Car accident claims in California do not always go to trial. In fact, it is rare for them to go to trial. While it is a good idea to hire someone who has experience in taking these cases to trial, be prepared that you may resolve your case much sooner. This is because the other party may realize the significant costs associated with litigation and may offer a settlement amount to conclude the case.
What Happens First with a Car Accident Settlement?
You will typically kick off the case with a demand letter which lays out the circumstances of the accident as well as the medical treatment you have received for your injuries. This is the initial step in a settlement negotiation and is your first and best chance to prove the strength of your case to the insurance company. The insurance company will then review this letter along with any documentation you submitted that supports your arguments. This is the first stage in achieving a car accident settlement.
Usually, your insurance company will make an initial offer in order to settle your claim. Do not be surprised if this offer is much lower than what you expected. It is very likely that you submitted a demand letter requesting more than you expected to accept, but the insurance company will usually offer an initial amount that is much lower. This might lead you to think that it’s impossible to get fair car accident settlements.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you determine what is truly a fair car accident settlement. It is important to evaluate any communication received from the insurance company or the at-fault driver because it can help to demonstrate the weaknesses in their case and give you the opportunity to submit evidence that supports the strength of your case. After you have received a counter-offer from the insurance company, you can decide to accept this offer or to continue negotiating with the company. This is based on your willingness to resolve the issue quickly as well as whether or not the offer is truly fair.
In order to work towards a fair settlement offer, it’s important to think not just about the short-term but also about the long-term. For example, many individuals injured in serious accidents in California have medical conditions that will impact them for months or years. You need to think about your long-term care and the health costs associated with attempting to recover from this condition or to treat it as best you can.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines