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Car accidents: What you can expect during the settlement process

Your morning commute is typically uneventful. Maybe you take the same route every day and stop at the same café for an espresso for your morning dose of caffeine. Your days always followed the same pattern, until the day another car hit you from behind while you were waiting at a red light. Now, your car vaguely resembles an accordion, you are facing some high medical bills, and your doctor has instructed you to stay home from work for the next two weeks.

Car accidents can have severe and expensive consequences. If you have been the victim of a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages and the damages to your vehicle. A personal injury attorney in the New Haven area can help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.

Reporting requirements

If there is at least $1,000 of damage to your car, you must report the accident within five days. A law enforcement officer will fill out a form that contains your contact information and a description of the accident.

Minimum insurance requirements

In Connecticut, all drivers must have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. They must carry at least $20,000 coverage for a single-person accident that results in an injury or a death. Their policy must also provide a minimum of $40,000 to cover more than one person injured or killed and $10,000 for property damage. For accidents that involve an uninsured or underinsured driver, the insurance policy must include $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in coverage.

Settling out of court

In general, most insurance companies prefer to settle out of court. This is because insurers believe that they are taking too large a risk by letting a jury determine fault and damages. In addition, the court process can be time-consuming and expensive. After your accident, the other driver's insurance company is more than likely to offer a certain amount of compensation for your injuries and the damages to your car.

While you might be able to get a larger award by going to trial, it is also possible that you might walk away with less than the insurance company originally offered or even nothing at all. By opting for a settlement, you are guaranteed compensation. Furthermore, you will also save money on legal fees and court costs.

Determining a settlement amount

Settlements depend on the specific circumstances of each case. In general, the more severe the accident, the higher the award. When your lawyer and the insurance company's representative begin negotiations, they will look at a variety of factors to determine an appropriate amount of compensation. They will examine how much fault each party played in the accident, the amount of available evidence, and the coverage limits of the insurance policy. In addition, vehicle repairs, medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering may factor into a settlement amount.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a negligent driver, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. You might be able to take legal action or negotiate a settlement with the negligent driver's insurance company for compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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