Car Accident Traffic Collision Settlement Process: Demand Letter, Timeline, and Payouts

by Zella

New cars are equipped with safety features and modern technology: lane-keep assistance, backup cameras, smartphone integrations, automatic parking, automatic emergency braking, and in many cases Wi-Fi.

Even with these safety features in modern cars, negligence from a driver still occurs on the road every day.

Every person who is involved in a car crash is impacted, whether mentally, emotionally, financially, or physically. A car crash can be a burden and leads to harm and injuries because of negligence.

With the help of experienced lawyers, you can get help throughout your car settlement process and you also don't need to worry about finances, which will allow you to focus more on recovery and wellbeing.

When a car accident occurs because of the negligence of another driver, you might get compensation to cover certain expenses, which include:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Hospital bills and more

Compensations for difficulties and expenses can be settled through car accident settlements.

Car accident investigation

Car accident investigation

After filing the personal injury claim with the insurance provider of the negligent driver, an accident investigation is conducted by the insurance company. This is done by the insurance claims adjuster.

The investigation includes reviewing every piece of evidence that you provide to prove the validity of your claim. While some evidence is not available like car photographs, the insurance adjuster will help to click them.

Some evidence examples that the insurer reviews at the time of investigation for the claim are as follows:

  • Pictures of your car, accident scene, and other driver's car.
  • The official report from the police of the accident.
  • If the release is signed, then the medical records.
  • Witnesses' statements were present at the time of the accident.
  • The place where the accident took place.
  • Testimony of another driver.

Some other evidence pieces that need to be considered while investigating your claim are financial damages and content on your social media platforms.

Consultation with the car accident experts

Experts can provide crucial insight into your accident and the damages related to it. The details can be used to get the personal injury claim. The opinion of the experts in the claim settlement process includes:

  • An accident reconstruction specialist: The expert can create a digital rendering of the accident, showing how these factors at play led to it.
  • Your doctor: The physician can let you know about the treatment, injuries, and prognosis.

How can car accident settlement be defined?

Settlement is the agreement between a negligent party and the victim or the insurance provider. Another party will be asked to compensate at the time of negotiation. Settlements save the time, effort, and money of both parties involved in the accident.

A settlement process is entirely different from the verdict coming up from the court. The settlement can be done either before the court case or in the middle of the one.

Deciding whether to keep the case on settlement or go on trial can be a difficult decision that depends upon the case and the victim. Consulting an experienced car accident lawyer in Gainesville, GA can help to decide easily.

The procedure of car accident settlement

The settlements will help you to get the compensation which is your right and you deserve from the car accident. No equation is set for your payout, yet certain steps need to be taken into consideration for the claim and negotiating a settlement.

1. After the accident

  • Stay calm and take a look at the situation

Make sure you and the ones with you in the car are safe. Seek medical attention if there's any person who is injured severely.

  • Call police without wasting time

While making a report, it will help your case to get in documents. Let them know about the injuries if there are any. Stay where the accident has occurred and cooperate with what the officers ask.

  • Look for the evidence

Pieces of evidence at the accident spot include taking videos and photographs after the accident, a statement from the witness, and physical evidence.

Get the documents of whatever evidence possible. Note down the essential points of what happened at the spot and if there are any damages.

The evidence that will be helpful in the future to claim settlement is medical records that might have occurred from the police reports and accidents.

  • Collect as much information as possible

Collecting essential information will help to make the settlement process fast. You can share the information with other parties. If it's not your fault, never apologize. Some of the information includes:

⮚ Phone number and name of the people involved in the accident

⮚ Information of the insurance

⮚ Information of the police officer and reference/service number of the police report

⮚ Information of the vehicle like a model, make, and license plate

⮚ If possible, contact information and names of the witnesses

⮚ Contact the insurance provider

Don't sign on any document yet, but make sure to share everything with the insurance company.

  • Contact the experienced attorney

They will help in the settlement process, and if it's necessary, a court case might be done to get the deserved compensation.

2. Sending a demand letter

After the completion of the first step, now is the time to take a paper, draft, write, and send a demand letter to the insurance provider. It is a professional document, which is written by a lawyer usually, to ask for the payment or any other demand that corrects the fault of the opposing party.

Specifically, in a personal injury case, a demand letter which is also known as an insurance claim letter means that it presents the facts about the accident so that the insurance company could pay the compensation.

3. What can be expected from a car insurance settlement?

The potential outcome after the negotiation is reaching a settlement agreement. For this, both parties need to settle. Various auto accidents civil disputes need to stop before the preceding of a court trial. If the defendant agrees to the financial proposal, the settlement will be done and the case is resolved.

If the conflict is stuck, which means one or both the parties need to defend, and then it will go on trial. The way from settlement to court trial can be expensive and taxing.

What to know about writing a demand letter for an auto accident settlement?

A demand letter is essential in the settlement process. The three major components are:

  • A list of damages
  • Facts related to the accident
  • Fault statement

There should be a description of the accident while writing a demand letter. If the injuries are involved in the accident, there should be the details of the injury along with the treatment, medical expenses, and any other receipt which comes under the car accident.

Further, a letter should comprise the accident liability and a settlement demand. The demand should show the settlement payment expected. Make sure to keep the demand direct and straight and don't make it confusing. Remember, it's a formal document, as objective as you can.

A settlement letter should both be concise and clear. Include all the details about what is expected from the party at fault, which include:

  • Repairing compensation
  • Amount of compensation
  • A deadline that meets your expectation

If you will be clear, everything will be on point. Being direct in the letter shows that you are serious about the settlement. Concisely include the necessary details, especially when you have various pieces of evidence.

Keep the documents of photographs, receipts, personal statements, and financial statements, along with the demand letter. If the court case is needed, having essential documents with you, especially when matching with the demand letter, can make your case strong.

Demand letters are written by the attorney. Speak with an expert to know the best way of writing a letter.

How do the insurance companies respond?

After sending a letter to insurance companies, some major responses can take place.

1. The demands are accepted and you'll get the pay: The compensation is yours and the settlement is resolved.

2. The counteroffer will be made: If the case occurs, continue negotiating or move to the court for the claim. If they give a low offer, ask for $10,000 for the medical expense of $30,000, write it down, make an offer, and do not sign until the patient or the injured ones are healed. Never settle for an unreasonable amount. This is where an experienced lawyer can help you in the process.

3. The claim is denied and you will not get the pay: The chances are rare and this only takes place when there are not enough proofs or a problem with a procedure.

4. They don't respond: Write a letter to follow-up and ask your attorney about the next step.

The settlement process of a car accident: Court cases vs. settlement

Negotiation can only be done when both parties agree to the settlement. The settlement timelines differ and depend upon the case, though many of these lawsuits take time of one year to settle if the case is taken to the court.

Timeline and process of the car accident lawsuit

The five general steps are considered in auto accident lawsuits are:

  • Complaint: File a complaint and send it to the defendant
  • Response: Defendant should reply within a month
  • Discovery: Evidence of both the parties will be analyzed, which lasts between six months to a year
  • Trial: A common trial of a jury might take some hours, may take longer than usual
  • Appeal: If any from both the parties is not satisfied with the trial results, the appeal might take months and even years

Any day in between the preceding, parties can decide to negotiate for the settlement. As for how much time a settlement process takes, expect anywhere between some months to few years which entirely depends upon the case and how much time each step takes which are mentioned above.

Settlements of the car accident

You would be able to recover both non-economic and economic damages. Unfortunately, no equation is available for the settlement payout. Every case differs and the calculation depends on:

  • How severe is the accident
  • How serious is the injury
  • Insurance availability
  • Medical treatment
  • Car damage
  • Effects for a longer period
  • How much you are at fault
  • Motorist coverage
  • How many people are involved

Settlement timeline

Settling for personal injury is the best and fastest way to solve any dispute legally. Though all the cases are different, usually settlement takes one to three months.

Statute of limitations

A lawsuit can be filed within a deadline. You can file for two years from the date of the accident. Expectations might be there, but settlement negotiation or trials needs to be done as soon as possible as the deadline is strict.

How does the lawsuit work?

The procedure to sue someone in a civil court is the time when your traffic injury case will be filed. Everything comes under the state rules of civil procedure, which include timelines. Some of the steps are as follows:

🡺 Complaint filing, which lays out the claims. The one who was at fault, not the insurance provider under various circumstances, has a certain time to respond to the complaint. Usually, it's a month.

🡺 The plaintiff - You can file the discovery requests either when the complaint is filed or after that, but in a short period. Both the parties can file the requests to discover. Discovery, which includes documents, written questions, and witnesses, can take a few months and even years. It all depends upon how complicated the case is.

🡺 Trial - For such accidents, trials only take a day or two. Once again, everything depends upon the complexity.

Usually, the settlement is done before trial. If not, the verdict will be done, and any of the parties will win. The one losing can appeal, but on certain grounds.

Get help today from a car accident attorney

Car accident claims can be complicated. For representing every step and legal guidance of the settlement, contact an experienced attorney who can explain the process and help you to get the money you deserve.

About Zella

Zella is a writer and filmmaker known for her work in the field of media arts. She hails from Tohatchi, New Mexico, and has achieved notable accomplishments throughout her career. Zella holds a bachelor's degree in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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