It goes without saying that being involved in a collision is a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. In the aftermath, victims often feel overwhelmed by their injuries, as well as the unexpected onslaught of medical costs. To add to the stress, these injured victims will need to seek compensation to help pay for those damages, but how much is their claim worth?
There are many factors that can impact the value of a car crash claim. Since the insurance company will not automatically give you a full payout, understanding those factors is essential to achieving a fair settlement. In this blog post, we delve into the various elements that impact your claim’s overall value.
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What Critical Factors Determine How Much Your Crash Claim is Worth?
There are many factors to consider in a crash claim, and each case is different. In general, however, the value of every car crash claim is impacted by these and other factors.
Type and Severity of The Injuries You Sustained
One of the most significant factors affecting the value of your car crash claim is the severity of your injuries. Serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, or ongoing rehabilitation are going to result in higher settlements. Insurance companies also consider:
- Total medical costs incurred
- Duration of your treatment
- Potential long-term effects of your injuries
Your Total Medical Costs
The total cost of your medical expenses plays a crucial role in determining your car crash claim’s worth. This includes hospital bills, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any other healthcare costs. Be sure to keep detailed records of all medical expenses and treatments. These details will help to provide evidence of your financial losses.
Compensation for Lost Wages and Future Earnings
If your injuries caused you to miss work or affected your ability to earn income in the future, you may be eligible for additional compensation. These economic losses are also added to the total value of your claim. Carefully documented records of your current and future lost wages, along with expert testimony if necessary, can help support your claim for compensation.
It can be easy to overlook property damages if you suffered extensive physical injuries. However, the expense of repairing or replacing property damages is something a knowledgeable attorney would never leave on the table.
If your car sustained severe damage or was totaled, for example, that loss adds to the overall value of your claim. The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, as well as any personal property inside the vehicle, should be included when calculating your claim.
Pain and Suffering
Economic damages, like medical costs, lost wages and other items that you can provide tangible proof of are easy to calculate. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-economic damages, however, are subjective and therefore harder to evaluate.
Assigning a monetary value to these intangible losses is challenging and is best handled by a skilled attorney. Regardless, these losses are another crucial part of seeking full and fair compensation.
What if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Quick Settlement?
It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to offer injury victims a quick, lowball settlement. While it may be tempting, especially if you are feeling stressed over your mounting medical costs, we do not recommend accepting that offer. Whatever the insurance company offers early on will be far below the full value of your damages. We can say that with certainty because in the early days, weeks and even months after your car crash, the full extent of your damages is not yet known.
If you cannot answer yes to these questions, your claim’s value is not ready to be assessed:
- Have you finished all your medical treatments?
- Has your doctor determined you have reached your maximum medical improvement?
- Have your property damages been assessed?
- Have you received the bill for your emergency ambulance transportation (if applicable)?
- Did you get billed for all of your diagnostic tests and treatments?
- Do you know the value of the work hours you missed while recovering?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg. This is also why we strongly recommend seeking legal help after a car crash. An experienced attorney will know how to accurately determine the full value of your claim.
Evidence That Supports Your Claim
Strong evidence can have a significant impact on the outcome of your claim. Photographs of the accident scene, police reports, and any video footage can all help strengthen your case. Gathering and preserving this evidence is essential to establishing liability and proving the extent of your damages.
If there were credible witnesses who observed the crash, their statements could further support your claim. Your attorney will want to speak with them to determine whether their testimony may be useful to your case.
The Type and Limits of the Auto Insurance Policy
The type and limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy has a significant impact on your claim’s value. Some liable parties may only carry minimal coverage. If your damages exceed their policy limits, you may have a hard time recovering full compensation for your damages. In such cases, you may need to explore other avenues, such as the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy, if you have it. Due to Pennsylvania’s choice no-fault insurance laws, even your own auto insurance could determine what you are able to recover.
Can Preexisting Injuries or Medical Conditions Impact My Claim?
Insurance companies often scrutinize preexisting medical conditions when evaluating personal injury claims. They may argue that your injuries were partially or entirely related to your preexisting condition rather than the car accident. It is essential to be upfront with your attorney, as well as your treating physician, about your pre-existing conditions. Your attorney will know how to obtain only the medical records that are relevant to your claim. Additionally, he or she may determine a medical expert could help to establish the link between your injuries and the accident.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for My Claim?
Having an experienced personal injury attorney can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your claim. Attorneys understand the complexities of insurance negotiations. They also know all the contributing factors that can help to ensure you receive fair compensation. Your attorney is also there to guide you throughout the legal process and help you avoid common mistakes that could hurt your claim.
Can I Still File a Claim if I Am Partially At Fault?
If the other party’s negligence or recklessness caused 100 percent of the accident, their insurance company may be responsible for compensating you. If, however, you are assessed with some degree of fault for the accident, it can affect the final settlement amount you receive.
In Pennsylvania, being partially at fault does not prevent you from seeking compensation. Under the state’s existing comparative negligence laws, you can seek compensation for damages as long as you are not more than 50 percent liable. Be aware, however, that the final compensation you are awarded will be reduced by your percentage of liability.
Call Schmidt Kramer To Discuss Your Legal Options After a Crash
After a car crash, it is critical to know what elements impact the value of your car crash claim. The severity of your injuries, the strength of your evidence, and even the skills of your legal representation are just a few of the deciding factors.
To maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation, you should consider seeking legal assistance. The legal team at Schmidt Kramer has extensive knowledge of car crash laws in Pennsylvania. We also know what is needed to help you recover the maximum possible compensation for your damages.
If you choose our firm to represent you, there are zero out-of-pocket costs to pay. We only get paid if you do.
Experienced Lawyers. Fighting for You. (717) 727-2089