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What you need to know about a personal injury settlement

After you’ve been hurt in an accident, you’re probably eager to have your case resolved, so that you can use the funds you receive from your case to recover and move on. While it is not always possible, the most expedient way to get the cash you need to cover your accident-related expenses is through a settlement of your claims, rather than through a courtroom trial. It’s important to understand more about the settlement process before beginning negotiations with an insurer or with the parties responsible for your injuries, to ensure that you do not end up getting short-changed when you agreed to a settlement and release of claim. Learn more about the personal injury claim settlement process below, and contact a seasoned California personal injury attorney as soon as possible after accident.

Have all your documents ready.

Insurers will require you to prove every component of your claim, and one of the most challenging aspects of settling a personal injury claim is gathering every record, receipt, and bill related to your accident. You’ll need to be able to prove every aspect of your stated expenses if you wish to recover for those costs, and that means that you’ll need official documentation of each cost you incur. This includes medical records from all doctors’ visits after your accident. Sometimes, obtaining copies of these records and statements  can involve steep fees. Your personal injury attorney may be better equipped to handle these records requests and likely has relationships with many medical offices and auto repair facilities in your area, which can grease the wheels and make the document request process faster and easier. 

Failing to hire an attorney for cost-cutting reasons can backfire.

When you announce to insurance adjusters or a defense attorney that you will be representing yourself in a claim for damages, they know they have the upper hand. This alerts the other side to the fact that you’re likely in dire need of cash if you’re afraid of incurring the cost of an attorney, and you’ll be more likely to accept the first settlement offer that comes your way. They also know that you probably don’t understand the full value of your injuries, making you likely to accept less than you’re owed.

Insurance adjusters have years of experience at handling accident claims. They have accrued countless ways of convincing unrepresented injury victims to take less than they’re owed, such as by offering a quick cash settlement of your claims immediately after an accident, before you have the chance to consult with an attorney. This may sound good in the days immediately following an accident, after you’ve realized that you need the money but before you understand the full costs you’ll face. For this reason, be skeptical of quick offers to settle. By hiring an attorney, not only are you showing that you’re willing to fight for what you have a right to receive for your injuries,  you’re showing that you’re willing to be patient for the right offer to come along, rather than taking whatever offer will get you cash fastest. 

Settling a claim takes time.

A civil trial for damages after a personal injury accident can take months, or even years, to be fully resolved.  If the defendant decides to appeal a verdict in your favor, it can take even longer before you see any compensation for your claims. That said, settling a claim instead of going to trial can also take many months from the date of your injury. This may be due to a defendant who is stalling the process, hoping to sweat you out and get you to take less than you’re owed. Even when defendants are acting in good faith, the wheels of justice move slowly. Your attorney may have suggestions for how you can negotiate with medical care providers in the meantime to help fend off collection efforts as you await payment on your claim. 

If you’ve been injured in a California accident and suffered serious injuries, find out about your legal options and right to compensation for your injuries by contacting the Stockton personal injury lawyers at Redkey & Gordon for a consultation at 209-267-1685.