Many car accidents occur in Nevada. If you hit another car in Reno or Las Vegas, maybe you consumed some alcohol first. Maybe another vehicle hit your car instead. Perhaps the other driver ingested some alcohol, or maybe they let their smartphone or something else distract them.
As the Battle Born Injury Lawyers law firm notes, “most car accident claims are resolved through private settlement.” They don’t ever reach the litigation stage.
We will discuss these settlement agreements in detail now. If you’re in a situation where you must negotiate following a Nevada car accident, you should know the basics as you enter this phase.
You Can Protect Yourself in Certain Ways as You Start Negotiating
As you start negotiating following a Nevada car accident, you should first hire a lawyer. Legally, you don’t need an attorney, but you may feel lost without one.
For this article, let’s say that the other driver caused the car accident. They hit you, and it’s obvious they caused the collision. They don’t dispute that.
When you hire a lawyer, you and the other driver’s insurance company will enter into the negotiation process. If you can reach a settlement that works for both sides, you won’t need lengthy courtroom battles.
The lawyer will say you should get all pertinent medical documentation. You need any X-ray results, MRI results, medical bills, and anything else that indicates what damage you sustained and what doctors did after the crash.
You will also want things like medication receipts. If you attended physical therapy, you will want documentation.
If you have all of that documentation, and also police reports talking about the crash, eyewitness statements, etc., you will likely get a better settlement offer. If you don’t have extensive documentation, you might get a lower offer.
Your lawyer can help you collect everything you need. They’ve been through this before, and they can advise you if you feel anxious or confused.
Settlement Agreements Constitute Legally Binding Contracts
You should also know that as you enter the negotiation phase, if you ever sign a settlement agreement, that’s a legally binding contract. In other words, you can’t agree on an amount, sign the contract, sleep on it, and then decide the next day that you want a new deal.
Your lawyer will explain all this as well. When you sign the settlement agreement, you will likely see language in it that says you can’t demand any more money in the future. This settlement concludes any business between yourself, the insurance company, your lawyer, and the other driver.
That’s why you must negotiate and get a number that seems okay now but will also seem acceptable later. In the future, maybe you’ll have some additional medical problems that you feel sure the car accident caused.
That won’t matter, though, at least not in the sense that you can get more money out of the deal. You have one shot to get the cash you feel you deserve. Once you agree and sign on the dotted line, you must move on with your life, for better or worse.
Settlement Agreements Have Very Broad Language
If you read a settlement agreement, you might notice some legalese or flowery language. That should not surprise you. You’ll likely encounter that any time two lawyers get together and draft a document.
You should notice certain clauses in that document, though. We mentioned how the settlement agreement will specifically mention that you can’t demand more money later. It will also say that you can’t sue additional individuals or entities in the future that you’re not holding responsible now.
Maybe the driver that hit you consumed some alcohol before driving. They left a bar after drinking ten shots in an hour.
You can’t sue the bar owner if you sign the settlement agreement. That’s a standard clause. It’s one more reason why you and your lawyer should go over that document very carefully and feel sure it works for you before you sign it.
This Document Won’t Change for Any Reason
If you enter a store and see a sign saying “all sales are final,” you know what that means. Once your money leaves your pocket and it’s in the register, you can’t get it back for any reason.
It’s the same with settlement agreements after Nevada car wrecks. You must change any parts that don’t work for you before you sign. Otherwise, if you regret some clause later, you’re out of luck.
You can’t rework the deal whether you’ve passed the statute of limitations or not. If you don’t like some clause, you might demand that the insurance company change it.
If they won’t, you might face them in court. You won’t like that step, but if you can’t reach acceptable terms, you may have no other choice.
The Claims Adjustor Knows Their Business
You might enjoy arguing. Maybe you feel like, if you enter into a dispute or a negotiation with an insurance adjuster, you can get more money than they feel like giving.
That’s not likely. Keep in mind that even if you like the occasional spirited debate, insurance adjusters do this for a living. They will know all the possible strategies you might employ, and your negotiation skills likely won’t impress them. They’ve seen it all before.
That’s a major reason why you should not take on this individual by yourself. Your lawyer, assuming they’ve handled these cases before, can work with you and get you a better settlement offer. They know the legal options and arguments that will get you more money.
If you take on a claims adjustor alone, they might jump on a misstep on your part and use that against you. They might say they’re offering you less money because you said something indicating you believe you partially caused the accident.
These individuals seldom have any scruples. That’s why you will feel more comfortable with a lawyer coaching you and negotiating on your behalf.