If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you can expect to hear from your insurance adjuster right away. The insurance adjuster will make an offer to settle your case, and it may seem like a lot in the moment, but when it comes to serious injuries and damages, the first offer from your insurance adjuster is not even going to cover your medical bills. In fact, you won’t know what your claim is worth until you have some idea of what your current and future medical expenses are going to be. Then, there’s the medication, the pain and suffering, the property damage, and the lost wages to take into account. So, what do you need to know to figure out what your claim might be worth?
You should be compensated for several things in a fair insurance settlement, including:
- Medical Expenses (hospital bills, doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, etc.)
- In Home Services (like nursing services)
- Rehabilitation Costs
- Property Damage Repairs (like vehicle damage)
- Lost Wages and Future Earning Potential
- Permanent Disability, Disfigurement, or Scarring
- Emotional Distress (anxiety, stress, depression, embarrassment, etc.)
Value of Your Claim Based on Insurance Company Calculations
The insurance company will probably calculate the value of your car accident claim with a software program. The program will add up all of your medical expenses and then multiply that amount by another pre-determined number. When you have a modified comparative negligence claim (where you are partly at fault for the accident), the value is then reduced by the percentage of your fault.
Unfortunately, these software programs don’t usually contribute to a fair settlement. This is because the insurance adjuster is the one who is inputting the information about how your daily life has been affected and what your other damages might be. The adjuster doesn’t know anything about all of this, so he or she can minimize your damages in the program, reducing your claim’s value.
Value of Your Claim Based on Attorney Calculations
The value of your claim is substantially different with an attorney’s calculations. The attorney estimates medical expenses, includes all amounts that you may have to repay with a settlement, and uses your paystubs to evaluate how much income has been lost to recovering from injuries. This is why you need to keep your medical bills, insurance forms, and paystubs organized and ready for your attorney to use to determine the actual amount of damages, losses, and pain and suffering.
There is a system of limited tort in Pennsylvania which stops you from recovering damages for pain and suffering after most accidents. There are exceptions to the limited tort system that your insurance company won’t tell you about. These exceptions include serious injuries, drunk driving accidents, commercial driving accidents, and out of state vehicle accidents.
How Can You Know the Actual Value of a Claim?
You need to know what your claim is worth before you start negotiating with your insurance company. You should always let an attorney calculate the value of your claim instead of relying on the insurance adjuster’s calculation. Never accept a settlement without first evaluating the claim with a lawyer.