There were over 5 million car accidents that occurred in the USA in 2020. This meant there was plenty of potential for both injuries and auto accident settlement negotiations in that year. This year you could find yourself in a position where you receive such an accident settlement, so you might be wondering whether to accept it or not.
We can help you choose your next steps. In this article, we can provide you with several considerations you should take into account when receiving an auto accident settlement. Before you accept, weigh each one over and talk to your legal representative to help you make the decision.
The Compensation Offered
In short, the compensation the company gives you should cover all the costs you undertake following the event. The courts will only consider them valid injury costs if you would not have spent the money anyway. So you cannot consider things like food and drink unless you had to buy them while receiving treatment in a hospital.
Valid considerations for compensation include property damage, injury costs, lost wages, and any legal fees you have had to pay. They should also cover things you will need to pay for in the future too. This is because the compensation should be able to take you as close as possible back to the life you had before the accident.
You need to have a solid understanding of both your injuries as well as how much they will impact you moving forward.
In general, ensure you have a good handle on things like:
The injury you sustained. You should understand how it can increase the amount of compensation you should accept if you have a more severe injury. A broken bone, for example, or spinal damage can lead to much greater compensation than small bumps or bruises.
Your medical treatment. If you need ongoing treatment, you are very likely to get a much higher accident settlement. The compensation should cover any medical treatment you have received or expect to undertake in the future.
This does not only relate to physical treatment. On top of the cost of surgeries or medication, you should learn whether you will need to go into some kind of psychological or physical therapy too.
If you are unable to work because of how the accident has affected your life, your accident settlement should include compensation for this fact.
When you calculate this, you should consider how much work you have had to take off already, as well as how much you will need to do so in the future. If you have any recommendations for ongoing work from a doctor, make sure to have all these ready. They may come in handy should the issue ever go to court.
You should also get together any proof of income you have for your life before the accident. You can then compare this to your life after the event and calculate your losses in the short term.
There are other things you can also include. If you usually receive benefits or sick time, any payment can also include compensation for these.
If you are self-employed, this is still possible to pursue. The calculations for how much you have lost are harder to work out due to needing more evidence of revenue. Still, you must move forward assuming they are just as valid as any other kind of income.
Impact On Your Life
Try to get medical confirmation about how the physical injuries you received have caused a significant impact on your life. If you are now disabled or have a reduced range of motion or mobility, such things are likely to increase the amount of compensation you receive.
Should your quality of life have changed, this should reflect in what the company owes you too. Examples of you having a reduced quality of life include things like:
- Not being able to enjoy hobbies due to injuries
- Being unable to spend time with friends or family
- Any pain and suffering faced
- A reduction in the ability to work
- Mental anguish
Make sure to record situations like these in some kind of journal. This could be powerful evidence should the issue ever go to trial.
After a car accident, it is common for people to suffer some kind of emotional stress. This might be post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression. Issues such as these will affect the victim for a long time, impacting their ability to make decisions and live a normal life.
For these reasons and more, there is likely to be compensation that comes from becoming a victim of such a mental state. Thus, it is very important you learn if your life has changed in such a way. You should learn from your doctor if such an evaluation is possible so you can mention it during compensation negotiations.
You may need to get an expert to offer their testimony on this issue or give you paperwork to back up any claims. This can help you to speak from a position of knowledge.
Who Is at Fault
During discussions related to auto accident injuries, there will often be mention of a “degree of fault”. Often, it will not always be the fault of a single person that an injury has occurred. This will often appear in the form of specific percentages, such as 50% your fault and 50% another person’s.
For example, if you calculate that you have sustained $10,000 in damages, but you are 20% at fault, you can expect to only receive $8,000 compensation. Degrees of fault are also used if more than one person owes you compensation to determine how much each should pay.
You will want to have as much detail on the situation leading up to the accident as possible. This will help insurance companies analyze the car crash to determine how much of the accident was each person’s responsibility.
How Much Time You Have
Bear in mind that the effects of an auto accident may not all be clear straight away. If you are still receiving treatment, it is wise to wait and find out more about how much you will have to pay. It could be that their compensation offer is much too low after you learn this.
Such things are even more important when there is the possibility of a hidden medical condition, such as PTSD or other mental health issues. These may not appear until long after the initial car accident.
While it is important to wait, also bear in mind there is often a statute of limitations on some lawsuits. If you wait too long, you may find you are unable to seek further damages.
At the same time, consider how important negotiating is for you and how much mental energy you can spend on such an ongoing event. It may be you are too tired of it and need to pass the issue on to someone else, like a legal professional. Or you might want to settle to get the whole thing out of the way and move on with your life.
The Compensating Party’s Reputation
You should also consider whether the person at fault in the auto accident has been in this position before. If you happen to know they have, or a lawyer digs up such things in the past, that could work in your favor.
They might have a reputation for neglecting vehicular safety or not maintaining their vehicle. If so, it is possible you could receive higher compensation.
Judges do this to impart to the guilty party the seriousness of their crime. It is also sometimes done to discourage them from making such mistakes in the future.
They may also have other reputations. If the other party is infamous for stretching court cases out, you might want to consider an earlier settlement. Debate whether you want to have to deal with someone who extends every issue and causes claimants to pay far too much money.
How Well a Trial Might Go
Sometimes compensation is not enough and the other parties are unwilling to budge. In that situation, you will want to talk to someone who can discuss how realistic it is that you can get more than the other party is offering. This is why you will want to speak to a professional.
People like Alpha Accident Lawyers understand the legal system. They also have contacts in the auto insurance industry who can help get you the information you need to receive the largest payout possible. All you need to do is get in contact with them, and they can start the process of helping you.
Before You Accept an Auto Accident Settlement
With the above information, you should be able to handle your auto accident settlement much easier. Still, it is always a good idea to talk to a professional who deals with accident settlements and getting people every single cent they are owed. In the meantime, you can always learn more.
Our blog has information on the legal system and how to use it to your advantage. So, check out more of our articles and become the expert you deserve to be.