What Happens When the At-Fault Party in a Car Crash Settles?
Car accidents in South Florida are an all-too-common tragedy. In 2018, there were approximately 403,636 traffic accidents in Florida. The numbers mean that hiring a car accident lawyer familiar with trial work and settlements is a critical part of your journey after a collision. Our lawyers in Daytona Beach, FL, and our satellite office in Palm Coast, FL, have over 40 years in practice to help you review your options.
This article briefly describes what happens when you are injured in a car accident and the at-fault driver or the insurance company decides to settle your claim rather than go to trial.
What Happens After the Demand Letter?
After your attorney submits the demand letter to settle an accident claim, the two parties will negotiate. Your lawyer and the insurance companies will investigate the accident to determine the value of the injuries sustained and who the evidence says is at fault.
Florida is a no-fault state, which in some cases means the law limits your possible legal options. As a no-fault state, each driver carries his or her own insurance to compensate them for injuries and property damages. If the other driver is at-fault for property damage, the at-fault driver's insurance may help pay for the property damage costs. Even though Florida is a no-fault state, you may still sue the other driver if they are at-fault for the injuries and property damages.
What Happens in a Settlement?
Insurance companies have an incentive to settle car accident cases out of court: they want to save money by paying as little as possible. Your attorney wants to see that you receive compensation for your injuries. Your attorney wants to represent your best interests, not the insurance company's.
At the conclusion of settlement negotiations, either party may either agree to a settlement amount or refuse to settle. Most car accident cases settle before the case goes to trial.
If the opposing party agrees to settle for the negotiated amount, then the dispute is over. If the parties do not reach an agreement to settle, then the case proceeds to trial.
How Long Do Settlement Negotiations Take?
Car accident settlement negotiations may be as short as one month or go as long as several years, depending on the facts of the case, the evidence of fault, the length of investigation, and the severity of injuries.
The maximum length of time between the accident and the payment of compensation also depends on when the case is filed.
In Florida, the statute of limitations on auto accidents is, in general, four years from the date of the accident. In practical terms, that means that a potential lawsuit must be filed within four years from the date the accident happened. If the lawsuit is filed after that date, the lawsuit is time-barred.
This time limit provides another incentive for moving settlement negotiations along sooner rather than later.
Chanfrau & Chanfrau Can Help You Move Forward
We invite you to contact us today to arrange an initial meeting with one of our attorneys to review the facts of your case. You may visit our website or call to speak with one of our attorneys in the Daytona Beach at (386) 258-7313. Or you may prefer to call our Palm Coast office at (386) 439-7760. We look forward to representing your best interests and helping you get the compensation you deserve.