The weeks after a car crash can be a stressful time. You may not have a vehicle because of how badly it got damaged. You may have had to spend several days in the hospital receiving trauma care or recovering from an emergency surgery. You could even have missed multiple days of work and might have a long recovery ahead of you before you can return to your profession.
Financial hardship often follows closely on the heels of a car crash. Especially if you are the primary wage-earner for your entire household, loss of income combined with a bunch of sudden expenses can be financially stressful.
Receiving an insurance settlement offer means that you could soon have some resources to help cover your living expenses and replace your lost wages. Before you cash that check or sign any paperwork agreeing to the settlement, you need to look at it closely to make sure it will actually benefit you.
How do you put a proper price tag on a car crash?
In order to determine if a settlement amount is fair, you first have to figure out how much of a financial impact the crash had on your life. Certain parts of this process are easier than others.
You probably already have a stack of bills from the hospital and either statements or estimates about the cost of vehicle repair. You can add up those expenses to get a rough estimate of the current financial expenses incurred because of the crash.
You also need to look at how much time you’ve had to take off of work so far and how long it will probably be until you can safely go back to work. You might need to claim lost wages for months, especially if you work in a physically demanding career.
Be ready to reject the first offer that you receive
You may feel intensely worried about your current financial circumstances, but accepting a settlement offer that doesn’t cover all your costs isn’t going to fix things for you in the long term. Instead, it will leave you even more financially vulnerable in the future.
It is common for first settlement offers to be substantially lower than the actual financial impact of a crash. From renegotiating how much reimbursement you can receive for a totaled vehicle to estimating your future medical expenses, there are many steps that you can take to improve the favorability of a settlement offer after a crash.
Working with an attorney can make this process easier, as your lawyer can handle negotiations and other details on your behalf while you focus on feeling better.