How Blind Spots Cause Auto Accidents & Who’s at Fault
Posted in: Car Accidents
If you’ve been hurt in a car or truck accident, you likely have severe injuries and may be unable to work. Recovering from car accident takes time and can be very expensive. But you may be able to recover compensation for the losses you’re experiencing.
At Kisling, Nestico and Redick, we’ve helped countless individuals successfully recover compensation for their losses. And while the value of a car accident varies depending on the severity of the accident and an individual’s experience afterward, a personal injury attorney can help determine the full and fair value you deserve and will pursue the maximum.
In motor vehicle accident cases, injured persons suffer real financial costs because of physical, mental, and monetary losses. Some of these costs will be your medical bills or property damage and are easy to quantify. They are your economic damages. However, others, such as time lost from family or loss of mobility, are more difficult to define. Those are your non-economic damages.
In an Ohio motor vehicle accident case, your attorney will work to uncover areas in which you might be able to claim additional damages for losses you may not immediately be aware of.
Pursuing a car accident claim for the compensation you need is often people’s first encounter with the legal system or large insurance company. It can feel intimidating, but you have options, and an experienced lawyer can help.
Car accident claims are primarily resolved by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. There are pros and cons with either, but it’s important to consider your long-term interests and what’s best for your situation.
If someone else is at-fault for your car accident, you’ll file a claim against their insurance company. This is a third-party claim. In the most straightforward scenario, the insurer will investigate, assess your various damages, determine if their policyholder is responsible, and make an appropriate settlement offer.
Things often get complicated when people underestimate what they’ll need to recover or questions regarding liability arise.
Most car accident claims are resolved with a negotiated insurance settlement, but sometimes insurance companies drag their feet or deny responsibility altogether. In these situations, your best option to recover compensation after a car accident may be filing a lawsuit.
A car accident lawsuit requires you to file paperwork in the appropriate civil court and prove your case for damages with supporting evidence. While actually going to trial is rare in car accident cases, a lawsuit can strengthen your argument and pressure an insurance company to negotiate.
When you have been hurt in an accident, you naturally turn to insurance. Unfortunately, many insurers drag their heels on valid claim and try to find reasons to deny claims or offer less money than you really need. In the end, you may finally receive an offer only to be deeply disappointed by the figure.
After an insurance claim is filed, the company will add up your various damages such as your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage and multiply it by a figure based on the severity of the accident and the injuries. This is how basic settlement amounts are determined.
When your claim also involved general damages like diminished quality of life and pain and suffering, the insurance adjuster may use a multiplier method based on the severity of the situation to assign a monetary value to less tangible damages. Therefore, the more serious the injury and its impact on your live, the higher the multiple will be.
The resulting number is how insurance adjusters calculate the settle offers they make, especially in the early stages. As you can see, there is a wide range in how settlements are determined, and the value placed on your injuries. It’s best to consult a lawyer about what to expect and how to accurately estimate the value of your car accident claim
One of the most common problems with initial insurance settlement offers is that they are often too low. An insurance company is a business, and it always makes decisions that are best for its bottom line. It will always seek to deny claims or pay out as little as possible on valid claims. When an insurer contacts you within the first few weeks after your accident and gives you a figure, it is safe to assume it is a low-ball offer.
A second common problem with an insurance company settlement offer is that it may come before you have all the information you need to calculate your economic injuries, like medical costs, and non-economic injuries, like pain and suffering. For instance, how far into your medical care are you? Are you waiting to figure out if you are going to need additional surgeries or other expensive medical procedures? Or are you waiting to learn more about the at-fault party, such as whether they will be found guilty of a DUI in connection with the car accident that injured you? Sometimes, when insurers can predict that a claim may become pricey, they will make a quick initial offer. The insurer is hoping you will settle and be unable to ask for more money in the future after you have more information.
It is possible to avoid common problems associated with first insurance settlement offers by working with an experienced personal injury attorney. Once you hire an attorney, they can begin an in-depth investigation into your accident. This will help you obtain evidence that supports your claim and helps you measure the value of your injuries. Your lawyer may find evidence the other party overlooked or see a document or testimony in a different light than the insurer.
Calculating your economic injuries takes time and skill. You will need to work with your physicians and possibly medical experts to calculate the cost of your current and future medical care. If you anticipate needing additional procedures, rehabilitation, or in-home care, an expert can help you predict your future medical expenses associated with your injuries. You will need this information before you can accept an offer with confidence that it will actually cover your expenses now and down the road.
In addition to your economic injuries, a settlement offer needs to take into account your non-economic injuries like pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, and loss of consortium. How much each of these elements of your claim are worth depends on a number of factors. An experienced personal injury attorney will understand how to translate these non-physical injuries into monetary figures.
The insurance company may put a great deal of pressure on you to accept its first offer. It may try and say things about how you will not get a better offer down the road or the sooner you accept, the faster you have money to pay your bills. Do not let these comments lead you into making a poor decision. You have every right to consider your options and discuss potential compensation with a personal injury lawyer.
When you accept a car accident settlement, you are likely foregoing your ability to file a lawsuit and won’t be able to ask for more compensation if you need additional medical treatment down the line or didn’t fully account for your inability to earn a living like you did before your car accident.
That’s why it’s vital to maximize the amount you receive for your car accident settlement so you have everything you need now and will need in the future.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your car accident settlement:
When you have experienced a serious and painful injury, it is easy to view any settlement offer as too low. However, there are instances in which an insurer’s offer is the best possible outcome for your claim. This is usually when the at-fault party is not wealthy and only carries a small insurance policy, like the minimum amount of legally required auto insurance.
If the insurer offers you the maximum compensation outlined in the policy and it is not possible to recover more from the at-fault party personally, then your smartest move may be to take the settlement offer. However, there is no way to be sure of this without working with a lawyer who can review your situation and give you an objective opinion on the offer and your alternative options. While an attorney can help you avoid accepting a too-low offer, they can also help you avoid rejecting a good offer.
Damages can add up quickly. So long as your personal injury car accident claim is backed by evidence and proof both of injury and of the other party’s negligence or fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our car accident lawyers in Ohio have helped numerous individuals successfully recover damages for their losses. To speak with one of our experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys and receive a free, initial consultation, call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW today.