If you are injured because of the negligence of others, you are entitled to collect for damaged personal property, vehicle damage, and for personal injury. On the injury claim, you are entitled to collect for:
- accident-related medical expenses incurred up to the date of settlement or trial
- future medical expenses only if established by sufficient medical evidence
- lost wages up to the date of settlement or trial when work is missed purely for medical reasons
- lost earning capacity—future lost earnings for the victim who cannot continue in their previous line of work
- lost work life expectancy—payment for future lost wages when expert testimony confirms that accident-related injuries will require early retirement
- tax-free compensation for pain and suffering endured up to the date of settlement or trial (focus here on full impact of injuries on day-to-day quality of life)
- future pain and suffering only in cases where proper expert medical testimony confirms anticipated future symptoms and complications
- lump-sum payment for scarring and disfigurement
- payment to modify home, vehicle, and workplace to adapt to injury or disability
- payment for assistance with household chores and other services
- any additional loss or expense arising from injury or medical care
Every case must be looked at carefully. Occasionally, other damages can be presented. For example, if a family’s medical needs or income loss force them to withdraw money from retirement plans and pay tax penalties, these losses can be claimed and collected.
Maintain the Threat of Trial
The victim’s goal is to settle the case. However, insurance carriers know that most people have no intention of going to court. As a former claims adjuster, I assure you that your adjuster must believe that you will bring your case through trial before he or she will offer a proper settlement. This is a primary reason why attorneys see higher settlement offers compared to unrepresented accident victims. If you are handling your case without a lawyer, remain diplomatic and professional in all discussions and make it clear that you will retain counsel and bringyour case to trial if necessary. This should be your approach and posture from day one.