What is a "Fair Settlement" in an Auto Accident Case?

What is a “Fair Settlement” in an Auto Accident Case?

The study of the meaning of language is known as “semantics” and it is often the epicenter of disagreements between attorneys and opposing insurance companies.  It should not surprise anyone that an injured person’s idea of a “fair settlement” invariably differs from the insurance company responsible for paying it.  This is especially true in light of some of the recent changes to Texas law.  Below are some factors for both sides consider when determining the meaning of a "fair settlement.” 

  1. Actual Damages
    These are damages that a person can quantify via receipt, invoice, tax returns, or some other supporting documentation. Medical bills and records are a good example as well.  However, if a person has private health insurance or if part of the bills are written off, the jury may only be allowed to see only a portion of the total bill.  In theory, a smaller number in actual damages may mean a smaller overall award from a jury.  Insurance companies take this into consideration when setting a value for the case.  
  1. Venue
    The venue refers to the place where a lawsuit is filed.  Venue is important because of the prospective jurors who may hear a case tried and be asked to make an award.  A case that is worth a small amount in one county may be exponentially more valuable in another.  Insurers and lawyers are keenly aware of this and value their cases accordingly.  Insurance companies spend a great deal of time determining risk and may choose to dig in their heels in a county they see as favorable.  Conversely, a lawyer representing an injured person may do the same in a county with a history of large jury awards. 
  1. The Injured Party
    A large emphasis is placed up the “who is the Plaintiff” question during the course of litigation.  An injured party’s medical history, claims history, lawsuit history, and personal background may all be discovered by the opposing party.  A checkered past isn’t necessarily a case breaker; however, if the opposing side feels that it can attack a witness’s credibility or dispute the severity of the injuries claimed, then the value of the case will be affected negatively.  It is important for an injured party to share every detail with the lawyer.  No detail is unimportant and all details can usually be managed if they are disclosed early. 
  1. Hiring A Law Firm
    Choosing a law firm with a reputation for aggressive, competent representation is a huge factor affecting the value of a case.  As in any industry, the people in it quickly begin to know each other and its members.  Opposing lawyers and insurance companies will pay more money on cases handled by law firms they see as a bigger risk down at the courthouse. 

“Fair settlement” is a term of art that will fluctuate depending on the factors above and the status of the litigation.  There is no hard and fast measurement to determine what is fair.  However, hiring a law firm with a proven record can greatly increase a settlement offer in any case. 

Where Zinda Law Group Practices:

We were founded in Texas and have a team of Austin personal injury lawyers as well as attorneys in Dallas and Fort Worth.

 As we’ve grown we expanded out west to El Paso, Texas subsequently into Arizona adding Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers to the firm, as well as adding offices in Colorado including Denver Personal Injury Lawyers and the surrounding cities such as Colorado Springs.

Types of Cases We Handle:

We also have a team of attorneys that have experience serious injury cases such as car accidents, wrongful death and truck accidents.   We also have experience handling more complex cases such as gas explosions and drug injury cases, such as the Taxotere® Lawsuits.