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How Does The Car Accident Settlement Process Work?

April 28, 2021 Car Accidents

After a car accident, there are steps that victims must take to recover compensation for their injuries and vehicle repairs. A vital one is filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s or your insurance company. Once you report the accident, the insurer will begin investigating your claim and will more than likely resolve it with a settlement offer. Here we explain how the settlement process works. 

Gather Evidence

Immediately following a collision, you will need to gather information from the scene, the healthcare facility treating your injuries, your employer, your vehicle repair company, and others. Some of this evidence includes:

  • The police report.
  • Photos of the accident scene, including your visible injuries and damage to all vehicles involved. 
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs. 
  • Medical bills and records that contain information about your injuries or your prognosis. 
  • Any journals you have kept regarding the impact of the injuries on your life.

Hire A Car Accident Lawyer

When you hire a car accident lawyer, they will conduct an independent investigation into your crash to gather evidence and build your case. They will establish who is liable for your injuries and an estimate of how much they owe you in damages. If necessary, an attorney has the resources to hire experts who can weigh in on the extent of your injuries or recreate the accident to prove fault. 

 Establishing the Value of Your Case

After reviewing all the documentation and evidence in your case, your lawyer can determine its value. They will base that figure on various factors, including the strength of evidence against the at-fault driver, the nature and extent of your injuries, your health condition before the accident, your age, and others. The damages that are available in a car accident case cover losses such as medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. 

Demand Letter

Your attorney will draft a demand letter and send it to the at-fault party’s insurer. The letter will detail the facts of the accident and request a certain amount of compensation by a specific date to resolve the claim. It is in your best interests to hold off on sending a demand letter until you have recovered from your injuries or once you reach the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). Waiting will give both you and your attorney the best estimate of the amount of compensation you need to cover your losses entirely. 


The insurance company will have investigated the accident on their own to determine how much your case is worth. Once they receive your demand letter, settlement negotiations will begin. Offers will typically go back and forth, and your attorney will describe the pros and cons of accepting each one so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. If a fair agreement can be reached, the case will settle, and a lawsuit does not need to be filed. 

Filing a Lawsuit

If negotiations reach a standstill and you cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, you and your attorney can decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. Under California’s statute of limitations, you can legally file a personal injury lawsuit anytime within two years from an injury. While preparing for litigation, your attorney will continue negotiations with the insurance company to settle outside of court. A settlement can be reached at any point up until trial and even after the trial has begun. Once you accept an offer, you will need to sign a release of liability then your attorney will collect your payment. 

Contact CaseyGerry

If you were injured in a car accident, speak to a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer at CaseyGerry. We can help guide you through the settlement process and ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible. Message us online or call (619) 238-1811 to schedule your free consultation today.