A severe car accident can leave a person with numerous injuries, a painful recovery process, and psychological pain. In these situations, negotiating a settlement with an insurance company should be the last thing on your mind. Fortunately, you do not have to do this alone. A competent car accident attorney can explain how to settle a car accident case in Atlanta and fight for every bit of compensation that you are entitled to. One of the primary ways one of our attorneys could assist someone who wants to settle a car accident claim is by explaining the available insurance coverage and identifying the potential value of their case.
Who Determines the Amount of a Settlement in Atlanta?
Settlement amounts are often determined by the claimant, the insurance company, or the defense lawyers. In some cases, the amount of a settlement is dependent on the amount of available insurance. With adequate insurance, the value of the case could depend on a variety of factors:
- The person injured;
- The at fault party;
- The venue in which the case is pending;
- The extent of the injuries;
- The nature of the accident; and
- The specific attorney.
There is no single, specific factor that determines the value of a settlement but an experienced lawyer can help someone understand the dynamics involved, which factors add value to their case, and what could potentially hurt the value of their case.
Calculating a Settlement
The calculations for car accident settlements are often based on the understanding that there is a limited amount of insurance. If the case’s value equals or exceeds the policy limit, the settlement value may be calculated based in large part on the total applicable insurance.
However, liability insurance is only one part of the settlement calculation. There could be one settlement value for settling with the liability carrier and another value for settling with the UM carrier or underinsured/uninsured motorist carrier.
A Jury’s Involvement in Calculating Settlements
Settlement calculations typically occur before a jury is involved. A jury is only involved after a case has been sent to trial. Juries can be involved in settlements that utilize high/low agreements, wherein the parties agree on the highest and lowest values a case will resolve. However, juries do not know the amounts of high/low agreements, making it their duty to determine what they believe the value of the case to be. If the jury’s value is between the high and low values that the parties agreed to, the case settles for that amount. If the jury determines that the value is above the parties’ high mark, the case settles for the high; if the jury comes to a number that is below the low mark, the case settles for the low.
If a case goes all the way to a jury trial without a high/low and the jury returns a verdict, either party could appeal this decision. However, this amount in the verdict could provide the party with a range that could be a potential settlement value to avoid an appeal.
How Can a Claimant’s Negligence Affect Settlement Amounts?
Negligence by the injured individual will affect the settlement value. In Atlanta, if a negligent person is at fault for 50 percent or more of a car accident, they are not able to recover. If a jury determines that the injured party’s percentage of fault is less than 50 percent, they would reduce the settlement amount by this amount. For example, if the jury determines that the injured person was 25 percent at-fault, the final judgment would be 75 percent of the verdict returned. Insurance companies may also use this method of allocating fault when determining how much to offer as a settlement.
How an Attorney Helps Determine the Value of a Settlement
One of the ways that one of our lawyers can help with the settlement process is identifying all available insurance coverage. Therefore, a claimant should not conclude that the only available insurance is what the at-fault driver tells them they have. The driver might be on the job or working for someone who could have additional applicable insurance coverage. Also, underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage could be implicated, but it is critically important that such insurance be notified promptly in order to preserve the ability to recover under such policy.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you understand what factors an insurance company might use to assess to value the case and help you determine the range of a reasonable settlement both pre-suit, post-suit, pre-trial, and post-trial.
Contact an Atlanta Attorney for Help Settling a Car Accident Claim
It is often not necessary that you go through a prolonged and difficult litigation in order to obtain fair compensation for the injuries you suffered. However, in order for the insurance company to treat you fairly it is often necessary that they know you have lawyers who will litigate and try a case in order to obtain full and fair compensation for an injured client. One of our compassionate lawyers can assist you with settling a car accident claim in Atlanta and ensuring you recover full and fair compensation for all injuries incurred. Call today to see what our firm can do for you.