Who Is At Fault For Your Car Accident?
It’s not uncommon after car accidents, particularly minor ones, for drivers who know they are at fault for the collision to attempt to negotiate a private settlement that does not involve reporting the accident to insurance. This is because insurance rates tend to go up for individuals who are found to be at fault for a collision. If you are in a car accident and the other driver offers to settle privately, what should you do?
Consider Your Potential Expenses
The idea of receiving a lump sum of cash without involving insurance can sound like a great idea, especially if the money offered by the other driver is more than you estimate the repairs to cost. In cases where the damage is cosmetic, the repairs may not even need to be made at all, resulting in a profit.
Before you shake hands, you should consider that your estimated expenses — and the expenses that the other driver is considering — aren’t likely to be all the expenses you could acquire as a result of the accident.
For example, say the other driver offers you $2,000 to repair damage to your rear fender after rear-ending you at a stoplight. You accept it, but a week later, your neck starts to hurt. You go to the doctor and are diagnosed with whiplash. After multiple doctor’s appointments, diagnostic imaging, medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatments, you’ve accumulated $15,000 in medical bills.
If you’ve already accepted a settlement from the other driver, you may not be able to bring a claim against his or her insurance for the costs you’ve incurred as a result of the whiplash.
Consider Multiple Claims
Often, you can pursue a claim with your own insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurance company. This is especially true in cases where the other driver was uninsured or underinsured and cannot pay a fair settlement to you. In some cases, you may also be able to pursue a civil claim against the driver themselves, apart from any claim with your or their insurance company.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you learn more about the different types of claims that can be filed and which may be the best option in your case to get the highest possible settlement.