Here's what makes an insurance company settle your car accident claim:
Contrary to popular belief, a settlement is not something that happens automatically simply because you were in a car accident. In order to obtain a settlement in a car accident, the defendant must have some motivating factor to settle.
This can happen in two forms: they gladly make a settlement offer because they realize the dispute can be satisfied cheaply or they begrudgingly make a settlement offer because it's better than the alternative of facing your attorney in trial. Assuming your goal is to obtain a fair and sizable settlement amount, the first choice is not a satisfactory option and you will want to pursue the alternative.
Compelling a defendant to settle is an art, more than a science. An entire book could be written on the subject, so a single article will just be the tip of the iceberg. That being said, we will highlight some of the components which will force most defendants to settle in a car accident case and give them motivation to settle your claim out of court. This is what we find to be most helpful.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- Why would an insurance carrier want to settle a claim?
- Will an insurance carrier settle may claim if the other driver admits they're guilty?
- If I have eyewitnesses, does that help my settlement?
These are the things that will make an insurance carrier settle:
As stated before, any insurance carrier will settle with you for pennies on the dollar is you have a case that has strong potential value, but you're willing to settle for far less than it's worth. We're not being cynical here; some people really don't care if they get maximum compensation. Taking a low ball settlement is fine with them.
However, if you are of the opinion that you should be fairly compensated for your case, you have to understand that Texas law does not require an insurance carrier to throw their hands up in despair and pay you fair compensation. such an outcomes only occurs as a result of the insurance carrier being legitimately concerned that if they don't settle with you for "X" a jury will make them pay "X+". Here are some silver bullet factors that will make an insurance carrier scared of you in court:
An admission of guilt in a deposition.
A deposition is a sworn, out-of-court statement which is recorded under oath and is admissible in court. This is important because the person we depose says something contrary in court, the validity of their testimony can then be attacked. Usually, we can show that their statement as recorded in the deposition is actually the correct version and what the court should base their ruling on.
When we depose the other side we can sometimes emit testimony from them where they voluntarily admit that they caused the accident and are ultimately responsible for the damages. Their admission then becomes a matter of public record which they cannot later withdraw. By admitting fault a deposition, it has the same effect as they are admitting guilt in front of a jury.
There are two ways in which a person can make an admission in a deposition: they can outright admit fault, or they can admit fault through their ignorance. The latter of way of admitting fault is what we most often rely upon. When we say that they are admitting guilt through ignorance we are basically saying that they do not actually understand what they are saying; the person unwittingly admits that they were negligent.
Admitting guilt through ignorance essentially consists of the person being deposed making a statement about their knowledge or their actions and then our attorneys using this declaration to prove that they were actually misinformed or ignorant of the actual facts. For example, we've had drivers unwittingly admit on the record that they were driving under the influence of alcohol because they thought that they were "buzzed driving" rather than "drunk driving."
Eyewitness evidence against the defendant.
Many of our cases have been successful simply by virtue of a Good Samaritan sharing crucial information. Often when a car accident occurs, numerous people will actually see it happen. These individuals can testify as to what they observed the drivers doing just before the crash. For instance, we may have a witness come forth to testify about the defendant's actions moments before the accident, like the defendant was talking on his cell phone and lighting a cigarette when he side swiped your car.
Or an eyewitness might be able to say that they were driving in the same direction as the defendant, when they observed the defendant run the red light and hit your vehicle. Generally, these eyewitnesses are complete third parties meaning they have no allegiance or bias for either party. Their testimony carries great weight with the jury and their impartiality makes them incredibly believable. Due to the persuasiveness of the eyewitness testimony, most defendants are eager to settle out-of-court in order to avoid potentially harsher punishment from a jury.
Physical evidence is particularly compelling when it impeaches the defendant. In a previous case we handled, our clients were rear-ended, their car went off the road, and they were badly injured. In the deposition, the defendant swore that he was going the speed limit, and our client was actually going way under the speed limit creating a hazard. If our client was driving at half the posted speed limit, he would have been largely at fault because it is not lawful to drive 30 mph in a 60 mph.
Fortunately, we were able to extract the ECM data (sometimes called the "black box" for cars) from both vehicles which conclusively proved our client was traveling at the posted speed limit of 60 mph and the defendant was driving 90 mph. When we presented this concrete information to the defendant's attorneys, it showed the defendant was the actual cause of the accident, and it effectively proved that the defendant was a liar. After receiving this conclusive information, the defense counsel quickly agreed to a favorable settlement for our client.
A compelling demand packet.
One of our most successful tools is referred to as a "demand packet." A properly constructed demand packet will clearly outline every bit of information and evidence you have against the defendant in a clear and concise format. The demand packet basically has all of the information and evidence mentioned above which makes it a great bargaining tool. This takes all the work out of the process for the defendant's lawyer and insurance company adjuster, and gives them a professionally-produced collection of documents, witness statements, pictures, and videos that show how the defendant driver was at fault
When we present the defendant and their attorneys with all of our evidence and information supporting our claim, along with a detailed explanation of our legal reasoning behind our claim, they often become eager to reach a settlement agreement. They understand that they are not likely to win in court, and only increase their propensity to suffer even greater consequences. Upon reviewing the demand packet they realize that the success of you claim is basically inevitable and it is in everyone's best interest to reach a fast conclusion.
Call Grossman Law Offices Today.
If you have been injured in a car accident and you need help seeking compensation to pay for your recovery, we can help; the first step in filing a car accident lawsuit is contacting one of our car accident attorneys. We have helped numerous individuals just like you reach a fast and happy resolution and we may be able to do the same for you. We understand that when you are trying to heal from a car accident injury, that time is crucial and the process can be incredibly expensive. By reaching a successful settlement out-of-court we can quickly help you move on from this accident and focus entirely on getting your life back to normal. To schedule a free consultation, call Grossman Law Offices at (855) 326-0000.
Check out our other helpful car accident insurance articles below:
- 5 Facts About Claims Adjusters
- Comparative Fault Defenses in Texas Car Wreck Cases
- How Do Crashes Involving Loaned Vehicles Work?