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What is the Settlement Process for a Car Accident Claim?



There can be a lot of financial burden on a party after a car accident. Medical bills, shop repair, car rentals, and missed work can all lead to a lot of stress on your bank account. You may have spoken with a lawyer, and they’ve agreed to take on your case. Good news! It’s possible you’ll have some financial restitution coming your way.


However, the settlement process isn’t a fast matter. As you’re trying to get back on your feet after an accident, it may help to understand how the settlement process works, and how long it might take.


Medical Treatment

Typically, your lawyer will want you to finish getting medical treatment before they attempt to settle your case. This could take months or years.


The Demand Letter

After you are recovered from your injury, your lawyer may then draft a demand letter. This letter is then sent to the insurance company. Within the letter, your lawyer will have presented evidence and named an amount which will list your medical treatment, your lost wages, your out of pocket expense, and an amount of money for your pain and suffering or emotional distress. If you do not have a lawyer, you can prepare your own settlement letter and send it to the insurance company.


The Negotiation

Your insurance company will likely return with an offer. The chances are high that the proposal is less than the true value of your case. Your lawyer will proceed to mediate between your demands and the insurance company’s offer. This back and forth of new demand and counter offer can take a long time before an amount is reached that both parties accept. If you do not have an attorney, you should be your own advocate and negotiate with the insurance company.

If your attorney and the insurance company do not reach a settlement, then your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit.


Get It in Writing

If an agreement is reached, your attorney will get it in writing. Make sure that the agreed upon amount can cover all of your expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and attorney’s fees. Once you sign the settlement papers, they will be accompanied by a release form that keeps you from seeking further financial awards from the accident. Because of this, you’ll be glad to have worked with a lawyer to get the most money possible and ensuring you’ve covered all of your bases.


Finalizing the Case

The check will most likely take a few weeks to come after the papers are signed and submitted. After your attorneys receive the settlement check, they will need to negotiate with your medical providers and possibly health insurance company to make sure that all of your medical bills are covered. If you do not have an attorney, you should negotiate with your medical providers on your own. Often, they will reduce the amount of the medical bills. In the end, this process may have taken months and possibly years to come to completion. This is particularly true if you’ve used an attorney.


Other factors that contribute to the time from accident to check in your hands include:

  • Who is at fault

  • What type of injuries you suffered

  • How many parties are involved

  • If you file a lawsuit/take it to court

If you’ve been in an accident, it is worth speaking with a lawyer to look at your case. They’ll be able to guide you through this process and make sure you’re getting what you need to recover financially. Call Tanya Gomerman at 415-545-8608 today!

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