Don't settle without legal counsel

Imagine driving to work Monday morning, well rested from a long three-day weekend and ready to have a productive week in the office. Your plan took an unexpected turn when another driver decided it was more important to send a text rather than pay attention to the road. Now you are facing high medical bills for your broken nose, dislocated shoulder and various other injuries. In addition, your doctor will not release you to return to work for another two weeks and your car is totaled. The other driver's insurance company called and offered you a settlement that will not even cover a quarter of your expenses.

After accidents, insurance companies tend to offer settlements to avoid the cost of going to court. Usually, these first offers are a mere fraction of what the victim needs to cover expenses and make up for lost wages. Once you accept this settlement, you typically give up your right to pursue additional damages at a later time. This is one of the main reasons that it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney before agreeing to the insurance company's terms. An experienced attorney can help you fight back against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.

Sending a demand letter

After the insurance company offers you a low out-of-court settlement, your attorney will draft a demand letter as a response. The demand letter will provide details about the accident, including the physical and property damages you suffered. The letter will also list an amount you will accept in order to not pursue the matter further.

The negotiating table

After the other driver's insurer has received and read the letter, the insurer will issue a response. This is usually the pofint where you move into the negotiation phase of the process. Your attorney and the opposing insurance company will haggle back and forth over an amount until either an agreement is reached or it becomes clear that the court must settle the matter.

Settlement vs. trial

Taking your case to trial always comes with a certain amount of risk. If you do not accept a settlement, you risk the jury finding in favor of the insurance company or awarding you an amount lower than the insurer originally offered. It is hard to know exactly how a jury will react to a case. If you accept a settlement, then you will know exactly how much you will receive in monetary compensation and you are not leaving it to chance. However, when you accept the settlement, you will probably sign an agreement stating that you give up your right to take further legal action.

If you have been the victim of a negligent driver, it is important to understand your rights and options. To ensure your interests are protected, you should seek appropriate legal counsel.

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