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After a car accident, do I take the settlement or go to trial?

While going about your day, you found yourself once again on one of California's many busy highways. This time, your trip was a little different. This time, you were involved in an accident that left you seriously hurt. Broken but recovering, you are struggling physically, emotionally and financially. Then the responsible party's insurance provider calls and offers you a settlement. Do you take it?

It can be really tempting to take the initial offer and just move on with your life. Before you do, though, think big picture. Does that settlement cover all your losses? Will it be enough to pay for any care you need in the future, not just what you need now? If the answer to these questions is no, refusing may be in your best interest.

Settlement basics

Following a car crash, the responsible party's insurance company has a goal. That goal is to get you to take as little as possible, as fast as possible. Why? It is good for their bottom line.

Here's the deal, rejecting an initial insurance settlement does not mean that you will get nothing. It also does not mean that you have to resolve this issue in court. You may still be able to negotiate a fair settlement by talking things out. If you decide to refuse, here's what will happen next:

  • You, with the help of legal counsel, can send a demand letter to the insurance provider.
  • The insurance company can review your request for compensation and decide to approve or deny it.
  • If they approve, they will draw up new settlement terms and pay money out.
  • If they refuse, the negotiations process can begin.

Negotiating a fair compensation package is not something that is likely to happen overnight. It may take time.

Negotiations not working

If negotiations are not getting you anywhere, it may be time to consider taking the matter to court. Most people settle car accident compensation cases without going this far, but sometimes, this is the only way to get maximum relief.

No need to make a rushed decision

It is understandable that you would want to close out your car accident case as fast as humanly possible. Anyone would. There is no need to make a rushed decision when it comes to compensation, though. By taking time, reviewing all of your options and fighting for fair compensation, you may achieve a settlement that really does serve your best interests.

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