What is Included in a Car Accident Settlement?
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you may be wondering what to expect and what will be included in your settlement. After you hire an attorney, he or she will first conduct an investigation, and then begin the process to request all of your medical records, bills, wage loss documentation, the accident report, and photos of injuries and property damage. He or she then uses these items to create and support a demand letter to be sent to the insurance adjuster. The attorneys and adjusters then begin the process of speaking and negotiating via phone, letters, or email to negotiate a settlement. The goal of the negotiations is to see whether the two sides can agree as to the value of your bodily injury claim. This value not only considers the medical bills incurred to make you better; more importantly, it needs to take into account the injuries themselves, and the impact the injuries had on you and those that rely on you.
Current Values and Damages
There are many expenses and damages that are factored into a car accident settlement. First, there are the current expenses. These include the cost to repair or replace your vehicle, current medical and hospital expenses incurred to help heal your injuries, wages lost due to missed work, and any miscellaneous expenses. These numbers are usually straightforward and easily calculated. You will have bills and statements from the auto shop, medical providers, and wage loss documentation from your employer. Your attorney will request that you provide copies of whatever you are able, and will obtain anything else that is needed.
Future Values and Damages
The damages from a collision almost always endure beyond the first day. Because of this, you will likely have future medical and hospital expenses, future lost wages, and future pain and suffering. If you have permanent injuries, damages for those injuries may last a lifetime, in which case, your attorney will need to ascertain your life expectancy by referring to various tables that are published by the federal government. Future damages aren’t always easy to predict and calculate, so your attorney will have to rely on medical and financial professionals to provide certain information depending on the circumstances involved in your case.
Pain, Suffering, and Mental Anguish
The pain, suffering, and mental anguish you will contend with following a car accident should not be minimized. Loss of enjoyment of life activities or consortium, which is also known as children/spousal damages from interruptions in love and companionship are also important to consider. If you’ve experienced loss of mobility (permanent or temporary), or if you require ongoing physical assistance to do things you used to do with ease, it can put you in a very challenging mental state, and that should not go unaddressed.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident Settlement?
In Ohio, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the accident. There are some circumstances when you should act much sooner, such as when the accident resulted in the death of the person responsible for the collision. Your attorney may advise you that in other instances, it may be a good idea to wait, such as when a minor is injured, or the long-term repercussions of the injuries aren’t yet known. Having an experienced car crash attorney guiding you through the process is crucial to ensuring that you get a fair settlement and don’t miss any important deadlines that could cost you throughout the process.
Are Settlements Final?
Like the famous song goes, “you got one shot” when it comes to getting a settlement for your injuries. Once you accept and sign the settlement agreement, the settlement is final. After you sign, you cannot go back and try to demand more money for your claim. This is why it is so important to make sure that the settlement you accept is inclusive of all your losses. Insurance companies want to pay the lowest amount possible to resolve your claim. They are always hoping you will settle early, and take the first settlement. That is why they typically try to rush you through it. You are not required to accept that initial offer, but if you do, that offer is final.
Your experienced attorney will rely on his/her years of negotiating cases, and they may consult a database of settlements and verdicts to know what is fair in your situation. They will be ready to file a lawsuit if a fair settlement cannot be reached. After all, this is the only leverage you have if the insurance company is unwilling to pay what you and your attorney think is fair. Your attorney has the experience and knowledge to get you the best possible outcome, and you should not take the chance of trying to move through the process of determining damages without one by your side.
We fight hard for victims’ rights because we believe no one should be financially burdened by a car crash, especially one that wasn’t their fault. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, contact Arthur Law Firm (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation right away.