There are car accidents every day in Texas. As one of the largest cities in the state, Dallas sees a fair share of crashes, with the average rate being about 55,000 a year. If you’ve been in a car accident that was someone else’s fault and you suffered injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and more, it’s possible for you to get compensation.
When you file a car accident claim, insurance companies will do their level best to undervalue it and try to get you to settle for less than your case may be worth. Without a car accident lawyer helping you, it can be tough to know when to accept a settlement agreement. If you are thinking about accepting a settlement, it’s essential that you know a few important things.
1. Car Accident Settlement Agreements in Texas Are Final
A settlement agreement is a binding contract that holds all parties accountable. Most of these types of agreements will be very clear in their wording to ensure there are no questions about whether they’re final or not. By signing the agreement, your legal claim or lawsuit is over.
Many times, people who sign a car accident settlement agreement in Dallas, TX, without having a lawyer present will ask if they can find a way out of it. The answer in the majority of cases is “No.” When you sign the settlement, you are releasing all parties involved.
Because of the finality of a settlement agreement, you should always consult with a car accident lawyer before signing one. An attorney will look out for your best interests, while insurance companies only look out for themselves.
2. Car Accident Settlements Cover All Legal Claims — Even Those You Didn’t File
For the insurance companies and other parties involved in the accident, one of the most crucial parts of the settlement agreement is the release. After a car accident, the defendant wants to ensure that by paying you, you won’t be able to come after them later on. The release usually covers all causes of action, including those that could be brought up in the future.
If you didn’t make a particular claim and later realize that you could have, signing the settlement takes away your right to do so. If you could have made a claim for reckless driving and negligence, for example, but you only sued for negligence, you’re still giving up the right to sue for reckless driving.
This is another reason why turning to Dallas injury attorneys for help is important. They can advise you on all of the claims you can legally make so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
3. Car Accident Settlement Offers From Insurance Companies Are Likely Too Low
An insurance company has one goal when dealing with claims: to pay you as little as possible. They tend to use form contracts for their settlement agreements, and these contain very broad releases that can take away most or all of your future recourses.
Another thing to remember about form contracts from insurance companies is that they usually contain terms that make it very difficult for you to fight back if the company does not honor its obligations. Some of these terms can be mandatory arbitration clauses, which keep you from being able to reach out to the court system and instead require you to go to arbitration.
Most settlements that insurance companies draft also give the insurer discretion on when, how, and to whom the settlement is paid. If you turn to an attorney who knows your rights and the laws of Dallas, TX, they will be able to negotiate better terms for you.
4. Car Accident Settlements Cover All Injuries
When you sign a car accident settlement agreement, you are giving up your rights to sue for all injuries you received during the accident, including injuries you didn’t know about. This means that if you thought you only got a few bruises or mild whiplash and then realize your injuries are more severe, you can’t file another claim.
The insurance company and the parties at fault don’t want to have to pay you more than once, so you will usually have this as part of the settlement. You always want to reach out to a qualified attorney to ensure that all of your rights are respected before signing the settlement.
5. Car Accident Settlements Cover All People Involved
Many settlement agreements stop you from pursuing future claims against other parties for the same injury. This has to be clearly stated in the settlement in order to be legal.
If you’re not a lawyer, however, it can be tough to notice that taking money from one insurance company may mean that you can’t sue a related company for additional damages. This is crucial when the case is complex and there are lots of people involved.
To ensure that you get a fair deal, you always want to reach out to car accident lawyers for help. They are well-versed in state law and will be able to warn you about what signing the settlement can do for future claims.
Always Consult a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re in Dallas, TX, and have been through a car accident that wasn’t your fault and you were left with injuries, property damage, and more, one of the options you have is to turn to a personal injury lawyer for help.
An experienced Dallas car accident lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to help you get the best compensation possible. They will be able to guide you through the whole process of filing a claim, gathering the necessary evidence to prove that claim, and so much more. At Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience offering people the help they need after going through a car accident. We can aid you in understanding your personal injury claim so that you’re aware of what your rights are. Because we’ll deal with insurance companies on your behalf, they won’t be able to use threats or other common tactics.