A car accident creates a host of costs for those involved. In some cases, there are even serious injuries and the costs that come with those that need to be contended with. In almost all cases, these costs will be the responsibility of an insurance company to pay. However, they often aren’t eager to pay their full responsibility. While a Sacramento car accident attorney may be a better option for you, many people want to at least be aware of what settling without a lawyer may require.
Settling a Car Accident Claim Without an Attorney
If you want to settle a car accident claim without an attorney, there are several aspects of doing so to keep in mind.
The first place to start is with research. You will want to make sure that you have a solid understanding of what could be reasonably expected as compensation for your situation. You will also want strong documentation of the various costs that you incurred as a result of the accident.
Be Cautious of What You Say
The next thing to be aware of is to have some caution about what you say with regard to the accident. Before settling, there will need to be a period of negotiation involved. The insurance company will be listening for every possible hint that sounds like you are potentially taking the blame for the accident. They will likely use those things against you to argue for a lesser, or possibly zero, compensation.
Statute of Limitations
Finally, the other thing you will want to consider is that the statute of limitations on most personal injury claims is two years, and car accidents are included in that. However, depending on who is liable, who is involved in the accident, and other factors, the limitation may be a little different. It’s important you be aware of the applicable statute of limitations in your claim.
Once you no longer have the possibility of taking them to court, there’s no real reason for them to negotiate any longer. Trying to outlast the statute of limitations is a tactic that some insurance companies may take, particularly when they find that you are negotiating on your own.
Why You May Want to Work With a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
While it’s certainly understandable why some people would want to settle a car accident claim on their own, you may also want to consider the potential advantages of working with an auto accident lawyer in Sacramento, CA. It’s possible that working with them may result in a better outcome than you are able to get on your own.
A lawyer’s experience can be a tremendous advantage. They know all the negotiating tricks and tactics of the insurance companies. They also have a strong understanding of what makes for a fair, reasonable offer. Perhaps most importantly, a lawyer can tell when negotiations are no longer going to be fruitful and court may be the better option.
Better Negotiating Position
Another real advantage of allowing a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf is actually the reaction of the insurance companies. They recognize that there is not likely to be much value in attempting to offer a significantly lower offer than is reasonable. They realize that a lawyer can call that out immediately.
You’re more likely to get a serious offer from the start by working with a lawyer. Having a lawyer negotiate also carries the implicit threat of a case going to court. That can lead to a more willing negotiating partner as well.
Q: Should I Settle a Claim or Take It to Court?
A: There’s no universal answer to the question of whether to settle a claim or go through the full legal process. The answer will largely come down to the specifics of your case, the highest offer you’ve been able to negotiate, and your tolerance for risk. Generally, the potential for a greater payout exists with a court case, but the risk of getting nothing is also present. However, by settling, you are able to get a guaranteed payment and avoid the lengthy process of a trial.
Q: When Should a Car Accident Claim Be Settled By?
A: A car accident could be settled at any time after the accident, and doing so could take as long as the trial proceedings. However, if you don’t have anything settled within the designated timeframe of the relevant statute of limitations in your case, you will definitely want to have a claim filed before time expires.
Q: What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
A: After a car accident, the most important thing that you can do is ensure that you receive proper medical treatment and an assessment of your injuries. If possible, it can also be helpful to document the scene of the accident. Also, continue to document your injuries and the costs that you face as a result of the accident.
Another important thing to remember is to be careful about how you talk about the accident, as insurance companies will try to find anything that can be used against you. Lastly, you should consider contacting a Sacramento car accident lawyer so they can get to work on getting you the restitution that you deserve.
Q: How Long Will It Take to Receive the Funds From a Settlement?
A: The terms of a settlement will dictate when the funds will be dispersed. In most cases, this will involve a lump sum being issued somewhere around 30 to 60 days after the papers are signed and the settlement is official. One of the advantages of a settlement is how quickly this can be done, compared with taking a case to trial.
A Sacramento Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Get a Better Offer
In some cases, someone may be able to settle their car accident claim and get a reasonable offer. However, there are many cases where someone who is certainly capable of understanding the process and has plenty of aptitude still cannot get the compensation that they really deserve. It’s usually a lack of experience that ends up being the crucial element. If you’re looking for an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney to help in your situation, contact us at Kreeger Law Firm today.