Determining a fair settlement varies greatly case-by-case. However, there are a few questions you should ask in order to evaluate the quality of your settlement:
1) Will the settlement pay your medical bills?
If you were injured in an accident, you most likely had to go to the hospital or a doctor's office, so you probably racked up some medical bills.
One of the starting points of ANY injury case settlement is looking at the total amount of medical bills (and future medical bills!) and making sure that the settlement covers those costs.
Download my free eBook How to Get Medical Treatment After a Florida Car Accident Without Spending Thousands of Dollars You May Never Get Back to learn more about your medical treatment options after an accident.
2) Will the settlement pay your lost wages?
Injuries usually prevent people from working. If you had to miss time from work then your settlement should cover the amount in wages you lost.
3) What type of insurance coverage was involved in the claim?
A lack of insurance coverage that could mean a larger settlement is simply impossible in some cases, despite the lawyer’s best efforts. When damages are great but the insurance coverage is minimal, just getting the bills paid with a little left over is a good settlement for the circumstances.
4) What are the general circumstances of the accident?
The definition of a good settlement is obviously subjective and can vary depending on the case. Every case is different, and there are various aspects that can set yours apart from others.
While medical bills and wage loss are some of the main factors that can affect the value of your personal injury settlement, there are a group of factors known as “noneconomic damages” that can include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Immense pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
And other damages that do not have a fixed dollar amount. The best way to uncover the true value of your case is to have a conversation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
4 Mistakes That Can Lower the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
The law is an extremely complicated system. It is very easy to unknowingly make mistakes when you are representing yourself and sadly, one fatal mistake could ruin the value of your personal injury claim.
Some common, detrimental mistakes people make with their personal injury claims:
1) Not Calling the Police
After an accident on the road, you should call 911 and request a police officer. The accident report that a police officer writes is a crucial starting point for personal injury claims since it usually includes information about…
- The drivers involved.
- The driver's insurance information.
- The types of vehicles involved.
- Who the witnesses were.
- The name of the police officer who reported to the scene.
- All other pertinent information from the scene of the accident.
- A police officer may also issue a traffic citation to the at-fault driver.
2) Waiting Too Long to Go to the Doctor
Waiting too long to go to the doctor can be irreversibly damaging to your case. Insurance companies will use your delay against you, claiming that your injury "must not have been that painful" if you waited so long to seek medical care, or claim that something else happened during the two weeks delay that caused your injuries.
Furthermore, if you do not receive medical care within 14 days after an accident, then you may not be able to use your personal injury protection benefits from your insurance.
3) Giving a Recorded Statement to the Other Driver's Insurance Company
Insurance companies may take advantage of the chaos that ensues after an accident and attempt to have a confused, injured person give a recorded statement. The problem with giving recorded statements to the other driver's insurance company is that you may mistakenly say something that the insurance company could use against you.
Understand that you are not obligated to give a statement. If the other driver's insurance company and calling you and asking for a statement, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
4) Signing Forms, Such as a Release or Authorization
The other driver's insurance company may contact you and request your signature on a release or authorization. You should never sign anything without consulting your lawyer.