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There are generally going to be two things that you can reimburse or recover for in a car accident. There’s going to be property damage and bodily injury damage.
For property damage, the damages awarded depend on the specifics of your accident and the damage it did to the relevant property (usually your car). The insurance company will evaluate the damage to the car and decide between either giving you the money necessary to repair the car, or the value of the car if repairs are deemed too expensive. There also might be some compensation or reimbursement for any rental cars or related expenses that you incurred, as well as any storage fees. Finally, the insurance company may offer compensation for any other pieces of your property that were damaged during the accident (such as your cell phone or a child’s car seat).
For bodily injury claims, the insurance company is supposed to cover any sort of injuries and damages done to your body during the accident. This can include covering your out-of-pocket medical expenses for any medical or treatment related service. This may also include medical devices (such as braces or prosthetics) and home care. It may also include expenses related to your injuries, such as travel to see specialists, or paying someone to do basic tasks you are unable to do yourself while injured (such as, for instance, mowing your lawn).
Bodily injury claims may also consider factors like lost wages and the cost of future care, as well as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
There is a wide range of expenses that could potentially be covered or reimbursed through bodily injury settlements, though which ones actually get included in your final settlement depends on the insurance company/policy, your accident, and the way the negotiations and/or litigation pan out.
Not always. There are many factors that go into which types of damages get recovery and which don’t in any given case.
One common factor is the issue of limits of coverage. For instance, let’s say the party that hit you has insurance coverage that only covers $5,000 for property damage, but the accident caused $10,000 in property damage. This means that in order to get the other $5,000 covered, you would have to sue that person personally, which may or may not make sense. If the person does not have a sizable amount of money, it will be very difficult to actually win that much money from them legally. In addition, unless you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may not cover that $5,000 either.
Bodily injury damages can also be largely uncovered, especially if you have severe injuries. For example, let’s say you encounter a similar issue as in the example above, and the person who hit you only has $5,000 in bodily injury coverage. If you have severe injuries, $5,000 will get spent extremely quickly, especially if you are underinsured or have a very high deductible. This means that you may not be compensated or covered for damages beyond the other party’s insurance limit.
Damages can also be denied if you failed to document certain types of recovery. For instance, if you did not adequately document your injuries soon enough after the accident, or did not adequately document your diagnosis, prognosis, prescribed treatment, and compliance with that treatment, the insurance company may argue about the validity of the claim and deny it.
Generally speaking, you are likely to get a large settlement if you were severely injured. However, the amount of money you actually receive will depend on numerous other factors. One of the most important factors, as mentioned previously, are the insurance limit of the third party (the person responsible for the accident). If these limits are low compared to your injuries, you will have to consider suing the parties personally to recover the difference. Then you have to determine whether or not you have the assets to pay for getting that judgment against them, including attorney fees and the costs of going to court and trial.
So, generally, if you have more severe injuries, the claim should be worth more. However, there can be limits to this standard, and it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to start helping you argue for the largest, most comprehensive settlement possible in your case.
Personal injury cases are usually divided into two categories: pre-litigation and litigation.
All proceedings and negotiations before you file a lawsuit are considered pre-litigation. Most personal injury cases settle during this period. However, it is best to work up your claim as if you planned on seeing it through to litigation. This will help you negotiate with the insurance company from the strongest position possible.
If both parties can’t or won’t settle during pre-litigation (including mediation) then the case will enter litigation. This means that it will be argued and tried by a judge or a jury and a verdict will be decided.
It should be noted that a case that has entered litigation can revert to pre-litigation at any time. Once the case has been filed in court, the parties can choose to settle whenever they can both agree to same, all the way up until the trial’s conclusion.
In some cases, yes. If someone has had numerous claims or accidents in the past, that fact may be used to deny a claim. However, if the previous accidents were legitimate, and can be proven not to have been fraudulent, it should not be an issue.
Still, your driving record can be used to assess fault in some instances. If you have a less-than-stellar driving record and you are issuing a personal injury claim, it is imperative to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Yes, insurance companies are allowed to hire private investigators to investigate you. They are looking to see if you are truly injured or if you are faking your injuries—that is, they are looking to see if you are committing insurance fraud. It is important that you are honest with your medical providers and your attorney as to what your injuries truly are and how they are affecting your life. This is also true for social media. You must assume that insurance adjusters and companies are looking into your social media to see how you are living your life post-accident and in some cases, pre-accident.
Insurance companies do sometimes deny claims outright. One of the biggest reasons they give for doing this is “minor impact”. As addressed previously in this book, “minor impact” is the theory that if a small enough amount of damage was done to the vehicle that was hit, the force of the impact of the accident could not have been very substantial, and therefore it could not have caused very substantial injuries.
Another reason they often cite is “gaps in care”. If a certain amount of time passes after the accident with no documented treatment, the insurance company can allege that the injury wasn’t real, wasn’t that severe, or was caused by something else after the accident. They can also make these allegations if you miss or fail to document medical appointments or any other follow-through on prescribed treatment.
For more information on Types of Damages In An Auto Accident Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (661) 616-1177 today.