Resolving Your Personal Injury Case: Insurance, Settlement, Or Judgment?
After a car accident, you might only care about the amount you end up receiving from the at-fault driver, but what happens along the way matters, too. You have three ways to be paid after you've been hurt in a car accident, and they each have good and bad points. Read on for a summary of each.
You might just assume that if the other driver is insured, you will be paid what you deserve through their insurance. In some cases, your assumptions are correct. For minor accidents with only very minor injuries, you may have luck on your side and have your needs met with the other driver's insurance company. Be sure you understand how much you should be paid and that you don't have to jump through hoops to get it, though.
The best way to resolve an accident case that has left you hurt and with a lot of bills and damages is through a settlement. To settle a case means to sign an accident release agreeing to accept a certain sum of money in return for not pursuing the case any further, such as through legal action in court. If you get paid what you deserve, a settlement provides you with a number of benefits, like:
- You can be paid quickly with a settlement. As long as your accident was not too complex, you can have a check in your hand within weeks of the accident.
- You don't have to spend money taking the case to court.
- You don't have to undergo the stress of a court experience.
It's important that victims rely on the help of a personal injury lawyer before they agree to a settlement. That is because few victims understand how much they should be paid. Here is what you should look for in a settlement when using a lawyer:
- Payment of all medical bills.
- Payment of any future anticipated medical bills.
- Replacement of lost income due to the accident.
- Payment for lost career opportunities if you are permanently disabled.
- Pain and suffering for the way the accident has affected you generally.
- Payment for any lost or damaged personal property, including your vehicle.
Sometimes, victims are not able to settle their case and must take the other driver to court. While this can take longer, some cases are appropriate for this way of resolving matters. In some cases, victims can be paid punitive damages on top of all other damages. That may happen in cases where the judge wants to make an example of the other driver for engaging in dangerous driving, distracted driving, or when dealing with a work vehicle.
Speak to an auto accident attorney for a case evaluation and to find out how your case could be resolved.