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Determining a Car Accident Settlement in Houston

Car accident settlements are simple to understand but can be difficult to manage in practice. Typically, the plaintiff makes the demand and the defendant makes an offer. The offers go back and forth with the demand decreasing and the offer increasing, with the two sides attempting to meet in the middle with an agreeable number. If that happens, then the plaintiff can accept the offer and the matter will be resolved with payment.

Determining a car accident settlement in Houston is no easy task but it can be made much easier by working with a well-prepared auto accident attorney.

What Are Some Issues That Can Come Up in Settlement Talks?

One of the common situations that can upset a client is if the defendant’s first offer is extremely low and insufficient to cover all losses. We always tell our clients, “Don’t worry about the first offer, just look at the last offer.” The first offer made is usually just a fraction of the medical bills and is just a response to the amount demanded. It may have nothing to do with the true value of the case. The amount they would get in their pocket on the last offer – after all the expenses are accounted for – is all that matters.

The first offer is usually not the best offer. If they hold out for a while, the number is likely going to increase; but in every negotiation, there comes a point where it becomes obvious the defendant has reached their top number. The plaintiff must either take it or proceed with a trial and learn if they get an even better offer later.

Other Factors in Determining Car Crash Settlements

Texas is seeing a lot of instances of “swoop and settle.” This is when an insurance company knows their insured is at fault, they come in and offer the injured party some cash, which might even cover their medical bills and put something in their pocket, but it does not cover all their potential losses or any injuries that manifest later. No one in Houston should rush into accepting a settlement offer, because they can only get a payout once for an incident. They should get legal help to advise them of their choices.

In this state, someone can be “contributory negligent,” which means their actions contributed to causing the accident, and they could have a percentage of responsibility assigned to them. The percentage of liability they hold would decrease their recovery by that same percentage. However, if they are over 50 percent at fault, they cannot recover at all.

Compensation is a personal matter to a plaintiff since it will greatly impact their life, but these amounts are not as personal to an insurance adjuster or a jury. They do not have to live with the outcome. It is important to listen to an attorney regarding the potential range of values that these cases produce in local courthouses or settlement talks.

Receiving a Settlement Check in a Timely Manner

There are a lot of moving parts in funding a car crash settlement. First, the claimant needs to sign the release, because the defendant may not be willing to issue a check until the release is signed. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to engage in what we call “slow pay.” The bigger the settlements gets, the longer it takes them to issue that check. There is not a lot that a claimant can do in that situation. If they were to file a breach of contract, that could take a long time to resolve. The claimant needs to keep in contact with their lawyer and make sure they sign the release when it arrives.

Schechter, Shaffer & Harris has specific protocols and checklists to make sure all phases of the case move along in a timely fashion. If the check comes in from the insurance company, there may be a delay because they need to get medical bills reduced or check with a lien holder on the amount of their final lien for medical bills incurred by an insurance company. A legal team should jump on all these potential issues early, so they are not having to delay in dispersing the funding when it arrives.

Determine How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement With Your Houston Attorney

Getting a proper settlement offer for your car crash injuries is not easy. Our personal injury law team helps you understand each offer and informs you of when a deal is not in your favor. Schedule a free consultation and get help determining a car accident settlement in Houston.

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Houston, TX 77006
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