No two car accidents are the same. And many accident victims experience quite a bit of turmoil when trying to determine whether the settlement offer they receive from an insurance company is fair. But one sure way to evaluate a car accident settlement offer is to evaluate which damages are covered by the settlement.
What are Damages
Damages in a car accident settlement is money paid to victims of the accident as compensation for losses. Most people know that there will be medical bills and other health considerations following a car accident. A fair settlement offer will cover the cost of these and other damages suffered by the accident victim.
The three types of medical damages to consider when determining the value of the settlement include:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
- Compensation for emotional distress
- Payment for pain and suffering
The biggest worry for many car accident victims is the medical bills they accumulate. A settlement offer that does not cover these expenses is not worth considering. The actions taken by an accident victim will affect the willingness of insurance companies to reimburse accident victims for medical bills.
Individuals involved in an accident should seek immediate medical attention. It is sometimes difficult to convince an insurance company to pay for medical problems an accident victim develops weeks or months after an accident. It may become impossible to do so if there is no history of diagnosis or treatment.
Accident victims should also not take a settlement before their treatment is complete. There is no requirement for additional money from the insurance company if the injured person continues to accumulate medical bills after accepting a settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering possess an individual designation when negotiating an accident settlement. This damage designation covers both the severity and duration of the physical pain an accident victim experiences following an accident.
A portion of the medical bills accident victims accumulate may go to treating emotional distress. These expenses include money paid for counseling, therapy, and prescriptions. A fair settlement offer will reimburse accident victims for these expenses.
Two types of occupational damages are commonly present in personal injury claims. The first is lost wages. A fair insurance settlement should compensate an accident victim for time away from work while recovering from injuries.
Lost earning capacity also falls under occupational damages in the accident claim process. Individuals who suffer injuries that permanently affect their ability to perform at the job they held before an accident should receive compensation for this loss. Many people believe that a catastrophic injury must happen to receive compensation for lost earning capacity. However, the specific injuries that trigger this payment are dependent on the job the accident victim performs.
There will always be some damage done to a vehicle as a result of a car accident. This fact is relevant even if everyone in both accident vehicles walks away unharmed. Reimbursement for the cost of repairs is due when a car takes on damage in an accident. The insurance company will likely cut a check for the vehicle’s value when the cost of repairs totals more than the current value. Insurance companies should also pay accident victims for any property lost from inside the car at the time of the accident.
Accident victims should keep in mind that insurance companies do not work for them. It is common for these companies to try and pay as little as possible on a claim. Accident victims with an understanding of what reimbursement they should receive as part of a settlement will have a better chance of receiving fair compensation for their accident.