We’ve all seen the commercials on TV that feature an accident injury attorney promising to get you the money you deserve if you’ve been injured in a car accident. But unfortunately, getting fair car accident compensation isn’t always that simple. Here are the three main factors that affect the value and payment of car accident settlements, in a nutshell:
- Who Caused the Accident
There are two basic systems that determine how fault bears on a personal injury claim. A few states have a policy called “contributory negligence,” which dictates that if you are partly at fault for an accident, then you cannot receive compensation through a personal injury claim. But the majority of states apply a policy called “comparative negligence,” which allows you to receive a reduced payment if you were partly at fault for the crash. There’s also a subset called “modified comparative negligence,” which dictates that you can be compensated proportionally to the burden of fault on your side, but only if investigators determine you’re at fault for less than half of the accident.
- The Severity of the Injuries
The severity of your injuries will have a strong bearing on the amount of compensation you can receive. Part of this is straightforward, as it can be calculated using your medical bills. (If you want to receive maximum compensation, it’s important that you visit qualified practitioners, preferably MDs; the insurance industry and the courts both demonstrate a marked bias against “alternative medicine” providers regardless of how effective they may be.) The severity of the injuries will also factor into more complicated calculations regarding lost future wages, cost of future care, and pain and suffering.
- The Insurance Company
Generally, an auto accident injury claim will be paid out by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That company works to protect its client (and its own profits), which means it can be tough for you to get the car accident compensation you actually need to fully cover expenses. The amount of a settlement is generally limited by the other driver’s insurance policy; in order to get more than that amount of money, you would need to try to go after the driver’s personal assets in court. If the person has the funds, then this might be worth it — but if they don’t, there’s unfortunately not much you can do. If you are worried about the costs of medical bills resulting from an accident in the future, you may want to consider personal injury protection on your own insurance policy; this will pay for your medical expenses regardless of fault, which can simplify the process and give you some peace of mind.
What questions do you have about car accident compensation? Join the discussion in the comments.