What Does It Mean to “Negotiate a Settlement” for a Car Accident?

What Does It Mean to “Negotiate a Settlement” for a Car Accident?When people are involved in a car accident that wasn’t their fault, they are likely to experience pain, suffering, physical injuries, and other losses. As a result, their medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other losses – plus missed income from being out of work – might be accumulating fast, causing them to experience hardships during an already difficult time in their life. This may lead them to make the decision to contact a car accident lawyer to file a claim against the responsible party.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like a lot of “fuss,” and if you’re struggling to pay your bills, you probably assume that settling your case will be the better option. In some cases, that may be true. But it’s important to understand just what goes into a car accident settlement so that you can be prepared.

Your Tulsa car accident lawyer will first determine liability

Before you can even start the negotiation process, your Tulsa car accident attorney will need to find out who is responsible for your car accident. After we have investigated and determined who caused your accident, we will gather evidence to show proof that the individual or party is at fault. This may include specific pieces of information, such as photos, video footage, medical records, police reports, witness statements, and more. We need to know who caused the accident and how. All too often additional defendants are not realized and pursued because there are “easy” or “obvious” parties involved – the lawyers at Biby Law know that every case warrants and benefits from full discovery and pursuit of any culpable parties.

Second, we look at the true extent of your losses

Next, your car accident lawyer will determine the losses you suffered. This is one of the most important parts of the legal process that must be completed before negotiating a settlement; if we don’t have a clear view of just how severe your injuries or the total amount of your medical bills or lost wages, we can’t make an informed decision on your case’s value. We work with accountants, medical providers, economists, life care planners and other professionals to get a clear estimate of how much compensation you should expect for your losses. Economic losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses amount that come with a “price tag” are the easiest to quantify since they are ascertainable – there will be a specific amount of money you will need to pay off your outstanding bills, repair your vehicle, replace your lost wages, etc. However, if you skip or rush this portion of the claim you may end up getting far less than you deserve if you miss or forget bills or other recoverable damages, leaving you to bear the loss on your own after a settlement is reached.

We also need to calculate your non-economic losses – intangible things like pain and suffering, or mental trauma. These are much harder to quantify; after all, how do you put a price on your ability to walk, or hug your children, or drive a car without fear or flashbacks to the event? How we calculate these damages is determined on a case-by-case basis, so the exact amount will depend on the exact nature of your injuries and the incident which led to them. Once we establish a clear range of what is fair, we will begin working with the parties involved to reach a fair and just settlement.

What happens during settlement negotiations?

If you’ve watched enough movies, you may think that settlement negotiations involve two teams of lawyers yelling at each other across tables – but that’s rarely how it works. Most settlement negotiations are, well, boring to watch. They involve a lot of letters, phone calls and back-and-forth.

To start the settlement negotiation process, your Tulsa car accident attorney will discuss your expectations and your case’s perceived value based on everything that is known at that time. All the evidence (medical bills, records, photos, etc.) will then be sent to the opposing party, often an insurance adjuster, in a settlement demand package. The settlement package summarizes the case from your side’s point of view and provides all supporting evidence.  It also is an opportunity to extend an opening offer. We typically begin negotiations at the higher end of the range, knowing that the other party will start at the lowest – if they offer anything at all.

It is important to keep in mind that the other party will most likely start with a lower counteroffer in hopes that you will take less than the demanded compensation amount. However, the accident lawyers at Biby Law Firm will stand our ground and fight for the amount you need and deserve to get back on your feet after your accident. We know and understand the bills you are facing, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that you are able to pay them.

The time it takes to negotiate a settlement for a car accident

Negotiating a settlement for your car accident can become complicated very quickly. While you may think that this part of the process is easy, the truth is that it takes a lot of strong and aggressive advocating on your lawyer’s part to ensure that you are receiving the amount of money that you are owed. Therefore, the negotiation process can go on for some time. It depends on how likely the other parties are to cooperate and agree with the amount that your attorney thinks you should receive. If a settlement cannot be reached, we’ll promptly file a lawsuit, the first step in a potential trial. Although some clients hate the thought of going to trial, the reality is that all of the cases we take have the potential, however remote, to require a trial to ensure fair and full compensation for those we are hired to serve.

If you have recently been involved in a car accident and need a lawyer who will stand up for you, get in touch with the dedicated and professional team at Biby Law Firm. These types of cases can bring about lengthy and stressful settlement battles. Therefore, you want a car accident attorney who will remain in your corner and protect your rights. Call our Tulsa office or complete our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation today.