When is a good time to settle a car accident case in California?
So you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, and now wonder when you will be able to settle your case.
So when exactly CAN you settle your case?
The answer to this one is easy. Anytime at all.
You can try and settle right there after the accident. It happens quite often, I’m sure. The driver and victim get out of the car, assess the situation, and the person at fault offers some money to settle the case right then and there.
Some people don’t want their insurance rates to go up, they don’t want to deal with insurance adjusters, or go through the whole process of an insurance claim.
When exactly SHOULD you settle your motor vehicle accident claim?
The answer to this question is a little more complex. The time to begin settlement discussions is after you have finished your medical treatment, or when your treatment has become infrequent, or your medical condition has reached maximum improvement. That means you are not fully healed, but you aren’t going to get much better in a short period of time.
The best time to settle your case is when the insurance company is offering reasonable value for your case. Nobody can predict when this will happen. Sometimes the insurance adjuster will make a first offer that is reasonable, right off the bat.
Insurance companies don’t always give a reasonable offer for your injuries
Other times you will never get a reasonable offer.
Most of the time, with an attorney involved you will receive an offer that is on the very low end of the range of reasonable offers. This begins the back and forth that will either result in an offer good enough to accept, or offers too low to even accept. In that case, a lawsuit must then be filed.
Even after filing a lawsuit, you can settle the case at any time right up until a jury decides the case. Sometimes just the act of filing a lawsuit will get a new adjuster on the case, and a more reasonable settlement offer.
When I discuss a settlement offer with my clients, I tell them whether I think the offer is within striking distance of a reasonable offer, and then explain the risks and costs of going to trial. If the offer is too low, I always recommend filing a lawsuit and preparing for a jury trial.
So you see, the best time to settle a case will be different for each case. There are so many factors, and the biggest one is the size of the settlement offer from the insurance adjuster.