Settling an insurance claim after you get hurt in a wreck is a major decision. A settlement could have a lasting financial impact on your life, especially if it leaves you with a stack of unpaid medical bills.
In most cases, accepting an insurance settlement will mean that you no longer have a right to make any future claim against the policy, even if you continue to need medical support. Before you accept a settlement offer or counter a low amount with your own figure, you need to spend some time determining what the long-term financial consequences of your injury will be.
How do you estimate your future expenses and losses?
Talk to your doctors, and look at medical bills
One of the most profound financial consequences of an injury will be the medical care that you need. You may have already accrued tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you may add as much if not more medical debt in the future.
Reviewing what your current expenses have been and talking to your doctors about your likely future needs can help you create a rough estimate of the lifetime financial impact of your medical care.
Consider the effect on your income
If you need to take time off of work to recover from an injury, you lose income. The longer you will be unable to work, the bigger the financial impact of your injury. Some people, like those who work a skilled trade, may suffer lifetime reduced earning potential because of an injury from a car crash.
Estimating what your income would have been and comparing that to what you can likely earn now is also necessary to establish the lifetime losses associated with the crash.
Recognize that insurance may not be enough
Many drivers only carry the least amount of insurance they can understate law. Their coverage may fall far short of your total expenses and leave you with big bills.
When there isn’t enough insurance to protect you after a crash, negotiating a settlement may not be the only step you need to take to get compensation. You may also need to file a civil lawsuit against the other driver if negligence or misconduct played a role in the collision. Calculating the financial consequences of a car crash can help you get the support you deserve after a wreck.