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Will My Car Accident Case Settle?

By: Dan Hausman

When I first meet a client, they will often ask me this question. While most car accident cases settle, when they settle, and how much they settle for is dependent on a number of factors.

Victims of car crashes are often made an offer to settle their personal injury claims by the wrongdoer’s automobile insurance company soon after a crash is reported to the insurance company. Typically, an adjuster (a person who works for the insurance company) will call a victim and request a recorded statement. They will often make a very quick offer to settle the case, before the victim gets a lawyer, in the hopes that the victim will settle the case for less than it is actually worth. You should always consult with a lawyer before you accept this initial offer. The first consultation is always free, so it will not cost you anything to ensure you do not make a costly mistake.

When I speak on the phone with victims during a free consultation, I am often asked many questions about settlement with the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Below are some answers to some commonly asked questions about car crash settlements.

Why Do Car Accident Cases Settle?

In most car crashes, it is obvious who was at fault for the crash. Crashes that involve a rear-end collision, a driver pulling in front of oncoming traffic or going the wrong way, an intoxicated driver, or a speeder are typically not contested as to who caused the crash. These cases will often settle, but not until the victim is finished receiving medical care. However, often the insurance company will low ball the victim, and not offer fair compensation for the injuries suffered. In these cases, we must file a lawsuit, to get our clients fair compensation.

How Much is My Case Worth?

To estimate the value of your case requires a detailed review of all of the facts. Every case is different. Some of the determining factors which may influence your ultimate recovery include the extent of your injuries, what treatment you received for your injuries and how much the treatment cost, lost wages from your job, the amount of property damage to your vehicle, and the insurance coverage of the victim and the wrongdoer.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

While car accident cases can and do settle without the victim being represented by a lawyer, one must remember that insurance companies are businesses that attempt to systematically pay as little as possible to resolve personal injury claims in order to keep profits high. Insurance companies use the knowledge and experience advantage they have to get themselves a good deal on settlement at the expense of unrepresented victims. An experienced attorney can level the playing field. The attorney can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and pose a threat to an insurance company of a large jury award at trial. Insurance companies often settle for a fair amount with attorneys rather than take the risk of going to trial.

If you are a victim of a car crash and you are thinking about your settlement options, the attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. are more than happy to offer a free consultation to discuss your case. You can contact us online or call (202) 644-8303 any time that is convenient for you.