05 Mar How much is my personal injury claim worth?
You’ve been injured in an accident and the insurance company keeps calling wanting to settle. Unless you are a personal injury lawyer, you probably have no idea whether the amount being offered is actually a fair resolution. Here are three factors to consider before accepting a settlement:
- What amount has been paid toward your medical care? Every state has its own method for calculating medical expenses, but in North Carolina an injured party can claim all amounts paid for accident-related care, even if a health insurance company paid most of the bills. Do not let an insurance adjuster confuse you into thinking you are only entitled to be reimbursed your deductible or out-of-pocket expenses.
- What amount of wages or earnings have you lost from the accident? Time away from work has a cost. Even if you used vacation days and did not technically lose any pay, you do not have to sacrifice your vacation time because of an accident. Using your recent pay stubs, calculate your hourly rate and multiple that rate by the number of hours you missed work because of the accident. Having a letter from your employer stating your rate of pay and confirming the days you missed work will help in negotiating lost wages.
- Are any future expenses likely? Will you need more medical care down the road? Is additional time away from work going to be necessary after surgery or other accident-related care? Don’t let the insurance adjuster lead you to believe you can’t collect for future expenses. Any future expenses that are likely related to the accident should be demanded from the insurance company.
Before accepting any settlement, do your best to fairly calculate the above factors. Never accept a settlement that is less than your total medical bills plus lost wages! In fact, you should also receive money for pain and suffering. Obtaining a settlement that covers all of these damages can be very difficult without a lawyer on your side who knows the law and is willing to take the insurance company to court if necessary.
If you need help with a personal injury claim, reach out to one of our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation: