Why Does My Spouse Have To Sign The Settlement Agreement?

Your spouse has to sign the settlement agreement, also known as the release, because there is a potential loss of consortium claim. From a practical point of view, most people don’t bring a loss of consortium claim unless there are very serious injuries involved. The most valuable claims are those in which, because of the injuries, a spouse has to become more of a caretaker than a companion and lover to their spouse. Even with minor injuries, the insurance companies always prefer to have husband and wife sign the release. If at the time of the collision you were separated from your spouse, then the insurance company would not require your spouse’s signature.

How Long Does An Auto Accident Case Take To Go To Court?

A case can usually proceed within one year, if your attorney is very proactive. Auto accident cases can move much quicker in Florida than they can in other states. The length of time that it will take for a case to settle will depend on how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. In other words, you reach a state of being unable to improve medically.  At that point, we can rightfully send a demand letter and request a settlement. For most people, who have significant injuries, that usually takes anywhere from four to eight months. We negotiate with the insurance company after a month of providing a written demand consisting of your medical records, medical bills, photos and other supporting documentation. If claim can not be resolved, then a suit is filed. It could then take about a year to finally get the case before a jury.

Why Do I Need An Attorney If I Have Been Involved In An Accident?

There are many reasons why you need an attorney if you have been involved in an accident. Everyone would agree that if you need brain surgery, you would not do it yourself. If you want to negotiate on the price of a diamond ring or something of value, you would want someone who has knowledge of the value negotiate on your behalf.  In an accident case, you need a lawyer who has experience in personal injury and who is familiar with the jury verdicts and settlements in your area and knows how to properly evaluate your case. You also need a lawyer who has knowledge of the different types of insurance policies that may be available to you and that you would otherwise be unaware of.

The insurance company’s goal is to make money. Therefore, it is a buyer beware situation. It is very important that the insurance company know that you have a lawyer who knows what your rights are, what you’re entitled to and what the value of your case is. If the insurance company does not negotiate in good faith, you have an attorney that can force them under the law to do so.

As an example, I had a client who started out trying to handle a case by himself. The damage to his car was $6,000 and they offered him $3,000. The insurance company of the at fault driver did not even discuss his injuries. When the client decided to retain me, the client got a settlement of  $30,000 for his injuries and $6,000 for his car. That was a small case, but it shows how important it is to have a knowledgeable, competent and aggressive attorney on your side.

Can I Sue The Other Person’s Insurance Company Without An Attorney?

You have a right to sue the at fault driver/owner, without an attorney. We refer to people who do that as pro se litigants. However, if you choose to do this, you will usually not get far. This is because if the at fault driver/owner has insurance coverage, a lawyer will be assigned to represent them. Lawyers will invoke the rules of evidence and the rules of procedure in court proceedings.

For example, there was a man who thought that since his car was damaged, he would take on the insurance company to be reimbursed. He went to court with an estimate from the body shop and said, “Judge, I want to introduce this estimate.” The attorney for the insurance company said, “Objection, hearsay.” The man said, “What does that mean?” The judge replied, “That means that I’m going to sustain the objection, and I can’t look at the estimate. I cannot help you, because I have to be neutral. I cannot advocate for you or for the insurance company.”

The man then asked to show pictures of the damage to his car and the insurance company’s lawyer said, “Objection, no proper foundation laid.” All the judge could explain was that that was an evidentiary objection. The judge then said, “If you don’t have anything more to give me, I am dismissing your case.” That was the end of it.  The man’s case was over, he lost.

So, you definitely need a knowledgeable, competent and aggressive attorney to navigate through the legal process because of our rules of procedure and evidence. When we say that justice is blind, we mean that everyone has the same resources in terms of what the law is and ability to use the rules of procedure and evidence. If you don’t know legal rules and you don’t have the financial resources, then you’re going to fall short in the justice system.

For more information on Why I Need An Attorney In My Auto Accident Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (305) 903-8892 today.

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