You should know that car accident settlement agreements are binding contracts. It may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel before you sign.
Insurance Settlement Agreements Are Final
A car accident settlement agreement is a binding legal document. Also called a release or waiver, it resolves the dispute between parties involved in a vehicle accident. Most commonly, the insurance company will agree to pay your damages on one condition. This condition often involves releasing the company and/or the at-fault driver from liability.
The agreement form should include:
- Details of the accident
- Losses, including economic and non-economic damages
- The names and contact information of the involved parties
- The payment amount offered by the insurance company in exchange for your release
Once you sign a settlement agreement, it is final. You will not be able to amend the agreement or seek further compensation even if your injuries worsen. Make sure you understand what you sign and that the amount offered satisfies all of your losses.
Settlement Agreements Release the Insurance Company, Driver and Vehicle Owner from Future Claims
When you agree to a settlement, you also agree not to bring any future claims or action against the insurance company or the at-fault party or parties. This means that if you sign before you discover all your losses or involved parties, you will not be able to seek more money for these claims.
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You Have the Right to Negotiate Your Settlement
You do not have to accept the first settlement offer the insurance company or at fault party extends. It is in your best interest not to rush into an agreement. You want to ensure that all of your past and future economic and non-economic costs and damages are adequately covered.
It is often very difficult to calculate the fair value of all of all damages past, present and future. Generally however, if you sustained serious injuries as the result of another’s fault, you are entitled to recover for the following:
- Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Future pain and suffering if your injuries are permanent in nature
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Vehicle damages
- The value of necessary household services you cannot perform because of your injury
- Compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one
If you are considering signing a Settlement Agreement you should :
- Understand the full extent of your losses before you sign an insurance agreement
- See a doctor and understand your injuries, the treatment required, and how long your recovery will take
- Understand how your injuries will affect your life going forward so you can seek fair compensation for your pain and suffering
What Is the Average Settlement Amount?
There is no average car accident settlement, as every case is different. Factors that may affect your payment include:
- The insurance carried by the involved parties
- The severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical care
- Your age
- Your wages
- The value of your pain and suffering damages
- The cost of fixing or replacing your vehicle
- The strength of the evidence you have proving another party is at fault
What Can You Do If You Cannot Settle with the Insurance Company?
Do not sign a settlement if you are not satisfied with the terms. Insurance companies and other responsible parties often attempt to offer substantially less than the full value of your claim. If the insurance company or other parties refuse to offer fair compensation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
While there is no time limit for settling an insurance claim, there is a set window of time to file a lawsuit. According to CVP § 214, you generally have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. You have two years to file a suit for wrongful death, according to EPT § 5-4.1. However, these time limits can vary depending on your case. Make sure you take action before they expire.
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Do I Have to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Handle My Situation?
You can settle your case without an attorney, but working with someone familiar with insurance agreements can protect your rights. It can also give you an ally who will fight for fair compensation.
Working with our New York car accident lawyers can also take the stress off your shoulders so you can focus on getting better. We will handle every aspect of your claim, from filing your initial paperwork to negotiating an advantageous settlement for you and your family. If necessary, your injury attorney will fight for the compensation you need in court at trial.
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Dansker & Aspromonte Associates Is Ready to Stand with You
Since 1988, Dansker & Aspromonte Associates has served clients throughout the metropolitan New York area, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, we are here to help you get the best settlement agreement possible. Call our offices for a free consultation.