Car Accidents - When to Accept a Settlement Offer

By Mark T. Flickinger, JD on January 25, 2019

A statute of justice on a lawyer's deskNot all injury cases will go to trial. In fact, it’s been estimated that around 95 percent of cases wind up being settled outside of court. Even if your case doesn’t go to trial, having an experienced auto accident attorney on your side is crucial for receiving a fair settlement and knowing your legal rights. The Provo, UT auto collision lawyers of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are here to offer their insight and legal counsel.

Many clients as us “When should I accept a legal settlement in my car accidents case?” The team at our law firm would like to take a moment to go over these issues. This advice can be extremely useful to you.

Why a Settlement May Be Preferable to a Trial

With a settlement, a case is resolved before it goes to trial. This means that there is a proper resolution to an accident in a much shorter time than it takes to see a trial through to the end. In addition, the details of a settlement remain private and confidential, whereas a trial becomes part of public record.

How Insurance Adjusters Determine Settlement Offers

The insurance adjuster for the negligent party in an auto accident will usually determine the initial settlement offer by assessing the nature of the accident. This usually involves looking at any available police report or accident report, discussing the accident with the insured defendant firsthand, researching the plaintiff in the case, and reviewing documentation from the plaintiff. This documentation may include medical bills, medical records, business records, photos of the vehicle damage, and so forth.

After assessing the final value of the claim and meticulously reviewing all of this information, the insurance adjuster will usually derive a settlement amount that is a percentage of the total value.

Should You Accept the First Offer?

Generally, no.

Given that the settlement amount may be less than half of what is being sought, the initial offer may be too low. It is okay to reject the initial offer if you feel that it does not reflect the nature of the accident.

Making a Counter Offer

You can reject the initial offer from the insurance adjuster and seek more. This usually involves a letter outlining the nature of the injury and the damage linked to the accident. The counter offer may be much higher than the initial settlement that was proposed.

Negotiating a Fair Settlement

The settlement process is a back and forth, with the final goal being a mutually agreeable settlement amount. Mediation may be considered to help expedite the process, though other times these negotiations may proceed outside of mediation over the course of several weeks.

How an Attorney Can Help with This Process

When dealing with insurance adjusters, it’s important to have a knowledgable advocate on your side who is familiar with how to negotiate and reach a fair deal. Your auto accident lawyer will be there for you, offering insight into the proposed settlements. Your lawyer will help you know if a settlement is ideal, or if you should try to ask for more given the nature of the crash. If the collision was especially egregious, your lawyer may propose taking the case all the way to trial instead of accepting a settlement.

Contact Our Injury Accident Attorneys

For more information about your legal rights after a motor vehicle collision, be sure to contact our team of auto accident attorneys today. The lawyers of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are here to offer their assistance. You can reach our Provo office by calling (801) 753-1616.

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