How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?
Your Car Accident Injury Claim Will Probably End in a Settlement. Here’s What You Need to Know.
If you seek compensation after suffering injuries and losses in a car accident, there is a good chance that your claim will be resolved through a settlement. Over 90 percent of all personal injury claims and lawsuits, including those involving car crashes, end with a negotiated agreement between the parties rather than a trial. If you want to understand how car accident injury claims work, you need to understand how car accident settlements work.
A Negotiated Agreement Either Before or After Filing a Lawsuit
After someone is injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the injury victim and their attorney can make a claim with the driver’s car insurance company for compensation. This can involve direct negotiations between the insurer and the victim’s attorney and filing a lawsuit.
A car accident settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff (the injury victim) and the defendant (the party responsible for the car accident). The defendant pays an agreed-upon sum to the plaintiff in exchange for dropping their claim or dismissing the lawsuit. The parties can settle either before or after a lawsuit was filed; some cases settle even after a trial has started.
How (and How Much) Money Goes to the Injury Victim in a Car Accident Settlement
When you hire a car accident lawyer, you’ll likely sign a contingency fee agreement where you agree that the attorney will keep a specific percentage of any amount of money they recover for you, typically 33 1/3%. Sometimes, the percentage may be higher if they obtain compensation through a trial and verdict instead of a settlement.
Your attorney will deduct the agreed-upon percentage from the settlement proceeds as their payment for representing you in your case. Besides their fees, the attorney will also subtract reasonable expenses (such as court filing fees, copying expenses, and expert witness fees) they incurred pursuing your claim.
Doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who treated you for your injuries also expect to get paid from your settlement proceeds if they have not received payment for your treatment. Your lawyer can work with these providers to reduce their bills, but the fact remains that some amount from your settlement will go to those who helped you get better. Also, if your health insurance company paid some of your medical bills, it will be entitled to reimbursement from your settlement proceeds. Reductions of the payments to the medical care providers and health insurers are usually negotiated by your attorney.
When You Settle Your Car Accident Case, You End Your Case. If You Do So Without a Lawyer, You Could Cost Yourself Thousands
As noted, when a car accident injury victim agrees to a settlement, they also typically agree to dismiss their lawsuit and give up any right to seek further compensation or make any claims from the accident. When a case settles, the case ends.
This is why those injured in car accidents need to be extremely wary of any settlement offers from an insurance company. As noted, insurers are in the business of making money, and the less they pay in claims, the more profits they make. They will tempt you with a promise of quick cash in exchange for you signing away your rights. The odds are that the amount the insurer offers you will be far less than your claim is worth.
That’s why you should not enter into any agreement with a car insurance company without first speaking with an experienced Maine car accident lawyer. Simply put, people who hire lawyers to negotiate car accident settlements receive significantly more money on average than those who negotiate without an attorney.
Contact a Maine Car Accident Attorney at Berman & Simmons for a Free Consultation
At Berman & Simmons, we are deeply committed to our clients’ well-being; that is why we are so relentless in our efforts to get them needed care and deserved compensation.
With unmatched resources and attorneys who bring decades of experience to car accident cases, we have built a lengthy track record of success, obtaining over $1.25 billion in compensation for injury victims and their families.
Contact a car accident attorney at Berman & Simmons today for a free consultation to discuss your claim.