Tag Archives: settlements

Reasons Why a Car Accident Settlement May be Delayed

Every car accident results in varying property damage and physical injury. Unfortunately, there is no average length of time to settle a car accident case. Some car accident settlements can take several weeks, where others can take months or even years. The specific circumstances of an accident significantly impact how quickly or slowly a settlement may take. Many factors can influence a lengthy car settlement, and this is especially true if you suffered extensive injuries or property damage.

Factors That Influence Timing of a Settlement Process

Having a lawyer who understands the nuances of the laws in a car accident is extremely valuable. Typically, once a person is involved in a car accident and a claim is filed with the insurance company.  They will need documentation of medical bills to assess damages. The insurance company will also review statements and police reports to determine who caused the accident. Once the insurance company has that information, the insurance adjuster can evaluate a settlement offer. However, the insurance company isn’t in the business of making large settlement offers. It may offer the least amount of money. In these cases, an experienced attorney can negotiate a settlement offer.  Also, there may be other unforeseen circumstances that contribute to a longer settlement process.

Liability

In California, responsibility for a car accident is determined by the party responsible, or “at-fault.” Before an insurance company pays out money, they will determine who caused the accident. In some instances, proving that the other driver was 100 percent at fault may be a lengthy process. The fault may be shared by one or more parties, and that means a reduced settlement. To prove that the other driver is liable, your attorney may also need to take time to properly investigate the accident.

Recovery Time for Your Injuries

Seeking medical attention for injuries after a car accident takes time. This is especially true if the injuries are severe. The discovery of one injury may lead to another, and treatment may be ongoing. While undergoing medical treatment, it will be challenging to assess the actual value of your injuries since the final amount of medical expenses won’t have been determined. A car accident attorney would like to ascertain all the recoverable damages a person is entitled to receive and may want to wait until you have fully recovered. Only then will you know what your medical expenses are and what future medical care you might need. You also will have a better idea of what to request as compensation for lost income. However, your attorney can still make a claim to ensure you receive proper medical care.

Large Settlement

The more significant the accident, naturally, the higher potential your case has for a large payout. Insurance companies don’t quickly hand over large amounts of money. They investigate cases to find information that can reduce compensation. The insurance company may also engage in delaying the case in the hopes that you will settle for less. Working with a legal professional familiar with insurance company tactics can be beneficial.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Delay in settling a car accident case can be incredibly frustrating. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.

Hit by a Drunk Driver? What You Need to Know About Settlements

It is every driver’s responsibility to drive safely according to California’s traffic laws. Unfortunately, not every driver takes that responsibility seriously. Too many times, accidents involve one driver who was driving drunk. These accidents may be especially dangerous because the drunk driver’s reflexes have been hindered, potentially causing greater damage. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you may be immediately contacted by the drunk driver’s insurance company seeking to settle because they want to pay the minimum amount as quickly as possible.

Settling is attractive because you will not have to go through litigation, which can sometimes take years. You may also need some money immediately to help with your bills from the injuries suffered. However, before you sign anything, here’s what you need to know.

Don’t Settle Right Away

If you are considering a settlement, you want to keep in mind how long you have to file a claim. That way, if you can’t agree on the terms of the settlement, you still have protection from the courts. In California, a victim of a drunk driving accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim with a court of law. Drunk driving accidents are treated just like other car accidents. That means that once the two-year mark passes, which is also known as the statute of limitations, you can no longer collect compensation for your injuries.

However, that doesn’t mean you should rush into a settlement. Most insurance companies will ask you to sign a “release of liability” form when you agree to settle. That will prevent you from seeking any other damages from the car accident if future injuries develop at a later time, no matter how severe.

In California, nothing prevents you from filing a suit while the drunk driver is also being criminally prosecuted for DWI. However, if the other driver has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to driving under the influence or other charges associated with DUI, then you would be in a better position to settle for a larger amount.

Types of Damages

When settling, it is important to understand what you are entitled to. If you have been injured in a drunk driving car accident, you are entitled to compensation, called damages. Damages are a monetary award because there is no other way to mend broken bones or soothe emotional injuries. The amount awarded however, is specific to the injury of the victim, as well as the conduct of the party at fault. Types of economic damages include:

Medical Expenses. You are entitled to the cost of any medical treatment associated with the car accident. That includes doctors’ appointments, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medications, etc. You are even entitled to medical expenses that you have not yet incurred, such as potential future medical bills.

  • Lost Wages. If your injuries associated with your car accident prevented you from working, you can recover those wages. For those with severe, life-altering injuries, you may also be eligible to recover future lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering. This category of damages refers to numerous non-financial damages. It can include both physical and emotional pain.
  • Punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare, but justifiable in some cases when the liable party’s actions that led to the accident were especially horrendous.

If you have been hit by a drunk driver and have been offered a settlement, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights. Even though we understand that money cannot change the situation, at Dan Rose Law, we will fight hard to protect your rights to get you the compensation you need. We invite you to schedule a consultation, at no cost to you, by calling 415-945-8900 or scheduling online to discuss your case.