Anderson Injury Lawyers | January 25, 2024 | Car Accidents
Car accidents can be devastating. Many drivers and passengers involved in car accidents face physical and emotional trauma and a maze of financial and legal challenges.
Navigating the aftermath of a Fort Worth car accident often culminates in what is known as a car accident settlement agreement. This is because few car accident cases ever go to trial. You must understand that these agreements are legally binding contracts. They will also have a significant impact on your financial and personal recovery.
Understanding the importance of settlement agreements can help you be prepared for the negotiation process and pursuing full compensation.
Here are five things to know about Fort Worth car accident settlement agreements:
1. Car Accident Settlement Agreements Are Legally Binding
A settlement agreement is a legally binding document between you, the accident victim, and the party responsible for the accident or their insurance company. A settlement agreement outlines the terms under which you and the other party agree to settle your claim in exchange for compensation. This includes compensation for damages you may have suffered in the accident, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Settlement agreements typically stipulate that you will forever waive your right to pursue further legal action related to the accident if you accept the terms. This includes waiving your right to file a lawsuit. Because settlements are final, insurance companies may propose them quickly after your accident to resolve your claim before the full extent of your damages is known. Before agreeing to settlement terms, consider all the long-term impacts and costs of your injuries and losses.
2. Texas Law Affects Settlement Agreements
Texas law plays a vital role in how settlement agreements are negotiated. They also impact the compensation you may receive. These Texas laws include comparative negligence, the statute of limitations, and minimum policy limits required for drivers.
Texas adheres to a “modified comparative negligence” system in car accident cases. This system allows your compensation in a car accident to be partially reduced if you are partly responsible. If you share some fault, your compensation will generally be reduced proportionally by your share. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault, your total compensation will be reduced by 20 percent.
However, there is one exception: if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible, your compensation will be barred entirely.
Statute of Limitations
Texas law also imposes a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means you have two years from your accident date to file a lawsuit for injuries.
Failing to take action within this timeframe can result in losing your right to seek compensation. It can also make it significantly harder to settle your claim. Insurers will understand that you can no longer threaten a lawsuit if you are unsatisfied with their proposed compensation.
Insurance Policy Limits
Texas law requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance to cover damages in an accident. This can impact the compensation available for your settlement, particularly if your damages exceed the at-fault party’s insurance limits. Settlements paid by insurance companies generally cannot exceed a party’s policy limits. A Fort Worth car accident lawyer can help you understand how this may impact your case.
Understanding these legal concepts is essential when entering settlement negotiations, as they directly influence the outcome and compensation proposed. A Forth Worth car accident lawyer can work with you to strategize your negotiations.
3. Value All Your Damages
Properly assessing the full extent of your damages is one of the most crucial steps before agreeing to a settlement. This should include your immediate costs, future expenses, and non-economic damages. Immediate costs include medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs. However, future expenses can be just as costly. These may include unexpected surgeries, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses. Future expenses are likely if you suffer severe injuries.
Be sure to also account for the non-financial damages you may have suffered. These damages, known as non-economic damages, include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life. They are subjective and can vary significantly from case to case.
Accurately estimating your damages may require medical professionals, financial planners, and experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyers.
4. Be Ready to Negotiate
Negotiation is a critical stage in reaching a car accident settlement agreement. Insurance companies like to minimize payouts. They often begin with a lower offer than what your claim may be worth. Be prepared to engage in negotiations to counter this tactic.
You should present your claim with supporting evidence and documentation to negotiate effectively. This includes proof of your injuries, medical treatments, lost wages, and non-economic damages.
The negotiation process may involve several rounds of back-and-forth offers. This can be time-consuming and complex. Having an experienced Fort Worth car injury lawyer on your side can be invaluable during this process. A lawyer with experience in Fort Worth car accident cases will know how to negotiate for fair compensation in your case strategically.
5. Settlement Agreements Are Final
Car accident settlement agreements are final. Once you sign a settlement agreement, it is generally binding and irreversible. This means you cannot reopen your claim or seek additional compensation later, even if your circumstances change.
A Fort Worth car accident lawyer can help you review the terms and stipulations of any car accident settlement before you accept them. Before binding yourself to the agreement, they can empower you with peace of mind.
A Fort Worth Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Settlement
You do not have to negotiate a settlement agreement alone if you have been involved in a Fort Worth car accident. A Fort Worth car accident lawyer will understand the intricacies of car accident claims and the impacts of Texas law. Your attorney can also help you negotiate a settlement that fairly compensates you for your accident.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Texas
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth or Dallas and need legal help, contact our car accident lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve Tarrant County, Dallas County, and throughout Texas.