Not all auto accidents are major catastrophes. In fact, most are minor fender benders that only result in property damage. Although it's still best to report these accidents to the insurance provider and let the company handle it, sometimes people negotiate cash settlement agreements with each other in an effort to resolve the issue quickly. If you were liable for an incident and settled with the other driver on your own, here's what you need to include in the settlement letter to avoid legal problems down the road.
Confirmation of Injuries and Damages
One of the major problems with settling an auto accident yourself—even a minor one—is the other party can still turn around and sue you. More often than not, the person will try to claim he or she was injured in the crash when they didn't appear to be or mention being hurt at the time Unfortunately, the plaintiff may have science on his or her side because some injuries do take time to manifest and some tissue damage doesn't show up on diagnostic devices. For instance, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for sign of a concussion to develop.
It's important to confirm the injuries and damages the person is claiming to have sustained in the accident and that the settlement covers all of them. If you wait long enough for any and all bodily injuries to manifest before settling, this can make it difficult for the plaintiff to come back and ask for more money. The person would have to prove there was no way to know the injury had occurred at that time, which may be difficult if there was plenty of time for the injury to manifest.
Additionally, you need to confirm whether the person's injuries and damages were covered by insurance. The courts don't like it when people try to double dip (get paid twice for the same thing). The person would have to show the insurance company didn't pay for the damage and why.
Complete Settlement Clause
Another thing you'll need to include is a clause that states the settlement covers all the person's damages and losses stemming from the accident and that they promise not to pursue a lawsuit at a later time. Even if the person experiences additional damages after they accept the settlement, this type of clause can keep them and you out of the courtroom as the court will dismiss the case since the person essentially waived their right to sue. This is the same type of clause insurance companies put in the settlement agreement to prevent people from suing for the incident as well.
For more information about writing a settlement letter that sticks, contact an attorney or visit a site like https://grdlaw.com/.