Five Things To Know About Car Accident Settlements 

If you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may decide to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. California is an at-fault state for car insurance, so the party found responsible for the accident is ultimately responsible for paying for the damages they caused. This is often through a car accident settlement with their liability insurance provider.

Before you accept, here are five things to know about car accident settlements:

Car Accident Settlements Are Final

Car Accident Settlements Are Final

One of the most important things to understand about car accident settlements is that once you accept a settlement, you cannot later renegotiate for more money. Even if you find out later that you suffered a more serious injury than you realized at first or you incur additional expenses related to your injury, you are stuck with the amount you settle your claim for. 

Insurance companies know this. They may try to offer you a fast settlement before you have time to understand the full extent of your injuries and damages. It is in your best interest to have an experienced car accident lawyer review any settlement offer you receive to determine if it fairly compensates you for the damages you have sustained.  

Insurance Companies Are Experts at Minimizing Your Recovery

Insurance companies are for-profit companies that get rich by raking in more money in premiums than they dole out in settlements. They train their adjusters to minimize claimants’ recovery by:

  • Issuing blanket denials on claims in hopes that the injured won’t fight back
  • Telling claimants they must give recorded statements, which they then use to minimize their claims
  • Claiming that injuries were due to some other cause unrelated to the accident or are not consistent with the accident
  • Blaming victims for the accident
  • Unnecessarily delaying the claim so that the statute of limitations expires, along with the victim’s right to recover compensation

If you remember anything about car accident settlements, remember that the insurance company is not your friend. Its interest is directly adverse to yours: it wants to minimize the value of your claim while you want to maximize it.

Your Claim Is Probably More Valuable Than You Think 

Insurance adjusters may make you think your insurance claim is not worth much money. Some are brazen to advise claimants not to hire a lawyer because they don’t want you to figure out how much your case is worth. Odds are that your claim is probably more valuable than you think.

Tort law exists to return accident victims to their pre-accident position. As such, they have a right to seek compensation for the economic and non-economic damages that stem from the accident, including short-term and long-term losses.

Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses you incurred near the time of the accident, including emergency room visits, costs for diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays, and emergency transport
  • Ongoing medical costs, including rehabilitation, therapy, visits with your doctor and specialists, medication, and medical devices
  • Future anticipated medical expenses
  • Costs to repair or replace your damaged vehicle
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Reduced long-term earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical impairments and disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring

Every case is different. Insurance adjusters might want you to think that every case is worth a certain number or under that number, but every case and claimant is unique. The potential value of your claim can depend on factors such as:

  • The types of injuries you sustained and their severity
  • The amount of damages you incurred because of the accident
  • Whose fault the accident was
  • The number and identity of the parties responsible for the accident
  • Insurance coverage available for the claim
  • The extent of your pain and suffering
  • Whether your injuries are permanent
  • The strength of your evidence

The best way to learn what your claim might be worth is to consult an experienced car accident lawyer. 

You Can Still Recover Compensation if You Are Partially at Fault for the Accident

A common way that insurance companies try to minimize the value of your claim is by blaming you for the accident. You might think that if you were partly at fault for the accident, you can’t recover compensation. This isn’t true.

California is a pure comparative fault state. This means that an accident victim can still seek compensation for an accident in which they were partially at fault as long as someone else is also to blame for the accident. This is true even if the accident victim is 99% at fault. 

However, the accident victim’s own degree of fault will work to reduce the potential compensation they can recover. For example, if they are 99% at fault for the accident, they would only be able to recover 1% of compensation for their injuries. 

Insurance companies are familiar with these rules and try to assign as much fault to the accident victim as possible so that their financial recovery is limited. An experienced car accident lawyer can fight back to minimize the fault assigned to the victim and secure meaningful compensation for them.

You Can Hire an Experienced Vista Car Accident Lawyer To Protect Your Rights

Fortunately, you do not have to go through the process of handling your car accident settlement in Vista, California, alone. Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers can investigate your case, explain your legal rights, and guide you through the claims process. Our goal is to help you secure compensation that fairly addresses your accident-related losses.

We have over 20 years of experience and have recovered more than $40 million for accident victims just like you. Let us put our considerable experience and skills to use to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at (619) 344-0360