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Settling a Personal Injury Accident Claim

Published on September 24th, 2017

A personal injury accident occurs when a person is injured in an accident at the fault of another party, usually as a result of negligence or reckless conduct. Personal injury accidents typically include:

  • Car accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Slip and fall
  • Defamation: Libel and Slander
  • Dog Bites
  • Assault, Battery and Other Intentional Torts

This can be followed by a personal injury case if the accused party is deemed legally responsible for the injury. If you find yourself in this situation, you have the right to seek compensation for damages you’ve endured. These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Household help
  • Pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket costs

If you have evidence of these damages, the opposing insurer will most likely seek a settlement. You should seek the counsel of an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer trusts, in proceeding with a case, as they can guide you through the legal process and ensure the best possible outcome. Below is some important information you may need to know about a person injury case:

Settlement vs. Court Case
Personal injury can be a long, expensive process, and more so if you decide to take the case to trial. For this reason, most personal injury cases are settled before ever going to court. This is feasible for all parties in saving time and money. You may, however, have to take it to trial if:

  • No settlement is offered
  • Only an unreasonable settlement is offered
  • Liability and damages are disputed

If the insurance company doesn’t pay, you may then have to file a lawsuit and take the case to trial in order to receive compensation.

Negotiating a Settlement
Because an insurance company is a business, they typically won’t offer an appealing settlement right out. It is advised that you hire an attorney to ensure the best possible settlement, however, here are steps to follow when negotiating a settlement:

  1. Create a settlement demand letter with a set amount in mind
  2. Do not accept the first offer
  3. Have the adjuster explain the settlement offer
  4. Present evidence and emotional points of the accident
  5. Do not adjust the demand more than once
  6. When the adjuster agrees to a settlement amount, put it in writing

After an official settlement has been made, an insurance company will usually send you a check within a few weeks.

A Structured Settlement
Although most personal injury settlements are paid in lump sum, some insurance arrangements may set up a structured settlement. A structured payment will typically offer one large payment followed by scheduled periodic payments over a longer period to provide for long term needs.

“Release of Claims” Form
Before sending you a check, the insurance company may ask you to sign a release of claims form as part of the settlement. Signing the form releases the responsible party from any further liabilities and damage payments. The insurance company essentially uses it to resolve differences and dismiss claims, thereby, terminating the case.

A Young Child Injured in a Faulty Accident
If a minor suffered damages as a result of an accident, a parent may bring a personal injury case on behalf of the child. If the case is settled, the state may require the settlement to be placed into a trust. If this is the case, you should contact an estate planning lawyer to help set up and handle the trust properly

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