INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT? WHAT TO DO – AND NOT TO DO – RIGHT AWAY
What’s your well-being “worth”? Think about it. You’ve been in an automobile accident and you’re trying to figure out how much your personal injury case is worth. But, unlike your vehicle, which has an agreed-upon price that they can look up in the “Kelly Blue Book”, your body and brain do not have an “agreed-upon value”. The injuries that you sustained in that car accident can be very unique – there is no agreed-upon value. Of course the insurance company is going to try to get out of paying you for your lost wages, for the costs of physical or mental therapy you need now – or might need in the future, not to mention all your medical expenses.
Personal injury claims take much longer than property damage claims. And, even if you decide to settle your property damage claim, make sure you don’t settle your personal injury claim at the same time. The two things should be kept separate.
Most insurance companies and injury attorneys use formulas to calculate a reasonable amount of money you might accept to give up your claim in exchange for a settlement. That formula gives a starting point for settlement talks.
When you are treated by a medical professional, there is an exact price tag associated with each incident, and, since there’s a medical record of the charges, there is essentially no dispute as to how much is owed to you. Where things get trickier is estimating the cost of the future medical and rehabilitation care you might need for years to come. As personal injury attorneys in Indiana, for example, we at Ramey & Hailey Law will look at several factors, including:
- The number of days you had to (or are still having to) miss work because of the accident
- Psychological damage you suffered (perhaps because of post-traumatic stress syndrome, or because your appearance was marred, or your relations with a spouse were affected)
- How the injury occurred
- Whether you might be considered to share at least some responsibility for what happened to you
It’s natural for victims of an accident to want to settle as soon as possible and get help paying their bills and getting their lives back on track. But the truth is, rushing to settle can be hazardous to your financial health.
Many Indiana residents don’t realize that anyone injured in an accident or injury has two years in which to file. Minors have even longer than that (up to two years from their eighteenth birthday). These time limits are known as the statute of limitations.
What does need to happen right away after an accident is a medical evaluation, with careful records kept of all treatments and all costs. What also needs to happen is seeing a personal injury attorney. The attorney takes over the task of communicating with the insurance company, assembling all the necessary records, and then taking the time to organize the case and filing a personal injury claim.
What’s your well-being worth? At Ramey & Hailey, we can tell you one thing – with well-organized, carefully documented case preparation, it will be worth a lot more than you probably imagine!