The purpose of a car insurance settlement is not only to compensate the victim, but also to release the insurance company and at-fault driver from any future liability for the accident. Once a settlement is signed by the victim, he or she cannot recover any more compensation from the insurance company.
Victims need to be sure they will not need more compensation – unless a third party was involved in the crash, there are no other sources of compensation.
Victims should strongly consider working with a licensed attorney to assess the settlement offer and determine if it may be adequate. Settlement offers made to victims are often far below the full value of a claim, and insurers are unlikely to offer more compensation unless an attorney is involved.
Below, we discuss some of the factors that need to be assessed when a settlement offer is made.
Some crash victims do not need ongoing treatment. Their injuries may heal to a point where ongoing treatment is not necessary. That is not to say these victims are fully healthy. They may have a permanent injury, but treatment may be unlikely to change much, and doctors may say ongoing treatment is unnecessary.
However, there are many other cases where victims may need treatment after a settlement has been agreed to. Some people may need treatment for a matter of weeks while others may need treatment much longer. As the injury you suffered was not your fault, you should not have to pay for future treatment out of your own pocket.
If you try to deal with the insurance company on your own, they may assign an arbitrary number to your future medical treatment. They may think you will be satisfied because you are getting some money, even if it may not be that much.
There is really no way to know for sure if a settlement offer provides the compensation you need without talking to an attorney. Our experienced Maryland car accident lawyers have helped many victims determine the cost of future medical care. We can also bring in medical experts to help us.
You should be able to include many of the expenses created by your injuries in your claim, including medical bills, lost wages and property damage. Insurers may try to exclude certain medical expenses, claiming they are for unnecessary treatment. They may also challenge the amount of compensation you are claiming if you do not have enough documentation of your damages.
If this happens, you could greatly benefit from working with a licensed attorney, as he or she should know how to document the expenses you are claiming.
Non-economic damages can be considerable, particularly when the injury is permanent. The pain and suffering that accompanies such an injury can dramatically affect your quality of life. For example, you may suffer from depression or other mental health issues.
While compensation cannot erase what happened, it may allow you to get the treatment you need to help manage these issues. For example, you may be able to claim compensation for the cost of mental health counseling or medication.
Insurance companies often undervalue these types of damages, as they are harder to quantify. That is why you need an experienced attorney who has done this before. We are ready to work with you to determine the damages you suffered and what they may be worth.
You might not be able to go back to the same job or work as much as you did before the injury. That is why the law allows victims to seek compensation for lost earning capacity. You should not face a constant financial struggle because of an injury that was not your fault.
Do you know how to determine the value of lost earning capacity?
There are several factors to consider, such as your education and earnings history, among many others. This is a complex calculation, and you need to make sure it is done right so you can support yourself and your family. You should not feel pressured to work more than you are able because you need the money.
In a fault state like Maryland, victims are responsible for their medical costs until they receive a settlement. Victims often use their health insurance to cover these costs.
However, if you receive a settlement, health insurers can claim a portion of your settlement to cover their expenses. This is called subrogation.
An attorney may be able to negotiate this to help you keep more of your settlement. If you try to handle this alone, you may end up paying out more than you otherwise would have.
The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl has been assisting crash victims for decades and has secured compensation for numerous victims. Our firm works on contingency, which means no upfront fees or legal obligations. We do not get paid unless our clients receive compensation.
If you have questions after a crash or have already filed a claim and are struggling to recover compensation from the insurance company, give us a call.
Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call 410-907-3957.