Car Accident Settlements
If you have been involved in a car accident, you will likely have considered whether you can settle your claim against the responsible driver or whether you will have to litigate the claim in court to obtain compensation for damages you have sustained. A settlement can be a great option to avoid litigation and obtain much-needed funds fast to pay hospital bills and other bills from loss of income. But settlements are a negotiation and are best approached with experienced negotiators who understand how liability works and the settlement value of comparable claims. If you are considering settling a car accident claim you have against another driver, it is extremely important to speak with a car accident settlement attorney at Slappey & Sadd, LLC today to make sure that you are receiving the highest offer possible.Parties to a Car Accident Settlement
When a car accident occurs, there are multiple parties involved who will have some say in the settlement process, such as:
- The Victim. If you are the victim of a car accident, you will have property damage, medical bills, and maybe even the loss of life of a loved one. Understandably, you will want a settlement that addresses the entirety of your loss, to the fullest extent possible.
- Other Victims, if Any. If there are other victims, they will also be considering settlement or litigation with the at-fault driver. Depending on the assets of the responsible party, they may or may not have enough to go around to all victims. It is important that your case is championed so you are not left holding the bag if settlement funds run out.
- The At-Fault Driver. The driver who caused the accident, a/k/a the at-fault driver, may be concerned with settlement or may not. This will depend on whether he or she had insurance, and whether he or she has assets worth protecting. If the driver had good insurance, the insurance payout may cover the extent of liability. If the driver has poor insurance or no insurance, the driver's assets could theoretically be seized to pay your damages. If the driver has no insurance and no assets, he or she is essentially uncollectible, and you may go uncompensated.
- Insurance Companies. Car insurance is required in the State of Georgia. The minimum liability coverage is $25,000 for the injury or death of a person. This is not much. But it is also possible that the driver's coverage is $500,000 or more. Depending on how much the insurance company has at risk, it may or may not want to settle. If the at-fault driver had insurance, then the insurance company will be stepping into the driver's shoes, so to speak, and will be acting as the defendant in any settlement negotiation or subsequent lawsuit.
- Law Enforcement. The police immediately on the scene after a car accident hold a lot of power when it comes to determining fault. The police will assess the cause of the accident and will even assign comparative liability. If the police indicate that you are partially responsible for the accident, then your recovery will be reduced by the amount you are responsible. By way of example, if the police say you are 10% responsible for the accident, your recovery will be reduced by 10%. It is important to review the police report after an accident to verify that liability is correctly assigned.
- The Courts. If litigation for the car accident is pending, then settlement may need to be approved by the court before being finalized. The court will want to make sure settlement has completed and then the lawsuit may be dismissed accordingly.
Car accident settlement amounts can vary widely, depending on the extent of injury or property damage. The settlement will partially depend on how much the responsible party has available for settlement. If the at-fault driver has no assets of his or her own, but had insurance, then the insurance value will be the maximum that can be obtained. But if the injuries were grievous and the responsible party has sufficient assets, then suffice it to say that a victim can be fully compensated for his or her loss.Car Accident Settlement Terms and Requirements
When settling a car accident claim, the parties will enter into a settlement agreement, whereby the victim will release his or her rights against the responsible party in exchange for the settlement payment. The responsible party or insurance company will need to tender payment to complete the agreement. It is often the case that as part of the settlement the victim is required to not release any information regarding the settlement to any party other than the parties to the settlement.Alternatives to Settlement
If the parties to a car accident are unable to settle, then the alternative is litigation. Bringing a lawsuit against the responsible party and insurance company is an excellent way to motivate them to come back to the settlement table if they have heretofore been unwilling to negotiate. Court proceedings that involve jury trials can occasionally render extremely large verdicts, and defendants and their insurance carriers do not want to risk such monumental loss unless they are certain that you have no likelihood of success. If the defendants are still unwilling to settle after instituting a lawsuit, then we trial lawyers at Slappey & Sadd, LLC will pursue the litigation and bring the case to trial if possible. Under such a scenario we would ask the court and jury to render a verdict that fully compensates you for your loss.Contact the Georgia Car Accident Settlement Attorneys at Slappey & Sadd, LLC Today
If you have been involved in a car accident where another party is at fault, settlement of your claims may be an option to avoid having to litigate your claims in court. It is important to have the right representation when approaching a settlement. The personal injury attorneys at Slappey & Sadd, LLC have represented many clients in settling their claims resulting from car accidents. If you have been involved in a car accident contact the Georgia car accident settlement attorneys at Slappey & Sadd, LLC today at 404-255-6677 to determine your rights and the possibility of settlement.