Before you accept any sort of settlement offer, it is imperative to understand what you are actually entitled to, both now and in the future.
It is mandatory that every licensed driver in the state of California carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers an at-fault driver for any injuries in their own vehicle, and other involved vehicles, and property damage as well.
In an ideal world, car accident cases are settled outside of a courtroom. Typically, drivers, often with the help of an experienced attorney, are capable of working out the details with the auto insurance company far before it gets to that point. This is accomplished through the negotiation and settlement phase. What usually happens is that an insurance company will calculate how much they believe your accident is worth and offer you a settlement.
What Is a Settlement and Should You Accept It?
The amount of money an insurance agency determines what you are eligible to receive in both economic and non-economic damages. Since each individual experiences pain or discomfort differently, assigning a standard dollar amount to someone’s level of distress is impossible. Typically, insurance companies will utilize either the per diem or multiplier method to calculate your non-economic damages. This type of damages is a bit more complicated because things like “pain and suffering” or “emotional distress” are included and difficult to quantify.
Economic damages are much simpler to determine because they are calculated using exact figures, like how much property damage to your vehicle, the total cost of lost wages, or the total of all medical expenses. It bears remembering, though, that insurance companies have numerous methods they use to try to minimize your damages for non-economic damages. You will doing yourself a huge disservice if you accept a settlement offer without first having your claim reviewed by a qualified attorney.
Once you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company cannot be held liable for anything that arises after you signed the agreement. And, since in many cases, injuries may be delayed in presenting themselves for whatever reason, this can result in you getting stuck with expensive medical bills, lasting injuries, disabilities, and all the pain and suffering that goes with it.
When It’s Time to Say No to a Settlement Offer
The best way to know when you should say “no” to any settlement offer is to have an experienced car accident lawyer review your case and calculate what your injuries and damages are worth and estimate any potential necessary future expenses. If you sign a settlement, then you have little to no recourse if something comes up after the fact.
If you have been involved in an accident, the most important thing to do is to seek legal assistance from a car accident attorney. Call the Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley at (916) 457-5022. We will help you understand your legal rights and fight for any compensation you should receive.