Car accidents happen all the time. The average person will be involved in at least a couple of fender benders in their lifetime. But in some cases, car accidents are a bit more serious. And in these cases, you’ll have to decide whether you want to pursue a claim.
The Nature of Car Accidents
A car accident can be costly. Whether it’s a minor incident or a major collision with serious injuries, there are numerous expenses involved. There can be medical bills, vehicle repairs or replacement, missed work, pain and suffering, and any number of other consequences. A car accident claim can help you, the victim, receive proper compensation for the costs and suffering associated with your situation.
Generally speaking, damages are placed into one of two categories: special damages or general damages.
As RapidSolicitors.com explains, “Special Damages represents past and future losses that can be calculated reasonably accurately and do not need to be assessed, which includes the cost of vehicle repairs, general expenses, medications, insurance excess, care costs and loss of income.”
General damages, on the other hand, represent compensation that a judge assesses. This may include pain and suffering, loss of amenity, or loss of consortium. Because these damages are non-economic, there’s a lot more room for interpretation.
5 Signs You May Want to File a Claim
It’s not always easy to know when you should pursue a personal injury claim in the aftermath of a car accident, but here are a few signs:
- Significant Medical Bills
“Before making a claim, or filing a lawsuit, it is worth considering whether the injury is worth it,” Nolo advises. “If the injury is a bruised knee, or a slightly sprained ankle, it may not be worth the hassle. Of course, if you’ve got significant medical bills and your life has been adversely affected by the accident, there is no question that making a claim is the right move.”
Dealing with a car insurance company can be hassle. If you’re unable to resolve your claim with an insurance company, you’ll have to file a lawsuit. Litigation can be expensive and stressful. And if things proceed to court, you’ll have to give a deposition, which can be grueling. Having said that, be sure to weigh the pros and cons.
- Long-Term Prognosis
What’s the medical prognosis on your injury? Are you expected to make a full recovery within a couple of weeks with no residual impact on your future health? If so, you probably don’t have a very valuable case. But if the long-term prognosis indicates permanent disabilities or emotional side effects, there’s most likely grounds for a claim.
- Multiple Parties Involved
Even the simplest car accident can be complex when it comes to fault, responsibility, compensation, and liability. If multiple parties were involved in the collision, you have to be especially careful. It’s easy for two parties to team up, or for liability to be pinned on you. A lawyer will help protect your best interests.
- Corporate Defendant
Was the other individual driving a company owned vehicle – such as a semi-truck, taxicab, or limousine? Corporate defendants can be aggressive. By pursuing a claim, you can go on the offensive (rather than having to sit back and defend yourself).
- Lowball Settlement Offers
As author Theo Thimou explains, “Auto insurance adjusters use an industry database that’s stacked against the consumer and tends to value cars at 70 cents on the dollar—a whopping 30% less than what your car is really worth!”
Insurance companies also underestimate the cost of medical bills and purposefully submit lowball offers for pain and suffering. So if you feel like you’re getting the runaround from insurance companies, you probably have a decent claim to be made.
Never accept the first offer an insurance company presents. Listen to what they have to say, but hang up when you’ve heard enough. They’ll keep calling and, in most cases, continue to increase their offer. But eventually, you may need to go on the offensive.
Do Your Due Diligence
A personal injury claim isn’t something you should take lightly. Whether it was a minor accident or serious collision, there are both financial and non-economical factors to consider. Do your research and speak with a car accident lawyer for personalized advice on how to proceed.
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.