Many factors go into calculating motor vehicle accident compensation. The circumstances surrounding each car accident are different, so offering a specific compensation number can be difficult. Because of this, most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. During the consultation, the attorney can learn more about your accident; and they’ll ask questions that will help them predict a potential range of how much compensation you might receive with a lawsuit.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation You Can Seek
How you calculate the compensation you might receive with a motor vehicle accident lawsuit begins with reviewing your expenses related to these broad categories:
- Medical bills, including doctor visits, tests, labs, treatment, and specialists
- Prescription drugs to treat your injuries
- In-home services
- Damage to your vehicle and other property
- Emergency transportation, if required
- Permanent disability, if applicable
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Lost wages from missed work
- Wrongful death (of a loved one)
- Pain and suffering based on the extent of your injuries
To increase the chances of getting your medical bills covered and receiving pain and suffering compensation, you must see a doctor immediately after a car accident. Not only is your health of upmost importance; the longer you wait to see a medical professional, the easier it will be for the at-fault party to argue that your injuries were not related to the accident.
Documenting Your Damages and Expenses
In addition to seeking immediate medical care, it’s also extremely important that you document the expenses and the damages to both your vehicle and your person. If you’re physically able to do so, take photos at the accident scene of the vehicles involved, tire marks on the road, broken glass in the street, etc. The more pictures you take, the easier it is to present your case to a jury, should it proceed to trial.
As soon as you are able to do so, take photos of your injuries. You can take them shortly after the accident, but if bruises appear the next day, you might consider taking a second set of photos that show the late-onset injuries as well.
As you visit the doctor and receive bills for your care, file those bills away somewhere safe where you’ll be able to easily share them with your attorney. Additionally, request formal patient record information from your doctors that shows your diagnosis; this will help in determining your total motor vehicle accident compensation. You should carefully follow your doctor’s instructions regarding treatment, failing to do so may result in lesser compensation.
You also need to document the days and times that you miss work due to your injuries or your medical appointments. That way, you can easily calculate your lost wages for missing work.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation
Non-economic, pain and suffering compensation is difficult to calculate in car accidents. The best way to show the courts that you deserve pain and suffering is through documentation from your doctor that details your injuries and their severity.
Many factors contribute to how the courts will determine the total pain and suffering amount to award. Because calculating pain and suffering is not an exact formula, it’s best to hire an expert. Personal injury attorneys work with these types of calculations regularly, so they know what’s fair based on your circumstances.
Some websites offer compensation calculators for personal injury claims. But be careful using such calculators, as they offer pre-programmed numbers using an algorithm instead of expert insight from an attorney who knows your case. Compensation for auto accidents can range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars, so it’s best to hire an expert.
Should I Take the Settlement the Insurance Company Offers?
In most circumstances, the answer is no. Initial offers from insurance companies are often half as much as you could get if you pursued a lawsuit. Initial settlement offers generally are designed to entice accident victims into signing away their rights to pursue a lawsuit against the insurance company.
Never accept a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries. Some injuries take several months to heal, and some may never fully heal at all. Accepting a settlement before the end of your healing process could mean you’re left with more medical bills than you were expecting. Every person heals differently, and you might need more medical attention than you’re currently aware of.
Seek Damages for Your Auto Accident
You should know that most personal injury attorneys structure their fees based on getting you results. So, if you don’t win at trial or get a settlement, you don’t have to pay the attorney, which means there is often no risk in hiring an attorney.
Stewart & Stewart Attorneys work with motor vehicle accident victims on a contingent fee basis—we don’t get paid unless we win or settle your case. To learn more about how we work with you to ensure fair compensation after a car accident, contact us today; it’s time to Get Serious. Get Stewart. and Get Started.