If you’ve been injured in a car accident by another driver, there are two avenues you can pursue to receive compensation for your injuries. You can file a lawsuit or you can settle out of court.
Opting to choose the latter option means you’ll be asked to sign a car accident settlement agreement form. This document legally resolves differences between the drivers, involves some level of compensation and releases the at-fault driver from future liability. A valid settlement agreement form will contain information about the accident, the claims made and the people involved in the accident.
It is critical that you know whether the settlement is adequate for the injuries you’ve suffered before you sign. These four questions can help you better determine whether you’re being offered a fair settlement.
How is my medical condition?
Insurance companies will likely try to settle with you as quickly as possible. It’s good to wait until any injuries you’ve suffered have either stabilized or have healed before signing the settlement form. After signing the form, you won’t be able to get additional money from the at-fault driver. Being patient and waiting to sign the form better protects you if your condition worsens or other injuries surface.
Have I received enough in damages?
Because the settlement agreement is the last chance to receive compensation, it’s important to make sure you’re receiving enough. The cost of medical bills and damage to your car are front of mind, but think about longer-term consequences from the accident. Lost earnings potential, emotional distress or the inability to perform regular daily activities should also be built into the settlement amount.
How well do I understand the terms of the agreement?
If you have any questions about the agreement or something doesn’t make sense, you shouldn’t sign the agreement. Consulting with an attorney who can help you navigate the intricacies of the settlement offer can be a valuable investment.
Would I be better off filing a lawsuit?
Sometimes two parties simply can’t mutually come to terms. In those instances, your option may be to instead go to court. While there’s no guarantee you’ll receive more in compensation, it gives you the option to pursue more in damages if the offered settlement isn’t adequate for your needs.
Dealing with the trauma of a serious car accident is always difficult. Making sure you’re receiving a fair settlement offer can provide you with greater security when moving on from the accident.