Damages: The Value of Your Case Might Be More Than You Think
If you’ve been in an accident, you might be worrying about the money necessary to start moving forward again. You’re probably wondering how much it will cost to fix your car or pay for a recent trip to the emergency room. What you might not be considering is the entire financial impact this accident can have on your life. When you start adding up those extra expenses, your personal injury claim might be worth more than you think.
It’s important to consider all those added expenses up front, because you only get one chance to settle with the other party’s insurance company. When you agree to a settlement amount, the insurance company will make you sign a contract that releases them from having to pay you any additional money. That means that you cannot receive further compensation—even if you later discover that you have additional injuries related to the same accident.
Costs to Consider Before Accepting a Settlement Offer
There are many things to consider and many reasons why the value of your claim might be more than you think. Please think about them before accepting a settlement offer. If you think that the insurance company has not offered you enough money to fully compensate you for your injury, reach out to a lawyer for help. Even better: contact a law firm as soon as possible and let an experienced attorney negotiate for you.
Medical bills: When calculating your health care costs after an accident, consider the entire expense—not just your out-of-pocket deductible. When you start adding up the full cost of care, you might be surprised.
Property damages: Property damages are a factor in most car accident cases, but they may not be an issue in other types of personal injury cases. If your car or other property was damaged, it is important that you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Lost wages: Consider the income you lost when you missed work. If you used PTO or other time-off benefits (like sick days or vacation days), calculate the value of that time as if it was unpaid. Just because you used sick time does not mean that you aren’t entitled to compensation for lost earnings.
Future lost income: You might have to miss work for ongoing treatment or physical therapy. What’s more, your career options might now be limited. For example, a knee injury today might mean your knee bothers you when you’re older, and you might not have the stamina to continue a job that requires physical labor. You might have to take a lesser-paying job doing something else. The lost income in the future should be estimated and added to the settlement amount.
Future medical expenses: Old injuries can come back to haunt you. A broken bone can lead to arthritis later in life, for example. Serious physical injuries can also require extensive care in the future, including in-home health care, therapy and additional surgeries. It’s important to take all of this into consideration before accepting payment for your medical expenses.
Pain and suffering: You may also be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. It can be challenging to tell exactly how to calculate this. The best way is to talk with an attorney.
Punitive damages: In Minnesota, courts sometimes award special damages called “punitive damages,” which punish a business or individual for showing a deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others. Punitive damages are not awarded in every case, but can be awarded in special circumstances when the at-fault party’s actions were especially egregious.
Your Next (First) Step: Speak With a Lawyer
After adding up all these expenses, many people realize that their personal injury cases are worth much more than they anticipated. The next step is to recover that compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. That’s where a lawyer can be the most helpful. If you’d like a lawyer’s help, we encourage you to reach out to The Law Offices of Daniel J. Brazil P.A. for a free consultation.