Shrieking tires. Shattering glass. Crunching metal. There is little as frightening as the sounds that we hear during a car crash. The shock of the crash and pain of any resulting injuries followed shortly by concern for anyone else that may be in our vehicle can feel debilitating. It takes a great deal of time and mental stamina to get through these initial moments and start recovery.
Adding in the legalities of the accident and fault and who pays for what can seem overwhelming.
Insurance companies know this.
They know those first few days and weeks after the accident are stressful and they will push for you to accept an offer. That offer may seem reasonable and the thought of just moving on with one less thing to deal with is tempting. But is it really the best choice for your future?
How much does a car accident really cost?
Before accepting that offer, take a breath and try to think logically. How much will your crash actually cost? Was your vehicle totaled? If so, this may mean you need to find the funds to replace the car. Does the settlement offer cover this and the potential additional cost of a rental until you find the right replacement?
Next, what about injuries? Were you injured? Was anyone else? Will the settlement cover the cost of any emergency response care as well as current and future medical expenses?
Finally, consider any missed wages. If you do not have a vehicle because it was totaled, or you were injured in the crash it could mean you miss work. Does the offer cover these missed wages?
These are just a few initial questions to help you get a better idea of the true cost of the accident. Use these questions to get a rough idea and help put the offer into perspective. In most cases, the answer is no — the offer does not meet these needs. Insurance companies are notorious for making lowball settlement offers that do not cover the full cost of the crash. A personal injury attorney can take this discussion further and assess the full cost of your injuries now and in the future. This legal professional can advocate for your interests, better ensuring you get a settlement that meets your needs.
Why should I talk to a lawyer?
Insurance companies are likely to ask you to sign paperwork during initial conversations. It is generally best to avoid this. Keep in mind those who represent the insurance company are looking to protect their own interests, not yours. If your injuries worsen, the insurance company will likely use these forms to keep you from getting additional compensation.
If your accident was caused by a negligent driver, you are likely eligible for compensation to help cover these expenses through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review your claim and provide guidance.