When To Settle Your Florida Car Accident Claim?
After they have been involved in a Florida car accident, the last thing most people want to do is spend months or years buried in legal paperwork to ensure they get their medical bills repaid. Settlement can seem like a no-brainer, but in truth, some cases are simply not well-served by trying to get the quickest possible settlement. It is important to understand what your potential options are and when it is actually a better idea to push the issue forward.
Insurers Are In A Power Position
Statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) show that barely 2 percent of federal tort cases went to a jury trial, with the other 98 percent being disposed of as dismissals, settlements, or other non-jury verdicts. While it is difficult to determine, state numbers are thought to mirror these trends, particularly in Florida. One of the reasons is that Florida is a no-fault state (a system which directs car accident complaints toward one’s own insurer), so very often, even when someone files suit against the driver who struck them, the case very often winds up being decided out of court, either by a settlement with one’s own insurer or with that of the driver involved.
If you are in an accident, instead of suing the driver who allegedly caused it, in Florida you would simply bring a claim with your own insurer, which should then be paid regardless of anyone’s alleged fault. However, this does place insurers in a relative position of power, as they have no incentive to offer an accident victim any more in recompense than the minimum they can get away with. If you try to handle your case on your own, it can also mean that an insurer may try to ‘low-ball’ you because you do not have an experienced legal professional on your side to advise you that your claim is worth more.
Find A Balance
Perhaps the most important thing one can do in determining when to settle or go to trial is to be aware of the balance of time. Florida does have a statute of limitations for personal injury actions – car accident-related cases must be filed within four years of the accident – but this does not mean that it is a good idea to accept your insurer’s first settlement offer, and yet too many people do because they think time is of the essence. You deserve to receive fair value for your injuries and for your emotional pain and suffering, and too many insurers prey on the average person’s lack of knowledge as to what is exactly fair.
It is true that pursuing compensation in court can take some time. However, even if your case never goes to court, it is very common that filing a suit can make an insurer adjust their settlement offer. No insurer wants to spend so much time disputing one claim – so if, say, they offer you too little and then you file suit, they may offer more as a way of making the whole thing go away. Very often, filing suit signifies to your insurer that you are serious and that you will not take less than your injuries are worth.
Contact A Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
More than anything, if you have been involved in an auto accident, you need to consult an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney so you are aware of both your rights and your obligations. The lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group have years of experience in these types of cases, and will work hard to ensure that your case is handled as it should be. Call our office today for a free consultation.