Free Consultation

Steps in a Car Accident Settlement

If you have been hurt in a car accident, and it wasn’t your fault, it might be harder than you think to receive the compensation you deserve.

St. Louis man after car wreck

When someone else caused your injuries, it is their insurance carrier who is generally responsible for paying, but they usually don’t have your best interest at heart.

That is why, if an insurance company offers you a settlement, it is in your best interests to have a St. Louis car accident lawyer in your corner to ensure that you are getting all the money you deserve. It will be additional security not just for your immediate situation, but for any later bills or injuries that can prop up.

A settlement means that you agree to resolve your case, and the logistics of what you are entitled to, outside of a courtroom. Although there is a misconception about personal injury and car accidents, many of these cases are settled far before they advance to being heard by a trial or judge.

Often, the two parties can reach an agreement about what is fair compensation and avoid a timely or expensive lawsuit. Even if you do take your case to trial, there is no guarantee that you will either get more or even win.

Step one: the demand letter

If you are injured, and you feel as if your car accident injuries are not being fairly addressed or paid for by the other person’s insurance company, then the first step to take is to write a formal demand letter. A demand letter is a letter written to the insurer that gives you an opportunity to state your grievances, explain the specifics of the incident, and to describe all the damages and injuries that you have endured. It is also a time where you request a payment amount that would be suitable to settle your case without escalating the incident to a lawsuit.

It is best that you have a St. Louis car accident lawyer draft the letter so that it is clear, concise, and so that you aren’t underestimating the settlement amount. The other insurance company will likely want to get an independent medical evaluation to determine the honesty of your claim and to make sure that your injuries are as stated.

Negotiating the settlement

Once the demand letter is received, and both sides have had the opportunity to read it and respond, then the case might move into the settlement phase. There will likely be a lot of back and forth to the negotiations before an agreement is reached. If no agreement can be found, then the case might be moved to something called an alternative dispute resolution party or a mediator. They might help to find an agreement somewhere in the middle. If not, the case will have to be escalated.

Speak with a car accident attorney

If you are injured in a car accident, it is important not to try to agree to a settlement on your own. A risky proposition, you might be left unfairly compensated or not anticipating future expenses that will then be on you to pay for. Having an experienced attorney on your side is the best way to protect yourself and receive fair compensation for your damages and injuries. Call (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

Updated: June 11, 2019