Five Things to Know About Car Accident Settlement Agreements in NY

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Five Things to Know About Car Accident Settlement Agreements in NY

Five Things to Know About Car Accident Settlement Agreements in NYSettlement agreements end disputed matters. The parties agree upon settlement terms and then put those terms in writing for all parties to sign. The final settlement agreement is a complete disposition of the case.

Unfortunately, car accident settlement agreements prepared by the insurance company may be one-sided. The agreements often favor the insurance company instead of the accident victims.

Before you sign a settlement agreement for a car accident claim, review our insurance claims dos and don’ts and keep these five things in mind:

1.  The Initial Settlement Offer is Low

The Initial Settlement Offer is LowAn insurance adjuster is assigned to handle your insurance claim. The adjuster’s job is to investigate your claim and determine how much your damages are worth.

If the insurance company accepts liability for the claim, the insurance adjuster may ask you how much money you want to settle the claim. Do not respond. Let the insurance company make the initial offer.

However, keep in mind that the initial settlement offer is always lower than the value of your injury claim.

The claims adjuster’s goal is to pay the lowest amount possible to resolve your claim. Therefore, the adjuster may take advantage of your lack of experience filing a claim to offer a low amount.

Generally, it is not in your best interest to accept the first offer made by the insurance company.

2. You Have the Right to Negotiate a Settlement Agreement

The insurance claims adjuster may lead you to believe that the initial settlement offer is a “take it or leave it” offer. However, you have the right to decline the offer and make a counteroffer. Negotiation is the best way to receive compensation that is reasonable and fair.

When you make a counteroffer, offer an amount higher than you are willing to accept to settle the claim. You now have room to negotiate down to the amount you are willing to accept.

Calculate the lowest amount you will accept to resolve the claim before negotiating a settlement for a car accident in New York. Having a specific amount before beginning settlement negotiations helps you remain focused so you don’t give in to pressure from the claims adjuster.

3.  You Release All Rights for Filing a Lawsuit

Insurance companies include language in their settlement agreements that release them from further liability for the car accident. The agreement also waives the right to any other causes of action related to the car accident.

In other words, when you sign the settlement agreement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit seeking additional damages for the car accident. You cannot demand more money, even if you discover further injuries or damages. The agreement is a legally binding contract.

Therefore, it is not wise to settle a car accident claim before completing medical treatment. However, the insurance company may offer you a quick settlement to entice you to sign a settlement agreement.

Until you complete your medical treatment, you cannot know whether you sustained permanent injuries or require additional surgery or therapy. As a result, you cannot determine whether you might incur additional medical bills or lost wages.

Therefore, do not let the claims adjuster pressure you into signing a settlement agreement too early. If you have any doubts, talk with a New York personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it might be too late for an attorney to help after you sign the settlement agreement.

4.  The Settlement Amount Might Not Compensate You for All Damages

The insurance company might not compensate you for all damages. The types of damages that you might receive for a car accident claim include economic damages, which compensate the accident victim for financial losses.

The damages you may receive include but may not be limited to:

  • Cost of medical treatment, including medications, therapies, surgeries, medical devices, etc.
  • Cost of personal care or in-home nursing care
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Cost of mental health or emotional therapy

The value of your economic damages is your total financial cost. Therefore, you need proof of your expenses to recover reimbursement from the insurance company, such as receipts, bills, and invoices.

The insurance company will try to pay as little as possible, so it’s good to have an experienced personal injury lawyer assisting you with your claim.

5.  You Have the Right to Legal Counsel

Do not let the claims adjuster or other parties convince you that seeking legal advice is a waste of time. You have the right to hire an attorney to handle your car accident claim.

Car accident cases may involve complicated legal issues. For example, do you know the deadline for filing a lawsuit under New York’s statute of limitations if settlement negotiations fail? There could be exceptions in your case that change the general deadline.

What happens if the insurance company accuses you of contributing to the cause of the car wreck? The adjuster may explain that you are not entitled to full compensation under the state’s comparative negligence laws.

Insurance companies often use comparative negligence to lower the value of claims, even when a person did not contribute to the cause of the crash. Having a New York personal injury attorney on your side means you are protected from insurance company tactics that could hurt your case.

Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be overwhelming. However, you do not need to face the situation alone.

Car accident cases can be confusing and frustrating. You just want a fair settlement for your car accident claim. However, the insurance company may refuse to negotiate a fair settlement amount.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600