The hardest question to answer after a motor vehicle accident is how much is one entitled to claim? To determine your accident settlement value, add up your medical bills, car repair bills, lost income, the cost of car rental, and pain and suffering. The insurance company is obligated to cover all medical related expenses, vehicle repairs and lost income.
If you have filed an insurance claim to recover money for material damage, bodily injury or both, you will have to negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the payment you deserve. Negotiating a motor vehicle accident insurance settlement may be difficult if you are not prepared.
When negotiating your auto accident settlement, you will have to work closely with an insurance claims agent, who is responsible for investigating the accident and deciding how much the insurance company will pay for.
Insurance companies have a settlement range for motor vehicle accidents and usually start at the lowest figure. Their job is to negotiate the claim for the least amount of money possible. Do not be afraid to reject the first offer and negotiate a better insurance settlement.
To have a better understanding as to what you may be entitled to, detail your damages after a car, motorcycle or truck accident. You have the right to be compensated for your medical and other expenses (special damages), along with general damages, which include money for pain and suffering.
A common method for estimating these damages is to multiply your medical expenses and lost income by an arbitrary multiple between 2 and 4. For example, if you had a neck injury related to a car accident, and your Medical bills were $ 5,000, and you lost 2 weeks of work, which will cost you $ 2,500, your expenses are a total of $7,500. Depending on the other factors in the case, the claim settlement value of your claim could be somewhere between $ 15,000 (2 times the expenses) and $ 30,000 (4 times the expenses).
Although there is no exact formula to calculate the value of pain and suffering, a good place to start is in the neighborhood of three to 5 times the special damages. When you are assessing the value of your claim, usually the greater the injury, the greater the value. Also, the largest material damages to the vehicles involved, the greater the value an insurance company will typically place on your claim. That is not to say that low property damage cases for sure have less value. Make your case regarding the amount of damage to your vehicle and how it added to your injury.
Some factors that may increase the settlement are:
▪ Aggravating conditions in the accident, such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
▪ The severity of your injuries
▪ Recovery time
▪ If the injury is permanent or only temporary
How long does a motor vehicle settlement take in Texas?
The resolution of an auto accident lawsuit can take days, months, or even years. The amount of time depends on the settlement amount in question and the circumstances of each case. As you work with your insurance company, it is necessary to keep in mind that there are deadlines for you to file a lawsuit if the negotiations fail.
If your negotiations of insurance agreements are not getting you to a settlement amount you think is fair, or the negotiations have dragged on for several months, you may have to take further action. Although you cannot force your insurer to resolve your insurance claim by a certain date, there are things you can do to potentially speed up the process
Contact a Texas lawyer for any auto, motorcycle or truck accident. A Texas lawyer can try and help speed up negotiations. The lawyer may be able to write a final settlement letter to force the insurance company to work faster on your claim in the face of the threat of legal action. A Texas lawyer can fight for your car, motorcycle or truck accident case and will advise you when to end negotiations and file a lawsuit.
What to do before filing an insurance claim for a car, motorcycle or truck accident in Texas
It is necessary to determine the value of your losses so you can request the appropriate insurance payment. If you decide to handle your own accident claim, you should perform an estimate of the value of your claim or risk being taken advantage of and not receive the compensation which you are entitled.
▪ Identify your injuries: Were you injured? If so, document your injuries, treatment, the prognosis for recovery, and temporary or permanent disability, with copies of medical reports. Do not sign any waivers allowing the insurance company permission to get your medical bills and medical records before consulting with an attorney. Read any document carefully before signing.
▪ Know your claimed expenses: What expenses can you claim as a result of the accident? You will have to present all your medical expenses to the insurance company, including an ambulance service cost, emergency room, hospital, doctor visits, medications, medical equipment, etc.
▪ Will you require medical treatment in the future? Obtain an estimate of the future costs from your health care providers.
▪ Did you lose any income? You will need proof from your employer. What about other expenses, such as transportation or hiring assistance at home, such as a nanny or a housekeeper?
▪ Did your spouse stay at home to take care of you and lose income as a result? Didyou hire a babysitter to take care of the children while you had to visit the doctor or take physical therapy?
▪ Identify special factors: Are there special factors that you would like the insurer to consider while making your claim? Consider things such as your age, your occupation, and the fact that you may be the caregiver to others (such as family members) and you may no longer be able to do that.
Maybe you can no longer sit for long periods of time and, therefore, you have to think about changing your occupation or not working at all. Or maybe you’ll have to use a cane permanently to walk or you’ll have to give up your full-time job.
Whatever your individual situation might be, it could very well add value to your claim, so do not keep quiet about it.
The more complicated or difficult to prove your claimed expenses are, the more you should consider hiring a Texas lawyer to fight for your auto, motorcycle or truck accident case.
Contact our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.
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