The St. Louis car accident settlement process is something most people never have to deal with. However, that does not preclude accidents from happening. When they do happen to you, you need to seek an attorney who can hold your interests at the forefront of negotiations with adjusters and wrongdoers. The benefits of an attorney by your side during mediation cannot be understated. Reach out to an attorney today.
The Settlement Process in St. Louis for Car Wrecks
The actual settlement process is often frustrating for victims and attorneys. While the overall structure of settlement negotiations is fairly uniform, the specifics can vary between lawyers. In some cases, it may seem petty and even like haggling over minor issues. But when looking at settlements simply, it really is just a matter of negotiation between the two parties.
Typically the victims begin the negotiation by making a settlement “demand”. That number is rarely a “take-it-or-leave-it” demand; there is normally room for negotiation. As a victim, you can place a deadline on the demand or leave it open-ended. Either way, if the defendant chooses to respond, they would do so by making a settlement “offer”. The first offer a defendant makes is almost never its last offer. There is almost always room to negotiate. Once a St. Louis car accident settlement process begins, it is just a matter of exchanges demands and offers until the parties reach an impasse or a settlement.
If the parties reach an impasse, then the case is typically set for trial so a jury or a judge can hear the evidence on both sides and arrive at a verdict.
However, avoiding that impasse could prove fruitful for you. There is a process called mediation that has gained popularity in recent years. In a mediation, the parties gather together at a neutral site and meet with a mediator who has undergone training on how to bring parties together to arrive at a settlement. Many mediators are retired judges who have had years of experience on the bench. One of the jobs of a mediator is to talk with both sides and explain the pros and cons of the case from a judicial point of view. This credible, neutral view of the case often helps you and the defendant recognize the weaknesses of your respective cases and work toward a settlement. Not all mediations are successful in arriving at settlements, but they are often helpful and effective.
If the parties can arrive at a settlement, then concluding the case is simply a matter of paperwork. Typically a document, called a “release”, is prepared by the representative for the defendant. A release sets forth the terms of the settlement which includes: the amount of the settlement, how that settlement is divided up between economic and non-economic damages, and various other factors associated with the settlement.
The proposed release is then presented to your lawyer who reviews it and makes any changes. Once there is an agreed-upon release, that document is presented to you to sign. Parties to a lawsuit should never sign a release without carefully reviewing all of the terms and asking their lawyer questions. Once a release is signed, the defendant’s insurance company sends a check to your lawyer for the amount of what the agreed-upon settlement. At that point, the check is placed into the attorney’s trust account where it has to remain until it clears. One the check has cleared, the attorney distributes that money between the lawyer, you, and any liens associated with the case.
How a St. Louis Car Collision Attorney Could Help You Settle
St. Louis car accident attorneys can be of benefit to someone looking to settle a car accident suit. Studies show that having an attorney involved in an automobile accident case dramatically increases the settlement value versus an individual who has been injured in a car accident trying to negotiate a settlement with the opposing insurance company.
A lawyer not only has experience handling car wreck cases, but also is experienced in how insurance companies operate and how the court systems work. With this knowledge and experience, a lawyer can maximize the settlement value of a case more so than an injured party who does not have the knowledge and experience in working in the personal injury litigation arena and knowing how to deal with insurance adjusters.