If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, filing an auto accident injury claim may be the only way you have of covering the medical costs and lost wages associated with an injury. But what exactly can car accident compensation add up to? The dollar amount put on any accident will vary, but there are several factors that remain consistent in determining that value. Here are five of the most important elements that go into deciding car accident settlements:
- The Police Report
Calling the police after a car accident is always a good idea, no matter how minor it is. But this step becomes increasingly important if you’re filing a personal injury claim. If you don’t call the police, it can appear that you felt you’d be found at fault. Both sides of the case will want to see the report to learn the details of the accident and get the officer’s opinion of whether one driver caused the accident.
- Account Consistency
If you’re injured in an accident, it’s likely you’ll be relaying your experience to several people over time: police officers, medical staff, personal injury lawyers and so forth. Your claim is likely to have a higher monetary value if your story is consistent, though all stories—even true ones—change slightly each time you recount them.
- Severity of Injuries
Certain kinds of injuries are valued more highly than others. Broken bones, head injuries, joint trauma and nerve damage, for example are considered “hard injuries.” Anything that requires long-term treatment by an M.D. is likely to be viewed as more serious than injuries treated by other practitioners. Emotional stress associated with injuries can be taken into account as well.
- Medical Proof of Injuries
If you’re filing an auto accident injury claim, it’s important to have proof of the injury. If you say you’re experiencing excruciating back pain, but your doctors can’t find any evidence of damage, it may be difficult to get a significant settlement. If there isn’t proof, the other side may also look into whether your lifestyle is consistent with your claim; if you’re still lifting heavy objects and running marathons, you’ll have a tough time convincing anyone you’ve been seriously hurt. You should keep all medical records as proof of treatment.
- Evidence of Negligence
The final dollar amount settled upon relies heavily on whether you can prove the other driver was negligent. Unsafe driving, distracted driving or driving under the influence are all clear examples of negligence. Sometimes the accident location will help police and other investigators determine fault; a rear-ending, for example, is more likely to be seen as solely one party’s fault, in contrast to a collision in an intersection. If you shared fault for the accident, your settlement will likely be smaller.
Have you ever worked with auto accident injury attorneys or filed an auto accident injury claim? Share your experience in the comments. Read more like this.