If you have been injured in an auto accident in Florida, recovering your repair bills, medical bills and other losses will most likely mean dealing with the insurance companies. While it is always best to hire an experienced auto accident lawyer to represent you, if you are trying to deal with the insurance companies on your own, here are five factors to consider before you accept a settlement:
1. Financial Costs of Your Injuries
When seeking financial compensation after an auto accident, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the financial costs of your injuries. This means adding up your receipts and outstanding medical bills, but it also means calculating the other financial costs of your injuries now and in the future.
Have you missed work? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income and benefits (or the sick days you were forced to use). Will you need to go back to the doctor in the future? Will you be out of work for a while (or potentially indefinitely)? These are all critical factors in calculating the total cost of the accident.
2. Non-Financial Costs of Your Injuries
If you suffered a “significant and permanent” injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your non-financial losses as well. This includes things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. The insurance companies will never assume that you have suffered (or will suffer) these types of losses, so it is on you to convince the them to pay.
3. Fault (or “Negligence”) in the Accident
Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. However, this does not mean that fault is irrelevant to your insurance claim. While you are entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) regardless of fault, if you can prove fault, you can seek additional compensation under the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) policy.
4. Comparative Fault (Your Role in the Accident)
If you are seeking coverage outside of PIP, there is a good chance that the insurance companies will try to blame you for causing or contributing to the accident. If you were partially at fault, you need to know how much this affects the value of your claim. But, if you weren’t at fault, you will need to successfully overcome this common tactic for denying and reducing accident victims’ claims for financial recovery.
5. Your (and the Insurance Company’s) Motive for Settling
Finally, why are you considering accepting a settlement? Have you thoroughly addressed all of the issues discussed above and arrived at an informed decision? Or, are you fed up with the process and just ready for it to be over? Similarly, why is the insurance company offering to settle? Is it convinced that you are entitled to maximum coverage? Or, is it trying to resolve your claim before you realize that you are entitled to more?
Experienced Local Attorneys for Crestview, FL Auto Accident Claims
We are a Crestview, FL personal injury law firm that represents auto accident victims in insurance claims. If you have been injured in an accident and need help dealing with the insurance companies, you can contact the firm online for a free consultation.