Car accidents bring with them a long list of worries — personal injuries, medical bills, repairs to your vehicle, car rental costs, lost wages from missing days at work. What if you agree on a settlement without thinking about all the possible issues that may arise later on? Can you sue to recover financial losses after accepting a claim settlement?
How do settlement offers work?
There are many factors that come into play when negotiating a settlement offer. However, financial recovery falls into two main umbrellas — special damages and general damages.
These include all areas where you can quantify how much money you’ve lost — or how much money you’ll need in the future — as a result of the accident. Examples include:
- Medical bills
- Car repair estimates
- Days lost from work
- Future medical bills
- Loss of earning capacity
These include losses you can’t calculate with a specific number, but they have nevertheless affected your life. Examples include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Permanent scarring
- Recurring nightmares
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death of a loved one
The process by which a company reaches a settlement figure also depends on several factors:
- The severity of the accident
- Whether there was surveillance footage
- Your answers to interrogatories
- Your specific claims
- Medical records
- Whether you have returned to work or will be able to return to work
- Testimony of witnesses, medical providers, and/or vocational experts
- Whether you’ve been involved in a previous accident
- The length of litigation
- Whether you have an attorney
The stronger your case — and the more evidence you can provide to prove it — the higher the settlement offer amount. The reason why having an attorney in this process is so important is because you don’t know what you don’t know. You may think that an offer sounds reasonable, but without a doctor’s testimony as to future medical treatment you may need, you won’t know if down the road you’ll have costly medical expenses. Or, you may not be aware of additional issues that could pop up — such as how accident injuries could prevent you from working for as many years as you could’ve prior to the accident.
An experienced attorney will have seen most — if not all — scenarios under the sun, and will know what questions to ask, which evidence to seek, and what strategy to take. What makes this even more crucial is that no, you cannot sue after accepting a car accident settlement. The whole purpose of extending a settlement offer is (a) cover for your damages and (b) eliminate the other driver’s liability.
What to Do Before Accepting an Injury Claim Settlement
There are several things you need to do prior to accepting an injury claim. These include:
- Never admit fault.
- Never speak with a claims adjustor from the other driver’s insurance company.
- Never volunteer information you haven’t been asked about — such as previous accidents.
- Never withhold information you have been asked about — an attorney can help you determine whether you have to answer a question.
- Always speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can discuss all possibilities — so that you can make an informed decision.
Call us at Clark Law for a consultation
As you can see, there are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.