A car accident or personal injury claim will leave a direct or indirect hit on your finances. The cost of vehicle repair, fixing other damaged property, evacuation, emergency treatment, and the hours of work lost. So whatever avenue is available for you to reimburse your expenses and lost income should be harnessed to the full.
One of these is to pursue a personal injury claim. While a claim can be worth it, there’s no formula for determining what your settlement will eventually be. Each case is unique. Nevertheless, experienced auto accident attorneys can help you develop a realistic estimate based on the following factors.
Consistency of Your Statement
The consistency of your story around the events preceding, during, and after the car accident will be crucial in determining the strength of your claim. You’ll likely have to narrate the crash to the police, paramedics, a doctor, and your insurer. No one would realistically expect an identical narration each time. That may, in fact, appear suspicious.
Still, getting all the key facts right more so those that show who was responsible, is vital in illustrating what amount is just compensation. Contradictions would raise eyebrows and insinuate you may be trying to mislead your way to a large settlement.
Evidence of Negligence
Certain accidents will clearly and easily place liability on the other driver. If they rear-ended you, were driving while intoxicated, or were texting and driving, their insurance adjuster will have fewer issues they can bring to the table during settlement negotiation. Fewer obstacles can, in turn, increase the value of your claim.
On the other hand, if there are reasonable questions around your own responsibility in causing the accident, you have to be ready to settle for a lower figure.
Prompt Medical Care
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle crash, it’s not enough to seek medical attention. You have to do so promptly. Do so even when you don’t feel injured and can walk off the aches. Not every injury will be apparent. Some start to show up hours or days later. Detecting the injury early improves your odds of recovering faster.
Equally important, though, is that failure to seek treatment immediately gives the insurance adjuster grounds to argue you weren’t hurt as severely as you allege. With that, they’ll insist that you settle for less.
Extent of Injuries
The extent of your injuries will have a direct impact on your quality of life in the short-, medium- and long-term. So, the more severe and disruptive your injuries are proven to be, the greater the settlement you can negotiate for.
In this regard, the doctor’s report and your medical records showing how painful and inhibiting your injuries are, as well as the expected path of recovery, are critical. This official health data is considered expert testimony and, therefore, key in helping you get the settlement amount you aim for.
Pre Existing Injuries
If you already had a pre-existing injury to the body part that’s hurt by the car accident, expect the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster to argue that the crash had nothing to do with the injury.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the value of your claim will reduce. It’s all part of the negotiation tactics the other party will employ to minimize what they pay. It will, however, mean the settlement will drag on longer before it’s resolved.
The Police Report
The need to make sure the police are called to the accident scene and that they write a report cannot be overemphasized in your quest to maximize the settlement. Like doctors, the police are considered an independent authority whose opinion carries substantial weight.
The report would contain compelling information such as driver statements, witness statements, road conditions, the crash scene, and a conclusion of what is the likely cause of the accident. The police report eliminates certain arguments the insurance adjuster could make, including that the crash never actually happened.
If you claim to be injured by a car crash, then you cannot be engaged in a lifestyle that isn’t consistent with your injuries. Going hiking, kayaking, bungee-jumping, or engaging in other physical activity wouldn’t paint a picture of someone who needs a financial boost to get their life back on track.
Insurance adjusters will gather as much information as they can about you legally. That will include checking out your social media sites and hiring private investigators to see what you are up to. If they find your post-accident routine is too intense for an injured person, that will be counterproductive to your claim.
Don’t leave the compensation for your car accident claim to chance. Pay attention to these seven factors and you’ll be well on your way to getting the settlement you deserve.