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A car accident claim can be settled at any time prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit has been filed, it can be settled any time after the lawsuit is filed.

Generally speaking, if the parties are able to reach a settlement on a particular claim, the terms of the settlement will be written into a legal document and then checks will be prepared. Your Winston-Salem car accident lawyer will prepare to disperse the settlement proceeds at the appropriate time.

Taking a Settlement v. Going to Trial

The client is the one who has the ultimate authority on whether to take a settlement or go to trial. There are risks associated with going to trial. In a trial setting, you’re putting the decision-making in the hands of twelve strangers and no one can predict with certainty what those twelve people will decide.

In order to reduce the risks associated with a trial, an individual might think it is a better decision to settle their case than to go to trial. However, a person might refuse to take a settlement offer, when the facts of the case make it likely that a jury would result in a better outcome than the settlement offer.

Settlement Amount

The settlement is calculated depending on the facts of the case. This can include the amount of the damages that were determined to have been caused by the accident, like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, things of that matter.

In a car accident case, insurance companies or defendants can make settlement offers, the injured person can make demands for settlement. If and when the parties are able to agree on an amount, then the amount of the settlement is determined.

It is not necessarily the defendant’s attorney that will come up with the settlement. Typically, the person that the defendant’s attorney is working for, like the insurance company representative or a self-insured defendant who’s going to be writing the check for any settlement proceeds will come up with the settlement’s amount. 

Factors That Affect the Amount

In a trial setting, the jury will be involved in calculating the settlement. It is their primary function.

Winston-Salem is a contributory negligence jurisdiction. This means that if the injured person was in any way negligent in the incident that gave rise to their injury then, by law, they cannot recover damages.

Benefit of an Attorney

An experienced local attorney can be extremely helpful when settling a car accident suit because there can be some complicated issues connected with it. Complications can include paying back medical providers, reimbursing health insurers, or dealing with government health insurance agencies like Medicare or Medicaid.

When consulting with a car accident lawyer, the potential client should bring the exchange slip that they got at the accident scene from the investigating officer. They should also bring their automobile insurance policy, health insurance medical card, any discharge paperwork they may have received from the emergency room, or medical documents from other medical providers they have seen.

An experienced attorney can help determine the value of the settlement by gathering all of the relevant evidence about the damages. Their experiences dealing with similar cases in the past within the local jurisdiction can help you be more aware of what your settlement is worth.