Can Your Lawyer Still Negotiate If You Verbally Accepted a Settlement for Your Cleveland Car Crash Claim?

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Crash victims are often tempted to accept a settlement offer that was made soon after the accident. If they are on the phone with the insurance company, they may even tell them they will accept the offer.  

Victims may come to regret making a hasty decision about an offer. They may even wonder if they have options for backing out of the settlement.

If you have questions about your ability to back out of a verbal settlement for a Cleveland car crash claim, Friedman, Domiano and Smith is here to assist you. Our Cleveland car accident lawyers can determine if you have legal options and are prepared to help you pursue the compensation you need.

Give us a call to discuss your auto accident claims. Phone: 216-621-0070.

What Is a Settlement?

Settlements are written contracts between two or more parties. These contracts serve to resolve a claim, such as a demand for compensation for damages from a car crash.

A car accident settlement is an agreement for the insurance company to pay compensation to the victim. In exchange for paying compensation, the victim gives up the right to seek more compensation from the insurance company for the same injury.

How Do Crash Victims Reach Settlement Agreements?

Crash victims have the right to work with the insurance company on their own to reach an agreement on a settlement. You can also hire an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

It is best to work with an attorney, as research shows those who work with attorneys often recover more compensation than those who deal with things on their own.

If you hire a lawyer, he or she will investigate the crash and craft a demand letter. The letter explains the amount of compensation you are seeking and why the insurance company should be liable. The insurance company usually does not agree to the demand, which begins negotiations. Usually, both sides reach an agreement, but if they cannot, the lawyer can file a lawsuit.

Are Verbal Settlement Agreements Binding?

Verbal agreements could potentially be legally binding. The question is whether an offer was made, it was accepted and both parties exchanged something of value. In a car accident settlement, the insurance company pays compensation to the victim in exchange for the victim giving up the right to pursue more compensation from the insurance company.

You may question whether the insurance company can prove you gave verbal acceptance of the offer. However, they may have been recording your phone conversation, or at the very least taking notes. This could make it harder to back out of the settlement agreement.

Did You Sign the Offer?

Even if you are recorded saying you accept the offer, the bigger question is whether you signed anything. If you did not sign anything, there may be a good chance an experienced lawyer can rescind your acceptance of the offer.

If you signed the offer, however, there is little that can be done to get out of the agreement. This is because the agreement includes a clause relieving the insurance company of any future liability for your injuries and damages. This type of document is legally binding.

The only way you might be able to get out of the agreement is if you can prove the settlement was not entered into in good faith. You would need to prove the insurance company engaged in fraud or coercion. If someone did not have the mental capacity to understand a settlement, for example, a settlement agreement might not be enforceable.

What if Your Injury Gets Worse After You Settle the Case?

Unfortunately, you still will not be able to seek additional compensation from the same insurance company. Once a settlement offer has been signed and compensation has been paid out, the claim is essentially over.

The only way to pursue additional compensation would be if there was a third party that bears liability for the crash.

Why You Should Be Wary of Quick Settlement Offers

Crash victims may fail to consider why the insurance company is making a settlement offer so early in the process. They are not doing it because they want to resolve the claim quickly and make sure you get all the compensation you need.

How can they even know how much compensation you need? You have not completed your medical treatment. You may also need compensation for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, physical therapy, and other damages. Insurers often fail to include these damages in their initial settlement offers.

It is normal to question whether you should accept a quick settlement offer. You can always discuss the offer with an experienced lawyer to determine if it is acceptable. The bottom line is you do not need to decide what to do about a settlement offer right away.

What Happens if You Reject a Settlement Offer?

Crash victims are often afraid to reject a settlement offer because they think they will not be able to get any money. However, that is what the insurance company wants you to think. The truth is that you have every right to reject a settlement offer.

That said, it is important to understand the difference between a crash victim rejecting a settlement offer and an attorney rejecting a settlement offer. If you reject the offer, you may have a lot of trouble getting the insurance company to make a better offer. If your attorney rejects a settlement offer, the insurance company may take it more seriously. This is particularly true if the attorney has a history of securing compensation from insurance companies and taking insurers to court.

Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith For Legal Assistance After a Car Crash

Did you verbally accept a settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company?

Verbal agreements may not be binding, which is why you need to contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your potential legal options.

Our firm is ready to assist you and there are no upfront costs. The initial consultation is also free of charge.

Contact Friedman, Domiano and Smith to schedule your free consultation: 216-621-0070.


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