What Is a Good Settlement Offer?

October 16, 2023 | By DJC Law Attorneys
What Is a Good Settlement Offer?

Car accidents can cause many injuries and losses for victims who did nothing wrong. Because you cannot go back in time and erase the accident and injuries, the legal system provides relief for crash victims through financial compensation. Often, such compensation comes from a settlement the at-fault party’s insurance company offers.

A good settlement offer in a car accident case fully and fairly compensates the accident victim, not only for their medical treatment and lost income but also for their inconvenience, pain and suffering, and mental distress.

In most situations, the at-fault party's insurance company will initially not make a fair offer. In fact, it may take time for your attorney to negotiate a fair settlement offer in your case. Given that insurance companies are never on your side, you need to have a strong, qualified car accident lawyer representing you from the beginning of your case until the very end.

A car accident attorney in your area can thoroughly investigate your accident circumstances, determine your legal options, and handle the entire claims filing and negotiation process.

In addition, your lawyer can decide if litigation will recover the most compensation in your case, especially if the insurance company refuses to offer you fair monetary damages for your injuries. Your attorney can then file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a prompt resolution in the court system.

Types of Injuries in Serious Car Crashes

In serious car accidents, accident victims may suffer extremely debilitating injuries, depending on the type of accident that occurs, their bodily movements inside the vehicle, the amount of force involved, and the number of vehicles involved in the crash.

Forceful auto accidents may cause an accident victim's body to move from side to side or back and forth, bringing about serious injuries. Additionally, a driver or passenger might strike a part of their body on something in the vehicle, such as the headrest, steering wheel, dashboard, or window, bringing about a soft tissue neck and back infusion or a traumatic brain injury.

Other potential injuries that car crash victims may suffer include internal bleeding, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, complete and incomplete paralysis, broken bones, rib fractures, open lacerations, bruising from airbag deployment, and death.

If you sustained any injuries in a recent auto accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses via a favorable personal injury settlement from the insurance company. However, before your lawyer can start negotiating settlement compensation, you must complete most of your recommended medical treatment.

This treatment might involve undergoing a medical procedure, such as surgery, or consulting a medical specialist, such as a neurologist or orthopedic doctor. You might also need to complete several weeks of physical therapy treatment.

In the meantime, your car accident lawyer can start gathering important documents for your case, including police reports, property damage photographs, photographs of the accident scene, medical treatment records, and medical bills.

After you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can forward all these documents to the insurance company as part of a settlement demand package. The insurance company adjuster will then determine whether to accept fault for the accident and, if so, may begin settlement negotiations with your attorney.

Types of Car Accidents That Lead to Injuries

Many different car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries for drivers and passengers.

Some of the most common categories of car crashes that lead to severe injuries include:

  • Tailgate accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the rear of another vehicle
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles that are traveling in the same direction and on the same road strike one another
  • Head-on collisions, where the fronts of two vehicles strike one another while they are traveling in opposite directions
  • T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side panel of a car that is traveling on an intersecting road

If you suffered physical injuries in one of these accidents, your attorney can determine the likely settlement value for your case. They can also file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company and begin negotiating a fair settlement offer from the adjuster handling your case.

Why Do Serious Car Accidents Happen?

Serious car accidents that lead to injuries frequently happen because of other drivers' negligence. Drivers are usually negligent by violating one or more traffic laws.

For example, a driver might ignore the posted speed limit, fail to use their mirrors, fail to use their turn signals, or run a red light or stop sign at a traffic intersection, negligently causing their vehicle to hit another car.

Some traffic accidents result from aggressive driving maneuvers, usually because of road rage. A driver may become frustrated when other drivers do not drive fast enough.

To get ahead of traffic, the enraged driver might tailgate other vehicles, cut off other cars in traffic, weave around other vehicles, or pass other vehicles in a no-passing zone. All these behaviors are dangerous and may lead to one or more collisions with other vehicles.

Car accidents also frequently happen when people drive while intoxicated. An intoxicated driver may experience various physical and mental symptoms preventing them from driving safely.

First, drunk drivers frequently speed and drive erratically. For example, they might weave in and out of heavy traffic or swerve in their own lane, causing a severe accident. An intoxicated driver might also experience dizziness or blurred vision, preventing them from seeing other vehicles in the area.

Finally, a drunk driver can quickly lose control of their car and may be unable to stop their vehicle due to delayed reflexes.

Similarly, many car accidents result from distracted driving, whereby a driver fails to give sufficient time and attention to the road.

Instead of watching the road in front of them and using their mirrors, a distracted driver might be texting on a cell phone or making a phone call without using a hands-free Bluetooth device. Even hands-free systems can cause serious distractions and might give drivers a false sense of safety since they are not holding their phones.

The driver might be applying makeup, combing their hair, arguing with passengers, or programming a GPS, which may cause them to take their eyes or minds off the road. A few seconds is long enough for a driver to collide with someone else, changing the victim’s life forever.

If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash that resulted from driver negligence, you need to consult with a car crash attorney in your area as quickly as possible to explore your legal options. Your lawyer can seek the fair settlement compensation that you deserve so that you become whole again after your accident.

Negotiating a Favorable Settlement Offer in Your Case

A car accident lawyer can file a claim on your behalf and negotiate a settlement with insurance company representatives for at-fault parties. Sometimes, you may need to file more than one insurance claim, as multiple liable parties may have contributed.

However, insurance companies and their adjusters are rarely easy to work with. It is not in the insurance company's best interest to offer you complete and fair monetary damages for your injuries. Instead, the insurance company wants to save itself money by paying you as little compensation as possible.

A good settlement offer fairly compensates you for all your accident-related losses. This number will differ from case to case, depending upon the accident circumstances, the severity of the accident victim's injuries, whether the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their accident, and the available insurance policy coverage limits.

Most initial offers from insurance company representatives are far below the actual value of the case. Therefore, a personal injury lawyer must negotiate with the adjuster and convince them to increase their offer.

For example, the attorney can highlight relevant portions of the medical records or police reports and downplay any case weaknesses. If the insurance company refuses to offer sufficient monetary damages, the accident victim's lawyer can file a lawsuit in court while negotiations continue.

What if the Insurance Company Won't Make You a Good Offer?

If the at-fault driver's insurance company refuses to make you a favorable offer in your case, then litigation in the court system may be a viable legal option. Litigation begins when your attorney files a lawsuit in court. At that point, the insurance company will appoint a defense attorney to represent the at-fault driver, and litigation will proceed through the court system.

During litigation, the parties may continue their settlement negotiations. However, they will be subject to various dates and deadlines that the court establishes. The parties will also complete oral and written discovery when they take one another's depositions, exchange documents, and answer written interrogatories about the case. The parties might also need to attend a settlement conference with the court in an additional attempt to resolve the matter.

If the case does not settle at some point while litigation is pending, the parties may eventually take their case to a civil jury trial and allow the jury to decide the outcome of all disputed issues. The parties might also consider one or more methods of alternative dispute resolution or ADR.

For example, the parties might take their case to mediation, where a neutral mediator can help them focus on the disputed issues and hopefully reach a resolution. At a binding arbitration hearing, a neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence and evaluate the case for the parties.

Your car accident lawyer can guide you to make intelligent and informed decisions about settlement and litigation. For example, your lawyer can determine whether a particular offer is good, given the extent of your injuries and the facts and circumstances of your case.

Your lawyer can also advise whether litigation is the best option for your case and, if so, whether you should accept a settlement offer or take your case to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.

Monetary Damages for Car Accident Injuries

Generally, a reasonable settlement offer in a personal injury case should make the accident victim whole again. Therefore, a favorable settlement offer or litigation result should first compensate accident victims for all of their out-of-pocket losses, including their medical expenses and lost income.

If they had to take a pay cut for switching to a light-duty job, they can also recover compensation for their loss of earning capacity.

In addition to these economic damages, a good settlement offer or litigation result should fairly compensate an accident victim for their intangible losses. These intangible losses may include mental distress, loss of use of a body part, lost quality of life, past and anticipated pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of spousal consortium, permanent disability or disfigurement, and lifetime care costs.

Your attorney can help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer in your case or pursue one of several litigation options.

Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer Right Away About Your Case

If you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident resulting from another driver's negligence, you need to act immediately and secure legal counsel to represent you. This is because accident victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of their accident, according to the state statute of limitations. If they do not file their lawsuit within this timeframe, they will forever waive the right to recover monetary damages for their car accident injuries.

Dan Christensen, Car Accident Lawyer
Dan Christensen, Car Accident Attorney

Once you retain a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you in your case, your lawyer can start advocating for your legal interests. Specifically, they can begin gathering the documents necessary to prove your case, represent you during settlement

negotiations with insurance company adjusters, and obtain a reasonable settlement offer for your injuries whenever possible. If that does not happen, your lawyer can litigate your car accident case in the court system and pursue the best possible result on your behalf, whether through a favorable monetary settlement or litigation result.