What You Need to Settle a Case
After sorting through all the other details involved in a motor vehicle accident case, eventually it will be time to consider settling your case with the insurance company. Many factors come into play when deciding how to approach settling your case, whether to accept the insurance company’s offer or to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. If you’re going to attempt to settle your case, you’ll need to gather all pertinent documents relating to the accident, including your complete medical records and bills relating to treatment, all expenses that you have paid as a result of the accident, evidence of lost wages, proof of loss of earning capacity, police reports, Operator’s Reports, photographs and expert reports. The insurance company may request that you provide additional information, such as medical records for treatment prior to the accident. You will need to determine whether you want to provide this to the insurance company.
You will also need to determine what amount of compensation you feel would make you “whole.” This number is very subjective and is dependent upon a number of factors, including the nature and extent of the injury, the amount of medical bills, the amount of lost wages and lost earning capacity, permanent disability, scarring or disfigurement, and the extent of pain and suffering. Other factors to be considered are whether or not you might share in some of the fault for the accident.
More often than not, your idea of what would be a fair settlement will be markedly different from what the insurance company offers you. You will need to decide what is fair and reasonable in light of all the circumstances of the case.
Remember, even though settlements are negotiated with a human insurance adjuster, the adjuster is often constrained by a limited insurance policy, limited settlement authority, or a computer software program that determines the “value” of your case.
If you can’t settle your case with the insurance company at what you consider to be a fair amount, your option would be to file a lawsuit against the person who caused you harm.