Mark Roman | November 6, 2022 | Car Accidents
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. This means that if you are in a car accident that involves another car, a truck, a motorcycle, or even an electric scooter, you will need to first go to your own personal injury protection provider to get compensation for any injuries you may have suffered and lost wages from work.
If you receive an offer for your claim that you are satisfied with, the next step is to sign a settlement agreement. Here are five things you need to know about settlement agreements before you sign on the dotted line.
1. The Insurance Company’s Focus Is Its Bottom Line, Not Fairness
The ideal scenario for an insurance company is for you to accept their initial, lowball offer and then sign an agreement that will release them from further liability. This scenario isn’t remotely ideal for you.
To prevent this outcome, your lawyer will painstakingly assess the true value of your case and make sure you don’t accept anything less than what your case is worth. Your attorney will negotiate until you get the result you want. If they are not successful, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company assuming your case meets Florida’s “serious injury” threshold.
Be mindful that you have four years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit in Florida.
2. Once the Agreement’s Signed, You Are Locked Into Its Terms
A settlement agreement is a binding contract. Once you sign it, there is no room for renegotiation down the road. This means you want to be doubly and triply sure that you are satisfied with the terms that are being offered before you sign it. Absolutely consult with an attorney before you finalize any agreement.
3. If Future Claims Arise, You Could Be Out of Luck
Let’s say you sign a settlement agreement with the insurance company and later find out that you might have been able to bring a product liability claim against the car manufacturer. Because you have already signed a settlement agreement, you cannot pursue that lawsuit.
It is vitally important that your personal injury attorney thoroughly investigates the facts of your case to make sure that you will be aware of all of your possible legal options.
4. If Future Injuries Arise, You Could Be Out of Options for Compensation
Sometimes, car accidents can cause injuries that may not be immediately apparent but can surface in the future. Any settlement agreement you sign will most likely not account for injuries not known about at the time of the agreement. For this reason, you will want to be patient during the negotiations with the insurance company. Taking your time could lead to a better result for you.
5. Settlement Is Still Possible Even if You File a Lawsuit
Let’s say that negotiations with the insurance company aren’t successful, and you filed a lawsuit against them. This doesn’t mean that a trial is inevitable. In fact, it’s very possible that both sides will re-evaluate their cases as they prepare for trial. One or both sides may be prepared to broach a settlement with new information learned during that process.
Call a Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorney with Questions about Settlement Agreements
Dealing with insurance companies can make your head spin with questions. If you’ve been in a car accident, you have important things to worry about between your injuries and missed time from work. Consult an experienced attorney before you decide on a settlement agreement.
Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655