If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you could be forced to deal with painful injuries, costly medical expenses, unpaid time off work, and other losses you never anticipated or prepared for. If someone else was to blame for the crash, you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim and settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance.
It’s crucial to note that you can’t go back and ask for more money once a settlement has been accepted, even if you discover that the original amount is not enough to pay for your current and future medical costs and more. That’s why it is vital to maximize the amount you receive in a settlement to ensure that you don’t struggle to rebuild your life and move on from the crash.
What Affects Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
Some of the factors that can affect the value of a car accident settlement include:
- Type and severity of your injury — The greater your injuries and the more they impact your life, the more you could potentially recover in compensation.
- Lost wages — If you have to miss an extended period of work after an accident, you could lose out on several weeks or months of wages. Some injuries could lead to a lifetime of disability. You can claim compensation for this lost income in an insurance settlement.
- Property damage — If any of your personal property, such as your vehicle, was damaged in the crash, you could seek compensation for the cost to repair or replace it.
- The other party’s actions — To recover compensation after an accident in North Carolina, you’ll have to show that you played no role whatsoever in causing the crash. Otherwise, you may not be able to claim any compensation due to the state’s contributory negligence rule.
- Your age — Younger accident victims may be able to recover more compensation than older drivers because they have more of their life ahead of them and may have to live with their injuries for many years.
- Your overall health and any pre-existing conditions — The compensation you receive in an accident settlement is supposed to make you whole if the accident was not your fault. If you were already suffering from a debilitating injury or illness, you might not be able to recover as much compensation.
- Pain and suffering — If your injuries cause you intense pain, you may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you endure after an accident.
- Settlement or trial — You could potentially get more money if a jury awards you compensation at trial than if you accept a settlement negotiated between your lawyer and the other party’s insurer. However, you also run the risk of losing your case in court and potentially recovering nothing at all.
- Available insurance coverage — If the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy limits are less than the full extent of your losses, you may have difficulty recovering full compensation in a settlement
Ways to Maximize Your Settlement After an Accident
Here are a few tips for maximizing the value of your settlement after an accident:
- Get medical attention and follow doctor’s orders.
- Gather evidence and hang on to documents.
- Don’t talk to the insurance company.
- Stay off social media.
- Be patient and don’t take the first offer.
- Call a car accident lawyer as soon as you can.
What Should You Avoid While Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement?
The main things to avoid when negotiating a settlement are talking to insurance companies or making public statements about the case. Anything you say to an insurance company, on social media, or in public could hurt your case. Your best course of action is to keep quiet and let your lawyer talk to the insurance companies on your behalf.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Wreck?
North Carolina is one of a few states that follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine for personal injury claims. That means that you would be barred from recovering any compensation if your negligence contributed even slightly to the crash.
Get Help from Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC
Were you hurt in a car accident in Wadesboro or elsewhere in North Carolina? If so, contact Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, today for a free initial consultation.