Settling a Virginia Car Accident Case

There are a variety of options available to someone who is injured and wants to try to achieve the best offer from their case. An experienced car accident lawyer can advise the client as to the potential outcomes and how it may impact the client’s case.

The client should know that they always have the ultimate say in whether or not settling a Virginia car accident case is an appropriate outcome for them.

Settlement Options

When considering options available when discussing settling a Virginia car accident case, a person may request that the case be settled prior to litigation. They can request a certain amount of payment in terms of a settlement from the at-fault party and their insurance company. This is known as a demand.

If the demand is not met, there may be negotiations to come to an agreeable figure. The case may also be litigated. This means that a civil complaint is filed either in the local circuit court or the local general district court.

The evidence is presented to the judge and witnesses are brought in to testify. This is known as a trial outcome and while there may be a hybrid in which a case is settled, a case is filed. There is some degree of litigation and then the case is ultimately settled.

Reasons People Settle

There is a variety of reasons for settling a Virginia car accident case. They may want to avoid the cost, time, and the emotional toll of proceeding to trial. Properly trying a case includes doing the discovery, having a person’s deposition taken, and preparing to testify at trial.

Someone can avoid doing those things if they achieve a resolution that is acceptable to them. This may be in their best interest. Every case is unique and some will favor a trial outcome over a non-trial outcome, so a person will want to talk to their attorney which outcome is best for the client and how the client can arrive at that approach.

If a suit is filed, the case will then be dismissed as settled. If a suit is not filed, the party has to simply execute an agreement that reflects that the parties may have settled the case and that they are ready to resolve it.

Reasons People go to Trial

There are a variety of reasons of why someone may decline a settlement offer and proceed to trial. The number one reason, of course, is that they don’t feel the settlement offer fairly and accurately represents the damage that they have suffered as a result of the other person’s negligence.

This may be true in cases where liability is disputed. The nature and extent of injuries are disputed or the injured party and the other counsel have vastly different ideas of how serious the injuries were.

An attorney wants to achieve the best possible result for their client. Going to trial may not always be in the client’s best interest to have that fight. An attorney can explain what can happen in trial, how the different outcomes may occur, and how to achieve the very best result for their client.

Statute of Limitations

Someone considering Virginia car accident settlement process has two years for the statute of limitations to either settle their case or proceed to litigation. What this means in practicality is that in most cases, after a car accident, the person has to have settled the case or filed suit in court to preserve the statute of limitations within that two year period. There are some limited exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations but that is not typical of Virginia cases.

Authority in Settlement Decisions

The client has the ultimate decision in whether or not to accept settling a Virginia car accident case. After due consultation with their attorney, a client can decide which option is best for them. The attorney’s role in this is to advise them of their options, what the legal strengths and weaknesses of their case are and how this may impact the settlement should the case proceed to trial.

The ultimate authority to settle the case always lies with the client and the client should note that they have that authority. This should be made clear and while there is communication between the attorney and client even though the authority can be delegated, it can be discussed that the ultimate decision of whether or not to settle the case lies with the client.

Expectations for an Initial Consultation with a Lawyer

The client should try to disclose as much information about the case during the initial consultation. If the person has an accident report, information about the at-fault party or anything regarding liability, the client absolutely has to bring that. The individual should bring the summary of the medical treatment that the person has received including medical bills, name of providers, addresses, phone numbers and things alike.

After a person has been injured in an accident, it is best to keep a journal of who, what, where, how, and why. This journal should include how the accident has affected the person and any limitations that the person has had on a daily basis. This can help the client’s attorney understand what the person is going through on a daily basis and they could use this information to try and help the client achieve a better outcome. Settling a Virginia car accident case can be a difficult decision for anyone, contacting an attorney can help weigh the options.

Role of an Attorney

The amount  someone can recover settling in Virginia car accident case is determined by a variety of factors including:

  • The amount demanded by the plaintiff and their attorney
  • The amount of insurance coverage available
  • The amount offered by the defendant and their attorney
  • How much the case is worth
  • What the parties think is fair

It is impossible to say that there is a set formula in every case because, in Virginia, there are guidelines in how cases are valued. Virginia car accident attorneys help a person maximize the value of their claim by understanding a claim adjusters view and a defense attorney’s view in evaluating clients and how that may affect the individual’s claim.

An attorney’s job is to achieve the best outcome for their client and coordinating with their client’s wishes. It is important to remember throughout this process that the client has the ultimate authority to decide when and where to settle the case.