A car accident can happen in moments, but the effects can last a lifetime. You may be unable to work and lose income. You may need medical treatment for months or years after your crash. Who pays for those losses? How can you be made financially whole again?
How you get compensated depends on the facts of your case, the extent of your damages, and the available insurance. Here's an overview of the process.
Getting compensation from your own insurance company
Regardless of who caused the accident, you can file a claim for no-fault benefits with your own insurance company. Depending on what your policy covers and how the injury has affected your life, this may include:
- Income replacement (if you can't work)
- Medical and rehabilitation benefits
- Caregiver benefits
- Attendant care benefits
- Housekeeping and home maintenance benefits
- Lost educational expenses
- Visitor expenses
- Funeral and death expenses
In principle, your insurance company should promptly pay the benefits you're entitled to receive, up to the applicable policy limit. In practice, they're in business to make money, and that means they have a financial incentive to minimize your claim. They may dispute whether your injuries were truly related to the accident (which is one of the reasons you need to see a doctor right away to create a record of your injuries) or question whether particular treatments or services are truly necessary. Documentation and evidence are critical to moving these claims forward.
Filing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
If another driver caused your accident, you could file a claim with their insurance company. This may be the only way to recover compensation that isn't covered by your first-party benefits.
However, the at-fault driver's insurance company has even fewer incentives to help you than your own insurance company does. They may dispute fault for the accident; after all, if their insured driver wasn't to blame, they don't have to pay. They may also dispute the extent of your injuries or whether they were truly sustained in the crash.
Again, the key to overcome the insurance company's reluctance to pay is evidence and strong representation. When we can prove that their insured driver caused your injuries, we're usually able to negotiate a fair settlement. If that doesn't happen, we're prepared to take the insurance companies to court.
Talk to a car accident lawyer to understand your options
Because of the number of potential pitfalls when getting compensation for a car accident, it's always best to speak with an experienced lawyer about your legal rights and options. We offer a free initial consultation in which we'll listen to your story and help you understand your path forward. There's no obligation to hire us, just clear answers about your legal rights.
The insurance companies handle claims like yours every day, and they have tricks and practices they use to protect their bottom line. Put experience on your side to level the playing field. Contact us today for your free consultation.