Recent statistics show that there are 6 million car accidents in the U.S. each year. An average of 27% of those crashes result in non-fatal injuries. 72% of them involve property damage. In the wake of a car accident, you’ll need funds to recover for your injuries, fix your car, and repair property damage. With all those bills piling up, you’re probably wondering “How much is my car accident claim worth?” But even if you’re filing a claim with your insurance company, it’s not always easy to be fully compensated.
Consulting with the lawyers at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC is a good idea if you’ve been in an accident. Not only can they help determine how much your car accident claim is worth, but they will also fight to help you get the amount you deserve.
Compensation to “Make Whole”
Car accidents can be costly. Repair bills for your car and any other property that was damaged will add up quickly. If you’ve been injured, there may be medical bills for the emergency care you received immediately following the crash, follow-up visits to the doctor, and possible future treatment.
The average person will have a hard time coming up with the money to pay for everything after an accident. Instead, they rely on their insurance policy to cover most of the costs. And if someone else caused the accident through negligence, their insurance company is responsible for paying your damages. The negligent party will be personally liable for any expenses that their insurance carrier won’t cover.
Insurance companies will often argue over the amount that a car accident claim is worth, which is why it helps to get a professional involved. It is a personal injury attorney’s goal to ensure an accident victim is “made whole.” The term “make whole” means to restore someone or something to its original condition, or otherwise compensate them for their losses.
Making things right for the victim of a car accident will involve fixing or replacing their car and property, and doing whatever is necessary to heal their wounds. “How much is my car accident claim worth” has a different answer for every accident, but an attorney can help you determine a fair dollar amount.
Calculating Your Economic Losses After a Car Crash
If you have been injured in a car crash, you might be owed some or all of the following damages:
- Property Damage. This includes fixing your car or replacing it if it is beyond repair. If other personal property or items were destroyed in the accident there may be grounds to add them to the claim.
- Current and Future Medical Expenses. You should be able to collect damages for any expenses involved in treating crash-related injuries. This would cover emergency treatment at the crash site as well as hospital bills, medicine, doctor’s fees, and physical therapy or rehabilitation. In short, it can encompass any cost in making you well again, and if you sustained permanent injuries, restoring your quality of life with ongoing medical care.
- Household Services. This could include tasks that you are not able to do while you recover. It could mean anything from cleaning and lawn maintenance to childcare.
- Lost Wages. If you can’t work after an accident, your claim might include your salary and other benefits you would have normally received during the time you are recovering.
- Loss of Earning Capacity. Like lost wages, this covers what normally would have been earned by the injured party if the accident hadn’t happened. If you are permanently disabled, it could take into account cost-of-living increases and advances that would have occurred if you were well.
Determining some of these expenses is straightforward. For example, if a body shop charges $1000 for repairs, and there were no injuries or other damage, that is the amount the claim is worth. Other costs are not so obvious. Loss of earning capacity, for instance, will need to be proven. An attorney will need to make a case for what the claim is worth.
Damages for Pain and Suffering
Injuries from a car accident aren’t always as obvious or visible as a broken arm or a cut. There may be “invisible” harm such as sciatica or tinnitus, or problems that show up later like a stroke that results from a head injury. Issues that arise may not be physical at all. Accident victims may suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or depression from the accident or the medical conditions it caused.
How much your car accident claim is worth might include something for the pain and suffering you’ve felt. These issues may not have a price-tag attached like economic damages do, but you should still receive compensation for them. When you’re seeking non-economic damages, your compensation will be determined based on how severe your accident was and how much it impacted your life.
Making a claim for these types of injuries requires the victim to first prove that the accident caused the problem. Then they must demonstrate how seriously their life was affected and decide on a dollar amount that those changes are worth.
Proving and quantifying pain and suffering damages can be extremely difficult. Experienced lawyers like Hipskind & McAninch will be able to help sort out what such claims are worth and be with you through the process of filing a claim and collecting what you are due.
The Importance of Legal Help for a Car Accident Claim
Because car accident lawyers have been through the process many times before, they will be able to account for all of your expenses—even ones you didn’t think of. They won’t only look at the bills you have received, but at what you are most likely going to have to pay for in the future.
Most importantly, a seasoned personal injury attorney like those at Hipskind and McAninch know what to include and how to present your claim for your best chance at a successful outcome. They will be able to advise you on when to settle your claim and when it makes sense to move forward with a lawsuit.
Dealing with an insurance company can be intimidating. Having an attorney act on your behalf can take the stress out of the already stressful situation of recuperating after an accident. They may not have an immediate answer to “what is my car accident claim worth?” but they have the right tools and resources to find the full value of your claim.