What You Need to Know About Settling a Car-Accident Claim

Initiating a court case for a car-accident claim is never fun, and luckily, many cases are resolved before they actually reach a courtroom. But settling the case before it gets to court isn't as simple as it looks. Before you decide to settle your case, consider the following issues to ensure that settling is right for you and that you know what to expect as the settlement negotiations go on.

Either Side Can Do It

Both the plaintiff and the defendant in a claims case can offer or demand a settlement. Your lawyer might decide to wait and see whether the other side is the first to create a settlement offer. Sometimes you want to see what the other side does first. So don't be surprised if when you ask about settling, the lawyer wants to wait and see for a bit.

Adjusters May Fight the Settlement

If you are the plaintiff, and you and your car-accident attorney finally demand a settlement, don't be surprised if the adjusters for the defendant refuse at first. They don't want to pay out, of course, and they'll try to string things out and hope to get you into court (or hope to make you give up entirely if you don't want to go to court). Your lawyer should fight for you and counter the adjusters' reasons for refusing the settlement.

Lawyers May Want to Wait

If the other party offers you a settlement, then you might find that your lawyer wants to keep negotiating instead of accepting. Again, like with many types of negotiations, the first offer likely isn't the best. In fact, you may want to discuss with your lawyer before you hire him or her about how many settlement offers you'll need to receive before the lawyer starts to seriously consider accepting one.

Settlements Are Likely Taxable

If you do successfully reach a settlement, and you are the person receiving the money, that money will likely be taxable. If you need to use the money immediately for things like medical bills, try to send in an estimated amount so that you don't accidentally spend it, which would create a problem come tax time.

Work out a game plan with your lawyer regarding settlements so that you have a better idea of what your lawyer is thinking as offers come in. The process will go more smoothly if you are not left in the dark as to why your lawyer has suggested a certain course of action.