Car insurance protects essentially everyone who is at risk of being injured in a wreck. As long as the driver at fault for the crash has coverage, you can file a claim for the cost to repair your vehicle and any injuries that you suffered because of the crash.
Car insurance claims can become messy, drawn-out affairs in some cases, so those affected by a recent wreck may respond enthusiastically to a settlement offer from an insurance company, as that settlement means that they will be in a position to pay their mechanic and cover their hospital bills. However, the relief that comes from receiving a settlement is short-lived for many people, as they eventually realize that what the company paid isn’t nearly enough to cover their accident-related costs.
You don’t want to limit your ability to recover as much as possible after a crash. These are the primary considerations you’ll likely need to carefully review when evaluating a crash settlement offer after you get hurt.
Your current and future medical expenses
The settlement offer you’ve received might be large enough to cover all of your current medical bills, but you have to think about future care costs too. Will you require ongoing pain management or ongoing physical therapy after surgery? Those expenses could continue to accumulate for years after your initial injury was sustained.
Your lost wages
The longer you have to leave work because of your injuries, the more the crash will cost you. An injury that affects your physical ability or brain could even necessitate permanent changes in your employment.
A change in your earning potential will increase the total value of your claim. If you will never work again or must take significantly lower-paying jobs, you’ll need to consider this lost future income when evaluating the sufficiency of a settlement offer.
Your household services
Have you always been the one to clean out the gutters every spring? Do you provide child care or cook your family’s meals? When injuries prevent you from fulfilling basic household responsibilities, your family may have to take on additional expenses by hiring someone else to perform those tasks. Those additional expenses can exacerbate the pressure caused by lost wages and mounting medical bills.
An initial settlement offer from the insurance company may not be nearly enough to cover all of your costs, and it may also be lower than the policy limits of the driver who caused the wreck. You will have an easier time negotiating and thoroughly protecting yourself when you understand how much coverage the other driver carries and the long-term implications of your injury.
Taking the right steps to protect yourself after a motor vehicle collision may involve lengthy negotiations with an insurance company or even preparing to go to civil court. Learning about your rights will help you to make informed decisions.