If you are injured in a car accident, your first instincts may be about how you will need to take the other driver to court to be compensated for your injury. Many people don't realize that up to 96% of personal injury claims are never taken to court and are actually settled pre-trial. Your hopes may be on receiving a huge settlement from a judge, but the reality of what will happen is completely different. This is what you can expect during the settlement process for an auto accident.
Writing The Demand Letter
Your lawyer will help you write a letter to the other driver's insurance company that demands compensation for your injury. This letter has information about how the car accident occurred, all medical treatment that you received, as well as the compensation that you are seeking.
The hardest part of the letter is requesting a specific dollar amount, which is why a lawyer can help you determine a figure based on the specifics of your case. The amount should be higher that what you expect to receive so that you have room for negotiating. Always make sure that you request enough money to cover your future medical bills, because you cannot request more money once negotiation begins or after you settle.
Reviewing The First Offer
If the insurance company views your claim as valid, they will make an offer to try to settle the claim outside the courtroom. Expect this to be a low offer, much like how you made a high demand originally. The goal of the insurance providers is to pay you the bare minimum, even if there is more money allocated to pay your claim.
Responding To The First Offer
A lawyer will draft a response letter that declines the initial offer if it is not acceptable. There needs to be justification, such as how their offer amount will not cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses that you have paid so far. Response letters will also include the counter offer.
If you are unable to reach an agreement, you will need to start the mediation process before taking your case to court. A neutral mediator will review your case and give their perspective on a verdict. Mediation ends with another offer you will decline or accept.
Declining or Accepting The Offer
If you accept the offer, then the process is over and you will receive your settlement amount. If you decline the offer, the case will move to the courtroom where the final settlement will be decided by a judge.
For more info about how a trial would happen, speak with an auto accident attorney or click for more info.