Should You Settle Your Auto Accident Claim?
If you've been involved in an auto accident, there's a good chance that you're going to get offered a settlement at some point. Whether you should take it depends on a number of factors. Here's what you should consider.
You Don't Have to Settle
The most important thing to understand is that you don't have to settle. A settlement is an agreement between you, the other driver, and the insurance companies. If you don't agree, you have every right to say no.
Sometimes, the insurance company will try to send you a check. They may attach a note to the check saying that it's in full settlement of your claims and that by cashing it you agree. No matter how much you need the money, don't cash the check. It may be worth only a small fraction of what you could get if you went to court. Talk to an auto accident attorney first to make sure you won't give up important rights by cashing the check.
Your Insurance Company Doesn't Work for You
You should also remember that your insurance company looks out for their best interests, not yours. Even when it's the other driver's insurance company that will pay, your insurance company can save money by settling faster instead of spending more time and money trying to get you a higher settlement. By law, only your attorney has an obligation to look out for your best interests. This means that you should expect more from your attorney than your insurance provider.
Does the Other Driver Have Any Money?
Sometimes, you need to take a practical approach. The insurance company might offer to settle for an amount equal to the policy limits, but you could be able to get three times as much in court. If the other driver has no savings and low income, you may never be able to collect the additional money even if you win. In that case, it might be best to take what you can get.
What Are Your Chances of Winning?
The reason cases settle is because attorneys can never be sure which side will win if the case goes to court. A stronger case should mean a higher settlement, while a weaker case means you may want to accept a lower settlement because there's a risk of going to court and getting nothing.
To learn more about whether you should settle your auto accident claim, contact a local auto accident attorney today.