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Five Things to Know About Car Accident Settlement Agreements in Austin, TX

Five Things to Know About Car Accident Settlement Agreements in Austin, TX
Car accidents are traumatic. Unfortunately, they are also a common occurrence on the roads in Austin, Texas. Across the state, there were over
244,000 people injured in car accidents alone in 2022. The aftermath can trigger a flurry of emotions, concerns, and decisions for those involved. This is especially true when considering legal action.


There are many options available to victims. One option is to settle any legal action as compensation for your injuries. Here is a more breakdown of five things to know about car accident settlement agreements in Austin, Texas:

1. The Benefits of Settlements Over Trials in Austin, TX

When involved in an accident, your mind may jump to court trials. In reality, few car accident cases are resolved in court. This is because trials are daunting, emotionally draining, and unpredictable. Few people like to leave their fate to a judge or jury. It can also take months, or even years, to bring a case to trial. This waiting period strains the financial resources of victims with piling medical bills and other expenses.

In contrast, settlements offer a more direct route to compensation. By negotiating with the at-fault party or their insurance company, victims may bypass the legal steps involved in court trials. This includes conducting discovery, or the process of exchanging information between the parties about the evidence they will present at trial. This process usually requires retaining experts, taking witness depositions, and producing hundreds of records. Settlement means avoiding the emotional stress associated with these processes.

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2. Calculating the Settlement Amount: It’s More Than Just Medical Bills 

You may think the settlement focuses only on medical expenses. While medical expenses are a significant factor, other damages will collectively determine the total settlement amount. These often include:

Medical Bills

This represents the cost of medical care you incurred due to the accident. It can include emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and other ongoing medical treatments. You can also seek compensation for medical care you anticipate having in the future. The more medical bills and expenses, the higher your settlement.

Lost Wages

If an injury prevents you from working, temporarily or permanently, you may seek compensation for those lost wages. This can encompass the money you would have earned had you been injured and your future lost earning potential. This may apply if you can no longer work your chosen profession or have your earning capacity diminished.

Pain and Suffering

This is non-economic damage that compensates you for the physical pain and emotional suffering you experienced. Pain and suffering is a subjective category of damages. It can vary widely from person to person and accident to accident. Courts and juries typically look at the severity of the injury, the type of medical treatment received, the duration of recovery, and long-term physical or mental effects to determine an appropriate amount of compensation.

Property Damage

Property damage is a common component in car accidents. This damages category includes the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property in the accident. In the case of a car crash, this would often cover the cost to repair or replace a damaged vehicle. It could also cover other personal property damaged in the accident, such as electronics, clothing, or jewelry. 

An experienced car accident attorney can help you write a settlement demand letter. They will include your damages and then advocate on your behalf during negotiations. You should do this before the statute of limitations, or legal deadline for filing a lawsuit, expires. This is generally two years from the date of your accident in Texas under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.

3. Settlement Agreements Are Usually Confidential

A lesser-known aspect of settlement agreements is their typical confidentiality clause. Both parties must agree to keep the terms and details of the settlement, including the amount, private. This common practice often seems trivial to most car accident victims. The goal is to avoid setting public precedents or attracting undue attention. Understanding this fact can set expectations straight when discussing settlement offers. You likely will not be able to tell friends, family, and neighbors the specifics.

4. Car Accident Settlement Agreements Are Legally Binding

A settlement is not a casual agreement. It is a legally binding contract. Once you have agreed to the terms and signed the agreement, your pursuit to recover damages related to the accident ends. This is because settlements often require you to sign a release of liability. This release bars you from coming back to the defendant for new injuries or damages later.

For this reason, it is important to have a car accident attorney review any settlement before you sign it. Given the irreversible nature of settlements, you must be thorough. Experienced attorneys can ensure you have accounted for all current and future damages. A comprehensive understanding of your health and the legal implications will prevent you from settling for less than you may be owed.

5. A Car Accident Attorney in Austin, TX Can Be Your Best Ally

Settlements require back-and-forth negotiations. Navigating the maze of settlement negotiations can be intimidating, especially after an accident when emotions run high. Insurance companies often present as daunting opponents. Fortunately, a seasoned attorney can level the playing field. There are many benefits to having an attorney. These include: 

  • Expertise: Knowledgeable car accident attorneys understand the local laws, procedures, and intricacies of Austin’s legal landscape.
  • Objective Evaluation: An attorney can objectively assess your claim’s worth, ensuring emotions do not lead to a hasty, undervalued settlement.
  • Shield Against Pressure: Insurance companies may employ tactics to minimize their payout. You may feel pressured to settle your case quickly and prematurely. An attorney acts as a buffer in this process who can protect and advocate for your interests.
  • Resource Availability: Preparing a car accident case requires exhaustive preparation. From gathering evidence and consulting experts to crafting a compelling narrative, car attorneys have the resources and know-how to build a strong case.

There are many other ways that a qualified personal injury attorney can help with your case as well.  

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Austin’s roads are not immune to accidents. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of sifting through the aftermath of a collision, understanding settlement agreements is important.

Settlement agreements offer a pathway to compensation without the theatrics of a court trial. Like any legal avenue, however, these agreements do come with their intricacies. Arm yourself with knowledge and secure robust legal representation to navigate the settlement landscape.

The Austin car accident attorneys at FVF Law have over 100 years of experience representing crash victims. The firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars for injured clients to date. Contact our law office at(512) 982-9328 today to schedule a free consultation

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