Attorney David J. King


What’s at risk when negotiating a settlement after a crash?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Car Accidents

Most motorists in South Dakota take for granted the idea that they insurance coverage will help them to cover their costs should a crash occur. After all, South Dakota requires liability insurance from all drivers. Motorists must purchase a minimum amount of coverage but also have the option of investing in more robust coverage.

Someone injured in a crash who feels worried about paying for medical expenses or replacing their lost income usually expects to receive financial support from the other driver’s insurance company. Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage can go a long way toward helping someone cover the costs generated by a collision.

An individual involved in a crash who files an insurance claim might receive a settlement offer. Negotiating a settlement can be beneficial, but claimants need to understand what is at risk during that process.

Settlements end compensation rights

A settlement involves either a series of structured payments or a single lump-sum payment to the party making the claim. A settlement streamlines the claims process by allowing an insurance company to handle all related expenses at once instead of paying invoices as they accrue.

Insurance companies making settlement offers often propose an amount that is well below the applicable policy limits. In other words, the claimant receives far less than the maximum amount of compensation available. Those who accept a settlement offer may not realize that the amount they received is far too low given their costs.

If they later try to request additional compensation because of ongoing expenses, they may end up disappointed. Settlements typically include agreements to absolve the insurance company of future liability. Regardless of how much more the crash ends up costing someone, they typically cannot claim more compensation after signing the settlement agreement or cashing a settlement check.

The process of negotiating a settlement therefore requires attention to detail and a focus on long-term financial consequences. People need to have a realistic idea of their total medical expenses and long-term lost income if they hope to receive an appropriate amount of compensation as part of an insurance settlement.

The average person who is coping with crash-related injuries may not be in the best position to negotiate assertively on their own behalf. Having support throughout the insurance claims process, especially during settlement negotiations, can help someone who has been hurt in a collision focus on their recovery instead of on insurance matters.