There are about 6 million car accidents per year across America. This works out to more than 16,000 accidents every day. Around three million people are injured in these accidents, and two million suffer permanent disabilities of varying degrees. When car accidents happen, either an insurance company or the person at fault is responsible for offering a good settlement for your specific case. Payments should help negate the financial burden of property damage, medical bills, and other limited items.
But what is a good settlement offer? How can you ensure an offer is fair? Continue reading to learn the answers to these pressing questions.
A Good Settlement Amount Varies by Case
There’s no single dollar amount that makes a good settlement offer amount. The reasonable amount will vary from case to case based on several factors. If a settlement doesn’t cover the necessary financial burdens inflicted by the car crash, it isn’t a good settlement.
How To Tell if a Settlement Offer Is Good For You
While no set dollar amount makes a settlement good. Several things should be taken into consideration. Generally, a settlement should cover property damage, medical bills, and applicable lost wages. We discuss each of these determining factors more in-depth below.
Does It Cover Property Damage?
When involved in a car crash, your vehicle will become damaged. The extent of this damage is a significant consideration in your settlement offer. The settlement should cover the costs of getting the damage repaired in full. Only if you were not the one at fault.
What if you were at fault? The other person’s insurance company should still make an offer that will cover most repairs, if not all. The person at fault for the accident generally can’t expect coverage for additional costs beyond property damage and medical bills, however.
Does It Cover Immediate Medical Bills?
Your settlement offer should cover any immediate medical bills caused by the car accident. Sometimes, insurance companies pay these bills separately from your cash settlement. This is an adequate alternative so long as it covers all your medical bills.
Immediate medical bills may include an ambulance ride and treatment at a local emergency room. It could also include a follow-up appointment with your primary health provider. Sometimes, the follow-up may need to be with a different doctor specializing in insurance claims.
Does It Cover Ongoing Medical Bills?
Not every person will experience ongoing medical bills after a car accident. Unfortunately, some will and these costs can quickly add up. For this reason, settlement offers should cover at least some of the ongoing medical bills occurring after a car accident.
It’s essential you can prove ongoing medical visits are imperative and a direct cause of the car accident. Common examples include physical therapy, surgery costs, and therapy for PTSD following the accident.
Does It Cover Applicable Lost Wages?
Not all lost wages are applicable. There is a high burden for evidence to prove if you want them covered in your settlement amount. Applicable lost wages are those missed as a direct result of the car accident.
They do not generally cover lost wages for your court dates. If you spent a week in the hospital after the accident, those days might be covered. Also, you have the potential of having frequent physical therapy appointments included. If the appointments interrupt your work schedule.
How To Ensure You Get a Good Settlement
Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible after an accident. As well as, when you open a lawsuit against the opposite driver. Whoever the opposing party is, their goal is to get away with paying you as little as possible.
How can you ensure you get a reasonable settlement? Unfortunately, settlements are not guaranteed. But, here are a few ways you can improve your chances of a good settlement amount. We discuss these in more detail below.
You’ll want to keep good records of everything about the car crash. Be sure to take pictures at the car accident scene and get the other driver’s contact information. Pictures can help determine fault if it comes into question.
Keep your treatment and release records from the hospital, if applicable. And, keep documents for every medical appointment, including those for mental health. Also, keep all written communication about the accident.
Hire an Attorney
The most important thing for getting a good settlement is to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you negotiate a reasonable settlement based on the unique aspects of your case. They’re professionals who understand all the intricacies involved.
An attorney can help place pressure on the insurance adjuster to justify their first offer. This means the adjuster will have to prove their offer is adequate. If they can’t (or if your lawyer can prove it isn’t sufficient), the court will require a higher amount.
A lawyer can also handle the necessary paperwork. For example, they can ensure you receive (and approved) the final offer in writing. This is important in the event the insurance agent or other party tries to retract their offer later.
More Questions About Good Settlement Offers in Car Crashes?
There is no single dollar amount that determines a fair settlement offer. Instead, a settlement needs to be determined on an individual case basis. A good settlement should cover property damage, medical bills, and applicable lost wages.
Do you have more questions about good settlement offers in car crashes? Or would you like to speak to an attorney about a car accident you were involved in?
Contact us today. One of our associates would be happy to answer any questions you still have. They can also set you up for a consultation with one of our lawyers if desired.