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While most automobile accidents are minor and cause damage only to the car, some accidents are more severe and can cause injuries to the driver and passengers of the vehicles involved. In any accident that was not your fault, you should not be expected to pay for repairs, medical bills and other related expenses. Where the car accident was the fault of the other driver, their insurance company should pay all of these bills, and possibly more for your pain and suffering. When dealing with automobile accident settlements, the entire process can be long and mentally draining. You may also not receive as much as you deserve if you try to handle the settlement on your own.
When accidents occur, it is the insurance company of the driver at fault who pays for damage repairs, medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. The insurance company settlements for auto accidents are typically handled out of court, which avoids a long and costly legal proceeding. Those who have been injured can work through their insurance company and reach a settlement, or they can hire a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with the offending driver’s insurance company.
Because these automobile accident settlements are handled outside the court system, the lawyer does not need to file a lawsuit or any other legal paperwork. The only thing they need to be cautious of is to reach a settlement before the statute of limitations for the accident expires. This time frame varies from state to state. For example, in the state of California, the statute of limitations for auto accident settlements is 2 years. This means that a lawsuit in a personal injury case must be filed within 2 years of the occurrence of the accident. If no settlement has been made by the insurance company as this deadline approaches, it is imperative that the attorney files a lawsuit to begin legal proceedings. In many cases, as this deadline approaches the insurance company is more likely to settle. That said, many cases will settle after your injury attorney has filed a lawsuit on your behalf. So filing a lawsuit does not mean your case is going to trial.
Regarding the size of the settlement you can expect to receive, it is usually no more than what was covered by the offending driver’s insurance policy. In most cases, this will not exceed $100,000, although in the case of truck accidents the maximum could be as high as $1 million. The amount offered by the insurance company will always take into account the nature of the accident and the at fault party’s insurance policy. The more severe the damage to the car or injuries to those involved, the higher the settlement offer will likely be.
Bear in mind that when your attorney reaches an agreement with the insurance company, you will be required to sign a release agreement. This release states that the injured driver or passengers can no longer make any claims against the insurance company in connection with this accident.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to negotiate any automobile accident settlements, it will be in your best interests to hire an attorney to do the negotiations. Because they have been involved in numerous settlements, they know how much you should be entitled to for your injuries. The insurance company will try to pay out the lowest amount possible and without the expert guidance a personal injury attorney can provide, you may end up receiving far less than you are entitled to for your injuries. The May Firm handles auto accident claims for our clients and we will provide you with an opinion regarding the value of your case, we handle all the negotiations and the proper closing in your accident claim. The May Firm has offices throughout California, including Fresno, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Carlsbad, Ventura and San Diego.
2530 Professional Parkway, Suite A, Santa Maria, California, 93455
127 El Paseo, Santa Barbara, California, 93101
297 Santa Rosa Street, San Luis Obispo, California, 93405
5500 Ming Avenue, Suite 390, Bakersfield, California, 93309