Carolina Accident Lawyers

North & South Carolina Car Accident Settlement FAQ

North & South Carolina Car Accident Settlement FAQ

The front end of a badly damaged BMW sedanIt’s common knowledge that most personal injury cases settle. In fact, some sources claim that as many as 95 percent of cases settle before trial. With this in mind, it’s important that car accident victims understand the settlement process. Here are some answers to questions we often hear from clients about car accident settlements. For more information or to discuss the specifics of your accident case with a car accident attorney, call Bice Law today or contact us online. We work with clients in both North & South Carolina and will review your case for free.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?

Let’s start with the basics.  A car accident settlement is intended to compensate victims for the injuries they have sustained as a result of their crash. In this context, “injuries” refers not only to their physical and emotional injuries but their economic injuries as well. For this reason, a settlement should compensate victims for their medical expenses, repair bills, lost quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as any other damages they may have incurred.

A settlement is meant to approximate what a victim would receive if the case went to trial. When the insurance company offers to settle a case, it is asking a victim to release the company from any further liability in return for a lump sum of money. This allows both parties to avoid the expense and uncertainty associated with taking a case to trial.

Why Do Some Cases Settle While Others Don’t?

Typically, this has to do with the strength of the evidence in a given case. If it’s clear that one party caused the accident, it just makes more sense for the insurance company to settle the case than to pay a team of lawyers to defend a case that’s almost certain to lose. In some particularly high-value cases, an insurance company may choose to defend a case it would settle if the victims’ injuries were less severe.

Do I Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Has Indicated It Plans to Settle My Case?

Insurance companies often reach out to accident victims shortly after an accident with an initial settlement offer, leading victims to believe that they can handle their settlement negotiations themselves. As an accident victim, it’s important to understand this is exactly what they are trying to do. By reaching out to victims before they have an opportunity to speak to a lawyer, they are increasing the chances that they will be able to settle the case for much less than it is actually worth. Victims often do not know the actual value of their cases, and insurance companies have a bag of tricks designed to get them to settle for less than they should. These include the following:

  • Indicating that they want to settle but then waiting for bills to start piling up before making an actual offer.
  • Requesting unreasonably broad medical authorizations in an effort to find anything in victims’ pasts that could justify reducing their settlement offer to denying a claim altogether
  • Starting negotiations with an unreasonably low offer
  • Pressuring victims to provide unnecessary recorded statements in hopes that they say things that will indicate that they were at fault for their accident.

Because of these issues, it’s absolutely critical that car accident victims retain an attorney to represent them, even if their case is not going to court. A lawyer will evaluate your case, determine how much it is worth, and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.

How Much Will I Get from My Settlement?

The value of car accident cases can vary wildly and can range from settlements of a few thousands of dollars to those well into the millions. Because every case is different, there is no way to give car accident victims even a general idea of what their case is worth without conducting a thorough analysis of their case. Some of the factors that may determine how much you will ultimately obtain include the following:

  • Your age
  • Your occupation
  • Your income
  • The severity and extent of your injuries
  • Your prognosis
  • Whether you were partially at fault for your accident
  • The limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy

What Happens if the Insurance Company Refuses to Make a Reasonable Settlement Offer?

In some cases, the insurance company will refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer – or even make one at all. If this occurs in your case, you will need to file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation for your accident-related losses. Filing and litigating a personal injury lawsuit is an extremely complicated matter, making it critical for car accident victims to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent them. It’s important to understand that there is a chance that your case will settle even after a lawsuit has been filed, and, in some cases, filing a lawsuit is part of calling the insurance companies bluff.

How Much Will Legal Representation Cost?

At Bice Law, we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we will only collect legal fees if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. If we don’t obtain a settlement or award on your behalf, we don’t get paid. Any legal fees we collect will be a percentage of your total recovery, which means you will never have to pay out of pocket for legal representation. Call us today to learn more about our fee structure.

Call Bice Law Today to Speak with a North & South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

If you have been hurt in a car accident North or South Carolina, you may be entitled to significant compensation. At Bice Law, we will review the facts of your case for free and will never collect legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced auto accident lawyer, contact us online or send us an email through our online contact form.