reached their medical maximum healing point. If there are still questions regarding the healing process and recovery, whether there will be future medical expenses, and whether the injury will leave long-lasting or permanent damage, their attorney may advise them to postpone making any agreement to settle until the full extent of their recovery has been determined.
Keep in mind that once you settle a case, then it is permanently closed, even if you find out further down the road that your injuries have caused more damage than previously known when you signed the settlement agreement with the insurance company. When both parties reach a settlement agreement, the victim is required to sign a release before the agreed-upon compensation will be released by the insurance company. This document “releases” all legal claims the victim has against the at-fault party and the insurance company for their injuries. This means that once the release is signed, the victim is not able to pursue additional damages should issues from the accident arise in the future.
Another factor a victim should be aware of before they settle is just how much their claim is worth. Insurance companies often pressure victims who have been seriously injured to settle early in the claim process because they know that serious to severe injury claims can be substantial, depending on the victim’s losses. Insurance adjusters often take advantage of the victim’s stress and anxiety over their physical condition and what that condition means to their financial condition. An N.C. personal injury attorney will be able to calculate what your losses are and how much a fair settlement should be.
Contact an NC Accident Attorney for More Information
Settling a personal injury case and trying to negotiate with the insurance company can be difficult without the legal expertise of a North Carolina injury attorney. At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, our legal team will provide a free case evaluation to determine what legal options you may have and how to proceed. Call our office today to find out how we can help get you the financial compensation you deserve.