Being involved in an accident presents several challenges depending on its extent and the gravity of the resulting injuries. Receiving financial help from insurance somehow compensates for the difficulties. However, to learn that the accident settlement is not fair is like rubbing salt in the wound.
It is therefore vital to know if your car accident settlement is fair or not before agreeing on anything.
Deciding on whether or not the settlement is reasonable is important but not an easy task. Many things should be considered including the following:
- Amount involved on damaged property
- Amount of medical bills
- Amount of other future costs
- Lost wages
- Disability cause by the accident
- Pain and suffering, etc.
Why Your Claim Might Be Low
There are a few reasons that your claim might be lower than you expect:
Partial Fault – If you contributed to the accident you may only be able to claim part of the damage.
Pre-Existing Conditions – If the adjuster believes that the injuries were do to pre-existing conditions, they may not cover the full cost of your injuries
Claiming Too Much – The insurance company might believe that you are claiming too much as a necessary treatment or will miss too many days of work. This is especially true of soft tissue injuries, which are harder to diagnose accurately.
How To Respond to a Low Offer
There is a good chance that the first offer you receive is low as a negotiation tactic. Don’t panic, but you still have to respond quickly. There will most likely be a short time frame in which you are able to respond to the offer. In addition, do not deposit your check if you plan on disputing the offer. It is possible that by depositing your check, you will be waiving your rights to negotiate further. Lastly, make sure that you respond in righting and keep records of all of your communications with the insurance company. Your attorney will be able to help you draft up a response.
The tips provided below will be very helpful in letting you determine if the car accident settlement offered to you is fair or not. You will not be easily deceived if you know these pointers. To make sure that there will be no loopholes or that you will not be fooled into agreeing into anything you will regret later on.
Tip#1: Calculate for Actual Damages
Actual damages refer to the expenses involved in the repair or replacement of the damages to your vehicle. Depending on whose fault, this is something the car insurance company should shoulder, whether yours or that of the driver’s who caused the accident.
Insurance firms could overstate the level of fault to underpay a claim, thus the importance of knowing how much each one contributed to the accident. What is critical is to make sure the state of your car prior to the mishap will be restored.
Regardless, you need to know the terms of your car insurance policy since it may need to pay for the damages of your car initially, and then reimburse the expenses from the other driver’s insurer if they will accept full responsibility of the accident.
It is only what your policy covers that you can claim in terms of damages or injuries.
Tip#2: Review Your Medical Bills
Be sure that your insurance adjuster will add up all the medical bills related to the accident, including the following:
- out of pocket expenses
- treatment and future treatment, if needed
- even the cost of mileage going to the from the doctor
If the injury acquired is extensive and may require prolonged treatment, e.g., physical therapy or frequent visits to the hospital, be sure that all these will be considered by the adjuster.
Tip#3: Check for Lost Wages and Other Future Costs
Property damages and medical bills fall under economic damages. So are lost wages and other future claims relating to the accident such as permanent injuries. Lost wages for your inability to work due to injuries must be calculated into the assessment.
Moreover, you may include non-economic damages when evaluating your settlement if applicable to your situation. Examples of this are as follows:
- mental anxiety
- future pain or trauma
- effect on your ability to enjoy life
The help of an expert in assessing what non-economic damages are applicable would be a big help. A personal injury attorney could do this for you to allow you ease and make sure you recover what you deserve.
Tip#4: Get the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney
Putting the right value to a car accident claim in no easy task and may prove tedious. It is something that is difficult to do especially while recovering from a crash or an injury caused by a car accident. However, it is a necessary undertaking or you will end up in the losing end if you do not do it appropriately.
To save you all the trouble, it is best to seek the assistance of a PI attorney. His help could even increase the odds of getting the best car accident settlement for you.