Personal injury attorneys in St. George will tell you that, no, auto accident settlements are not public record. In fact, many times insurance companies ask injured people to sign confidentiality agreements in addition to the standard release of liability documents they would sign in exchange for a check when settling their claims. Often, the person who hit you with their car may not even be aware that there was a settlement or what the amount was. Insurance companies track this information internally, but it is not available to the public.
Personal Injury Attorneys For Car Accidents In St. George
Most of the time, if you hire a personal injury attorney early in the process, most claims are filed out of court. Those settlements made in private are not public record. However, if a settlement can’t be reached and a case goes to trial, then any settlements made in court will be a matter of public record.
What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Calculating the exact amount of your potential car accident settlement can be difficult. No two accidents are the same, and there are many factors to consider as far as what may be covered.
What might be covered when you settle a car accident claim?
- Property loss – Often times the insurance company will conduct an evaluation of the vehicle. If the damage is minimal, they may recommend an auto repair facility and cover the cost of the repairs to restore the vehicle to its prior condition. In some cases, the evaluation might deem the car to be a total loss. Any settlement offer must be based on the market value or actual cost of a comparable vehicle at the time of the accident.
- Medical treatment – You have a reasonable claim to medical expenses. This includes doctor's appointments, hospital bills, surgeries that are the result of the auto accident, current, and future.
- Pain and suffering – This includes physical pain, mental pain and anguish, loss of life, humiliation, and emotional distress.
- Lost wages – If you’ve had to miss work as a result of your accident, you are entitled to that lost compensation.
Thankfully, most car accidents are mere fender benders that don’t cause serious injuries. But even so, keep in mind the insurance company is not your friend. The insurance agents’ job is to settle for as little as possible in order to save themselves money, the money they save helps their revenue. The less they have to pay, the more profitable the company is. If you’ve received a settlement offer, it will be lower than what you could get. So don’t take the first offer. This means negotiations are open and you should fight for the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been in a serious accident involving more serious injuries or even death, the settlement will often times be larger due to the long-term effects and damage.
Knowing if a settlement offer is fair, is easier if you have an attorney on your team. A personal injury attorney knows the state codes and insurance policies. A good attorney will negotiate on your behalf and will be more likely to get you a fair and higher settlement.
What is the statute of limitation for filing a case?
A lawsuit arising from a car accident must be filed within:
- Four years from an accident involving a personal injury under Utah Code Section 78B-2-307; or
- Three years from an accident involving property damage under Utah Code Section 78B-2-305.
If you are unsure if you have a legitimate case after a car accident, call McMullin Injury Law in St. George. You can set up a free consultation with our attorneys and paralegals who are well-versed in Utah state laws and codes. We’ll be able to answer your questions and advise you on the next steps.