Traffic and insurance laws can differ from state to state. If you have been in a car accident case in Austin, this page explains the settlement stages under Texas law.
After you are in a personal injury accident, you should send notification letters as soon as possible. Notification letters put on record that you and another driver (or drivers) were involved in a car accident, and any injuries and property damage that someone suffered.
Notification letters are sent to the other driver (or drivers) who were at fault. If they have car insurance, notification letters are sent to their insurance carriers as well.
The letters will initiate the insurance carrier’s internal process. Usually an insurance adjuster will be assigned to take statements from all the drivers and examine photos and statements given to the police. They may consult accident attorneys in the insurance company’s legal department.
Adjusters decide if they think their insured driver caused the accident. If they think the driver is responsible, the adjuster will determine how much money to offer the injured victim. This is known as the insurance company’s settlement offer, because if you accept it, the case is settled and you can no longer file a lawsuit for that accident.
You can agree to a settlement offer any time before or after a lawsuit is filed.
Filing a lawsuit does not need to mean going to trial. Everyone involved in the lawsuit (known as “the parties”) can continue to negotiate until the time that the court makes a final decision.
During the trial, both sides present evidence like photos, and testimony from the drivers, witnesses and sometimes expert testimony. Sometimes the parties hear evidence that changes the mind about the settlement offer. In fact, some cases have even settled while the jury was still deciding at the end of the trial.
When you accept a settlement offer, you are required to sign a liability release. In addition to the release, you may also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
The liability release means that you are releasing the other parties (the other drivers and their insurance companies) from any future claims related to the accident. Once you sign it, you can no longer sue those parties for bodily injuries or property damage that were caused by the same car accident. The matter is settled.
Sometimes insurance companies do not want all the details of a big settlement to be reported. They are concerned that other people who were in similar accidents may want the same amount of money. They often require plaintiffs to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to settle the case. This may be irritating, but many plaintiffs do sign it, and it may mean receiving a larger settlement.
If you sign a confidentiality agreement, in most cases you would be prohibited from telling anyone the settlement details, including the amount of money you received.
Justinian & Associates is an Austin personal injury law firm that understands settling cases can be quicker and easier. Many of our clients have settled quickly but still felt they received fair and adequate compensation.
But even if you have no intention of filing a suit, a personal injury lawyer from Justinian & Associates has a staff of investigators and the legal experience needed to present your case to the party offering a settlement.
It is probably unsurprising that a study by the auto insurance industry found that auto accident victims with lawyers usually receive three times the compensation as those without one. In fact, 85% of the money paid by auto insurance companies for bodily injuries is given to victims represented by attorneys.
Our Austin-based attorneys have over a collective decade of experience with personal injury law. We have helped thousands of clients in both large and small cases.
And unless we win, you pay nothing.
Call, text or email us for an absolutely free consultation with a staff attorney (not a “screener” or a paralegal). There is no cost or obligation.
Tell us your story, and we will explain your options under the law.