Negotiating an auto accident settlement with an auto insurance company is very common because each year approximately 2 million Americans are injured in automobile accidents of which 20,000 accidents are fatal. California is a fault liability state which means that your insurer is unlikely to provide coverage for your injuries and property losses. You may have to make a claim against the driver who caused your accident and/or recover compensation from his or her insurance carrier.
After an accident, it is important to seek medical attention and document all out of pocket expenses relating to medical treatment, lost wages, towing charges, car repairs, car rental, evidence of pain and suffering etc. All documentation relating to the accident such as the police report, witness statements and photos must also be preserved. The other party's insurance company will try to negotiate a settlement with you. A settlement means resolution of a personal injury claim by agreement and not by adjudication in court. Out-of-court car accident settlements are common as litigating in court is time consuming, expensive and unpredictable. An automobile accident settlement may be reached any time before or during trial.
Generally, the adjustor for the insurance company will use pressure tactics aimed at getting you to accept an amount of money that is barely sufficient to cover your medical expenses and losses. It is therefore advisable to have an experienced attorney by your side when negotiating a fair auto accident settlement. During negotiations your lawyer is likely to reject the first offer made by the adjustor for the insurance company and make a counter offer. In determining a settlement amount all expenses incurred by you including attorney fees and costs must be taken into account. Your lawyer will negotiate back and forth with the adjuster before an acceptable settlement amount is finalized. If the situation demands he will not hesitate to negotiate with supervisors in the insurance company's hierarchy. Your lawyer may request alternate dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration to resolve the dispute. You may also file a complaint with the Department of Insurance if you feel that the insurer is not negotiating in good faith. The amount of settlement will depend on factors like extent of injury, property loss, lost wages and documentation of expenses. Factors such as seriousness of the injury, facial disfiguration, need for complicated medical treatments, and loss of earning ability can lead to bigger settlement amounts in lieu of pain and suffering. Upon arriving at an acceptable settlement you will be asked to sign a Release which waives your right to make further claims arising from the same accident. In case settlement negotiations fail because the parties disagree on the apportionment of fault or on the quantum of compensation, the case may be referred to the local courts.
You need an attorney like Scott D. Hughes, who is a hard negotiator, has expert knowledge of the applicable laws, has experience dealing with insurance adjusters and is not intimidated by the pressure or delay tactics employed by them. If you wish to get the auto accident settlement you deserve contact Law office of Scott D. Hughes today!
Scott Hughes is a personal injury lawyer handling auto accident claims in California.