Settlement Negotiations in Car Accident Cases
Car accidents happen every day in Illinois and throughout the United States. When these accidents take place, people are often left to deal with medical bills, the cost of repairing or replacing their car, and/or lost wages due to missed work. Fortunately, Illinois law allows car accident victims to recover these damages from the at-fault party. The vast majority of car accident cases settle prior to trial because settling the case is much less expensive and time consuming than litigating the case. The experienced and reputable Schaumburg and Wheaton car accident attorneys at Therman Law Offices have strong negotiating skills and can go head-to-head with insurance companies to seek compensation on your behalf.Factors Affecting a Car Accident Settlement
While a car accident can happen in an instant, the settlement process can be long and frustrating depending on the specifics of the case. A number of factors can affect settlement negotiations in car accident cases, such as whether you hire a lawyer or handle the claim yourself; whether fault in the accident is clear-cut or disputed; and the nature and extent of the injuries and property damage you suffered as a result of the accident. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other factors that are relevant to your case as well.How Negligence Affects Settlement Negotiations in Car Accident Cases
Consider the issue of fault. In Illinois, the legal concept of negligence is used to determine fault. Negligence happens when a person owes a duty to another person but fails to carry out that duty, thereby causing an accident and the resulting harm. For example, a car driver who causes an injury accident due to excessive speeding would be considered negligent. In cases where one party was clearly negligent, that party may be more motivated to settle and could come to the table with a fair offer early on in the settlement process. In cases where negligence is disputed, however, the at-faulty party may conduct its own investigation, which could take weeks or even months.The Steps to Reaching a Settlement Agreement
In the aftermath of a car accident, victims often need financial assistance for costs related to the wreck such as medical bills (present and future), rehabilitation costs, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A car accident victim should document all of the expenses related to the accident so he or she is prepared to justify the dollar amount being sought through a settlement.
The first step in the settlement negotiation process is writing a demand letter to the insurance company, which includes a full presentation of the case with injury claims, supporting evidence, and related damages. The initial amount demanded is typically much higher than the settlement you would be willing to accept so that you have some room to negotiate.
Upon receiving the letter, the insurance company will assign your claim to a claims adjuster who will evaluate your case. The adjuster will typically issue a response detailing what they find problematic with your case and make a low counteroffer to the initial demand. However, the accident victim is not required to accept the counteroffer. Rather, you can present evidence of verdicts in similar cases to help support your claim for an increased damages award.
It is important to note that in settlement negotiations in car accident cases, the parties will probably go back and forth a number of times as they may not agree on certain issues (i.e., how much the case is worth). However, with the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to reach an agreement that is best for you. If the negotiations do not lead to an agreement, you may be forced to consider litigation as a next step.Hiring a Skilled Injury Lawyer Serving Schaumburg and Wheaton After a Car Accident
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Therman Law Offices, our knowledgeable Schaumburg and Wheaton accident attorneys will make every effort to settle your case in a fair and speedy manner. If your case cannot be settled for its full value, we will zealously advocate for your rights every step of the way. We proudly take on clients from communities including Schaumburg, Wheaton, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Oakbrook, Westmont, Terrace, Clarendon Hills, Lemont, Downers Grove, and Lisle. To discuss your legal options in more detail, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.