Understanding Car Accident Settlements in Arizona

The last thing you want to do when you’ve had a car accident is to research how to handle a car accident case in Arizona.  The stress, physical pain, and emotional distress can be overwhelming enough. You may not be at fault in the car accident, but you are still left with the responsibility of bringing a personal injury case.

There are a few paths you can take after being involved in a car accident, and you want to ensure that the path you choose is right depending on your situation.  How you resolve a car accident case starts with an understanding of basic terms and concepts for car accident cases and settlements in Phoenix, Arizona.

What Does it Mean to Accept a “Settlement” after a Car Accident?

Accepting a settlement is the most popular choice for resolving personal injury lawsuits.  When an insurance company offers you a settlement, for example, it is trying to solve your claim without formally litigating the case in superior court.  

There are benefits to settling out of court. A settlement allows both parties to negotiate on their own terms and come to an agreement that works for everyone. It eliminates court fees, time, and the uncertainty of having a jury decide the case.

Do I Need to Write a Demand Letter?

If you are experiencing after-effects from a car accident, you will eventually need to write a demand letter to the other driver and/or their insurance company to get compensation for your injuries.  Why? A demand letter outlines all the damages that have affected your life as a result of the accident. Those damages can include medical bills, lost income, and emotional distress.

In your demand letter, ask for a dollar amount that adequately represents your damages caused by the accident. Your demand letter will detail the accident and cover your medical treatment and emotional damages.

The types of documents to include with your demand letter are car repair receipts, evidence of missed wages, the police report, medical records, and photographs, for example. It is the first major step in negotiating a settlement.

Negotiating a Settlement in Phoenix, Arizona

Once your legal team sends the finalized demand letter to the insurance provider, there’s not much you can do until there is a response.  The provider will review your request, and either (1) agree to pay the settlement or (2) make a counter offer. From there, you may go through rounds of negotiations before coming to a final agreement.

Negotiations normally happen because each team is trying to find an agreement that is beneficial to both parties. If your legal team and the insurance provider can’t reach an agreement on the settlement amount, you may move into an alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  

One common ADR is a third-party mediator. Mediators are attorneys or retired judges that review the parties claims then work with the parties to facilitate a settlement. Mediators work well because they have no interest in the outcome of the parties dispute and therefore take an unbiased stance on the facts of the case.

What If Settlement Negotiations Fail?

A settlement is typically the best option because going to trial is stressful and includes substantial time and resources.  That said, there are cases where the parties are unable to reach a settlement and the case must be decided by a jury. 

The most effective course of action is to find a legal team to help negotiate a settlement that compensates you for your injuries and avoids going to court.  Contact the Folger Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.  

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