Car accidents can cause victims severe physical and emotional pain, as well as financial burdens. If you are still recovering from your injuries, the long process of taking a case to trial can seem like too much to handle. However, you can still get the justice you deserve by settling your case.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to resolve your claim outside of court. A local car accident lawyer could explain the benefits and consequences of settling your case. Speak to an experienced attorney to learn about settling a car accident case in Charlottesville.

Recoverable Damages in an Auto Wreck Case

A person who has been injured in a car accident can pursue both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include property damage, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.

Non-economic damages are intangible losses. Examples of these types of damages include inconvenience, humiliation, mental anguish, disfigurement, or deformity. A local auto wreck lawyer could help injured victims determine what damages they may be eligible for.

What is the Process of Settling in a Car Accident Case?

Anyone who has been injured in a car accident should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible for help with the settlement negotiation process. After the auto wreck, you and your attorney must determine the value of the case and present the opposing party with a settlement demand. Only then can negotiations begin.

Determining the Value of a Case

When first meeting an attorney after you are injured in a car crash, you should bring all documents that pertain to the accident with you. This includes the other driver’s contact information, any police documents, photographs of the scene of the accident, and records of medical treatment. This will help the attorney understand the liability of the case, which will factor into the potential damages a victim could recover.

Other than liability, there are many other factors that affect the value of a claim. Some of those factors include:

  • The type of injury
  • The amount of medical bills
  • The length of treatment
  • The diagnosis of permanency
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Amount of lost time from work
  • The effects of the injuries on daily life

Occasionally, lawyers use focus groups to help them determine the settlement value of a case. An attorney would present to a group of about 20 people with the evidence in the case and ask them to determine what is fair compensation. A focus group could also be a good way to gauge how a jury might act if the case goes to trial.

Presenting a Demand Package

Once an attorney determines the settlement value, he or she can present the insurance company or at-fault party with a demand package. Generally, insurance companies take four to six weeks to get back with their initial offer.

Then, the insurance company and the attorney can negotiate the amount of the settlement until the case is resolved. If both parties cannot reach a resolution, an attorney could help the injured party file a lawsuit.

Filing a Lawsuit

The injured party can file suit against an at-fault party if they wish to bring their case to court. In circuit court, a jury will decide what damages should be awarded to the victim.

Those who believe their case could be worth up to $25,000 should file their suit in General District Court. In this Court, a judge decides how much the injured party should be compensated. An experienced lawyer could help victims decide in which court to file their claim.

If a case has potential value of more than $25,000 then it should be filed in the Circuit Court. Most cases in Circuit Court will be decided by a jury.

What are Settlement Conferences in Charlottesville?

The presiding judge on a case may send the case to a settlement conference with a magistrate judge. This third-party judge is paid by the state to facilitate settlement negotiations between the injured person and the at-fault motorist. If the two parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the vehicle collision case will simply proceed to trial.

Speak with a Charlottesville Car Accident Attorney

The process of settling a case can be confusing, but you do not have to go through it alone. The dedicated attorneys at The Warren Firm have the resources to help you reach a successful settlement. Call the office today to speak with a lawyer about settling a car accident case in Charlottesville.