Most people injured in car accidents file insurance claims with the other driver’s insurance company. Louisiana requires drivers to carry minimum liability car insurance. Bodily injury car insurance compensates victims of a car accident for injuries, losses, and damages when the insured driver is responsible for causing the accident.
When you file an insurance claim with another driver’s insurance company, there are three common ways to settle your car accident claim.
Three Ways to Settle Your NOLA Car Accident Claim
1. Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Most car accident claims settle through negotiations with the insurance company. An insurance adjuster investigates your claim to determine if the company’s insured driver caused the accident. If the insurance company accepts liability for the claim, the adjuster calculates the value of the claim based on your injuries, financial losses, and other damages. The insurance company makes an offer to settle the claim.
If you accept the settlement, you are required to sign a release. The release frees the insurance company, the other driver, and any other parties liable for the accident from any further responsibility for your claim. You cannot claim any further damages against the parties to the release once you accept a settlement and sign a release.
Settling a car insurance claim is not always a simple process. Insurance companies do not have an incentive to pay full value for car accident claims. Paying full value to settle car accident claims cuts into an insurance company’s profits.
Therefore, you may want to contact a New Orleans car accident lawyer to discuss your injury claim before accepting a settlement. The settlement amount offered by the insurance company may be much lower than your claim is worth.
2. Mediation or Arbitration
Mediation uses an impartial mediator to facilitate negotiations between the parties. The mediator helps the parties identify the issues in dispute and discuss a compromise to reach an agreeable solution. The mediator does not offer an opinion for settlement. The mediator’s role is to help the parties come closer to a settlement through open and productive discussions. Neither party is required to accept a settlement through mediation.
Arbitration uses an impartial arbitrator to hear evidence from both sides and then issue a decision. Arbitration is like a trial, but without the strict rules of evidence and procedure. The arbitrator’s decision may be binding or non-binding. If you agree to binding arbitration, you must accept the ruling of the arbitrator. In non-binding arbitration, you or the insurance provider can reject the arbitrator’s ruling.
An accident claim may be settled through litigation. You can hire a New Orleans personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The insurance company for the driver typically hires a defense attorney to handle the lawsuit for the driver.
The litigation process can take many months or over a year to complete. At trial, both sides present evidence. A jury listens to the evidence and enters a verdict. If either party does not like the verdict, they can appeal the verdict.
Contact a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney Now
Attorney Fred Olinde and the New Orleans car accident attorneys of The Olinde Firm work diligently to settle your accident claim as quickly as possible. We attempt to settle claims whenever possible, but we are prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit if that is necessary to protect your best interests.
Our goal is to get you as much money for your claim as quickly as possible. However, we do not rush claims. Several factors impact how long it takes to settle a claim. We keep you informed and updated throughout the process so that you know exactly how your case is proceeding.
Call (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 now to schedule a free consultation with one of our Louisiana car accident lawyers.