If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and someone else was to blame, you shouldn’t be forced to pay out of pocket for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses. If a car accident causes you harm, you have the right to seek compensation from the person at fault through a personal injury claim.
While it is true that most injury claims settle out of court, it is crucial to make sure that your final settlement amount takes into account all of the expenses related to your accident, both current and future. If the other party’s insurance company pressures you into accepting a lowball settlement offer, you may find that you don’t have enough money later on.
That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced car accident attorney like those at Jebaily Law Firm to help you maximize the value of your car accident case. Contact us online or by phone to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options today.
Types of Compensation You May Claim
In a car accident case, you may be entitled to claim four main categories of compensation:
- Medical Expenses – Includes emergency room bills, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and medication
- Lost Income – Wages that you’ve lost when you miss work due to injuries caused by the car accident
- Pain and Suffering – Compensation for pain caused by your injuries and the loss of ability to enjoy and participate in the daily or life activities that you enjoyed before your accident
- Property Damage – Compensation to repair or replace your vehicle and other personal property damaged in the crash
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Unlike medical expenses or lost wages, there are no bills or paychecks that can clearly prove a dollar figure for compensation related to pain and suffering. Putting a dollar figure on pain and suffering can be much more challenging.
Typically, pain and suffering are established through testimony about your level of daily pain, along with a description of the activities that are made more difficult or that you can no longer do as a result of your injuries.
Having documentation to support your testimony, such as a daily journal, can corroborate your testimony and avoid having the other side claim you are exaggerating your pain and suffering.
How to Calculate a Settlement Figure
Some insurance companies base their initial settlement offers on the expenses that an injured party incurs in the 60 days immediately following a car accident. However, with sufficient documentation, it is possible to demonstrate that medical costs incurred outside this 60-day window are attributable to injuries sustained in the car accident.
Medical expert testimony may also establish what kinds of treatments may be necessary in the future after a settlement. This expert testimony may also determine how much work you may miss in the future for further treatment of your injuries, or if you are unable to return to work at the same wage or income, how much that future lost income is worth.
Tips to Increase Case Value
There are steps you can take in any car accident case to increase the value of your claim for settlement negotiations. Some of the actions you can take to help your case include:
- Document everything. Immediately following your accident, you should call the police and have them come to the scene. The police report may include critical information about the crash and who was involved. If possible, take photos of the accident scene as soon as possible after the crash. Write down the names, contact information, and brief statements of any witnesses. You may need them later to back up your recollection of events. Also, be sure to get the name, contact information, and insurance information from all the other drivers involved. Keep records of expenses related to the car crash, such as medical bills and lost wages. Also document your injuries, preferably with photographs, as well as the pain you experience and the daily and life activities that your injuries prevent you from enjoying.
- Seek treatment. Seeking prompt medical treatment is critical to establishing that the injuries you suffered in your car accident and determining the costs you’ll incur to treat those injuries. If you wait too long to seek treatment, the other driver’s insurance company may try to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or that something other than your car accident caused them.
- Contact an attorney. Having an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you during settlement negotiations is critical to ensuring that you receive the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Car accident victims represented by an attorney often receive a settlement that is several times higher than settlements offered to victims who represent themselves.
What to Avoid to Ensure Maximum Case Value
There are some things you should avoid to ensure that you maintain the maximum value in your case:
- Telling police or emergency medical services at the scene of your accident that you are “fine” or refusing treatment or transport to a hospital if it’s offered. You may be anxious and disoriented after an accident, and police or paramedics may notice injuries or symptoms that you don’t initially notice yourself.
- Giving the other driver’s insurance company a statement. This is true particularly if you state that you are “fine” or suffered no injury in the accident, say that you “didn’t see” the other driver, or were distracted when the accident occurred.
- Not calling the police to the scene to investigate or later filing a walk-in report if the police do not come to the scene of the accident.
- Failing to seek medical attention promptly after the accident.
- Failing to report any symptoms to your medical providers as soon as you notice them or waiting until those symptoms get much worse to communicate them.
- Failing to follow all the instructions or recommendations of your medical providers, missing provider appointments, or declining treatments or surgeries except for a good cause (for example, risk of complications).
Ultimately, you want to let your car accident attorney do the talking with the insurance company. Your responsibility should be to seek prompt medical treatment for your injuries, which will establish the severity of your injuries and prove the expenses that you will incur to treat them, thereby maximizing the value of your claim.
How Can Jebaily Law Firm Help Me Maximize My Car Accident Claim?
The Myrtle Beach car accident attorneys of Jebaily Law Firm are here to help you with your injury claim. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin advising you on the steps you should be taking to maximize your case’s value.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn about how we can help you maximize your car accident case value.