Millions of people are hurt in car accidents each year. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of these victims get the compensation they need and deserve. If you want to be the exception to this rule, you have to step up and take action.
How is Compensation Determined?
If your goal is to maximize your compensation after a car accident, it’s prudent to know how compensation is determined in the first place. And while every state and situation is unique, there are some basic rules of thumb that can be used to calculate the cost.
The most common method is known as the “multiplier method.” It basically adds up all of the costs and bills, as well as pain and suffering, and then uses a multiplier from 1.5 to 5 to determine the value. (The more serious and long-lasting the injuries, the higher the multiplier.)
You can use this calculator to get a rough estimate. For example, let’s say you have $12,000 in medical expenses, $5,000 in property damage, $4,500 in lost earnings from missed time at work (even if it’s PTO), $1,500 in future lost income, and $5,000 for future medical expenses. This amounts to $28,000 in economic damages. But with a multiplier of 3, there are also non-economic damages (pain and suffering) of $52,000. This results in a total settlement estimate of $80,000.
The above numbers are just an illustration. There are a lot of other factors that could come into play – and that figure would likely be used as just a starting point for negotiations. However, it does give you some idea of how compensation is determined.
6 Tips for Increasing Your Compensation
When we talk about increasing your compensation, we’re really just talking about getting the money you deserve. Because if you aren’t proactive, the insurance companies will claw and fight for every dollar and leave you with the bare minimum. You have to fight back and get what’s rightfully yours.
Here are some tips:
1. Get Immediate Medical Attention
Getting immediate medical attention not only helps you stabilize your injuries and begin the path to recovery, but it also helps your claim. The sooner you receive medical attention, the sooner you create a paper trail of your injuries (and the less likely it is that the insurance company tries to downplay your injuries).
2. Watch What You Say
Be very mindful of what you say at the scene of the accident. You can definitely engage in small talk and comfort any other injured victims from other vehicles, but avoid saying things that could come back to haunt you later. For example, don’t say, “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see you turning.” Admitting fault, no matter how casual, can seriously undermine your case. Even if you think you made a mistake, it’s better to let it all play out.
3. Hire a Lawyer
Hire an attorney as soon as possible. Find a car accident lawyer who is experienced and knows how to look at your accident from all different angles and put pressure on the insurance company to reach a favorable settlement. You want someone like this on your side.
4. Follow Your Treatment Plan
Your doctor will give you a treatment plan to help you recover. This may consist of a combination of medication, rest, therapy, and rehabilitation. Make sure you follow their plan every single step of the way. Never, under any circumstances, deviate from the plan without first getting the treatment plan updated in writing. This is very important.
Insurance companies will often use an individual’s lack of adherence to their doctor’s prescribed treatment plan as justification for lower compensation. (They’ll say something like, “If she would have followed her doctor’s orders she would’ve already recovered by now and wouldn’t have missed an extra two weeks of work.”) Don’t give them this option!
5. Gather Evidence
Every bit of evidence helps when going to war with the insurance companies. Begin gathering relevant information as soon as possible. Your attorney will do most of this on your behalf, but be as cooperative as you can. For example, you can take pictures and video at the scene of the accident. You might even want to jot down your recollection of what happened as soon as possible (to avoid confabulation or forgetfulness).
6. Stay Off Social Media
This is a great time to get off social media. Believe it or not, insurance companies will check your profiles to look for incriminating posts or pictures. Even something as innocuous as a picture of you at the beach with your family could be used against you. (“See! He’s not really hurt…he’s on vacation with his family relaxing in the sand!”)
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Don’t let the greedy insurance companies squeeze every last dime out of you so that they can pad their balance sheets. Instead, fight back and get what’s rightfully yours so that you can make a full recovery. Use this article as a starting point for getting back to normal!