After a car accident, you likely have many questions about the settlement process. Negotiations can go on for a long time. There's a good reason for that: we have to take many factors into account, and some of those factors aren't immediately obvious after the crash. Here's what you need to know about how car accident settlements are determined.
How extensive and costly are your injuries?
If your case is going to settle, that settlement should pay for all of the medical treatment and other services you need as a result of the injuries you sustained. That includes the cost of hospitalization, surgery, medication and any other treatment. It also includes physical therapy, home care and any modifications for your home or vehicle needed to accommodate a disability.
When we negotiate a settlement, we're looking for compensation for the full cost of your medical expenses, including future surgery and other procedures. We may retain medical experts to produce a "forecast" of future treatment and take that information into account.
How will your injuries affect your income?
If you're unable to work for some time due to the accident, you should get compensation for your lost earnings. Even if you aren't totally disabled, if the injury forces you to reduce your hours or take on a "light duty" role with less pay, those losses also need to be covered. Depending on the extent of your injury and the nature of your job, those losses could be quite substantial, especially if you are permanently disabled.
We often hire experts such as economists to assess the full long-term impact of an injury on your earning potential; for instance, if it causes you to miss out on an opportunity for advancement. We may even be able to pursue compensation for vocational retraining and rehabilitation if you need to change careers due to your injuries.
How will your injuries affect your life?
A car accident can change more than just your ability to earn. You may not be able to complete certain household tasks or enjoy activities that you used to love due to your injuries. You may have endured substantial pain and suffering. Some of those losses are more difficult to quantify than lost wages and medical expenses. They are no less real and your settlement should take them into account.
When we negotiate a settlement, we listen to your story. We investigate to establish all of the losses you've sustained as a result of the crash. We review the applicable insurance policies and the laws and regulations that apply to your case. With all of that information, we build a case for the full amount of compensation you deserve. This will be crucial to providing the best possible quality of life for you going forward.
This can be a long and involved process, but we're with you every step of the way. Your path to the resolution you need starts with a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.