If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident, it can seem daunting to face the uncertainty involved in a legal dispute. However, taking legal action can often help you recover financially from an unexpected and potentially life-altering crash. If you are trying to decide if a lawsuit is worth the time and stress, it’s helpful to understand the many reasons you may want to pursue a wrongful injury settlement, including:
- Damages to property
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Medications and medical products used to treat an injury
- Lost income due to missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death(s)
Note that if you were involved in a car crash and did not sustain physical injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation for the emotional distress and other non-injury consequences of driver negligence.
Economic Versus Non-Economic Damages
While the costs of medical bills and property damage are relatively easy to determine, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress can be somewhat complicated to establish. These can vary by:
- Severity of the related injuries
- Extent of medical treatment
- How quickly you will recover
- Any permanent effects from the accident
- Any influence the incident has on your daily life
A variety of other factors can be influential as well, depending on the specific details of a case. For instance, if an injury is severe enough, it may prevent you from returning to your current occupation, resulting in a cut in pay, failure to find employment in a new field, or dissatisfaction in a new role. These may all be taken into consideration when estimating a dollar amount for a personal injury settlement.
Are You at Fault?
While regulations vary by state, a settlement amount can be affected by your responsibility in the accident. Depending on how much of the accident was your fault, you may be entitled to a percentage of your unadjusted settlement, or you may lose your right to compensation entirely. Therefore, it is a best practice to avoid admitting fault for any reason following a car accident. In some cases, simply apologizing can imply that an individual has confirmed fault.
How to Help Your Claim
Following a car accident, you may be wondering how you can get the most out of your claim. To keep preventable mistakes from influencing the amount that you receive, you may consider taking the following steps:
- Take photos of the accident, including damage to your property and your physical injuries
- Maintain any evidence that may be used to evaluate the scene by law enforcement officers, including your vehicle and its parts
- Refrain from admitting fault at any point following an accident
- Document all expenses related to the incident, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and towing expenses
- Keep track of time missed from work that has led to lost wages
- Seek legal counsel as quickly as possible
As you evaluate your claim, keep in mind that many factors can contribute to the total amount of a personal injury or driver negligence claim. While the thought of going up against large insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been involved in a legal dispute, with the right representation and the right resources, you may be able to recover all or most of your accrued medical expenses and more.
If you have recently been involved in a car crash and would like to know more about what you can do to protect your claim and get the most out of your settlement, contact us at 703-691-8333. One of our personal injury attorneys will be happy to discuss the specific details of your situation.