Being injured in a car accident can be terribly traumatic. You at least have the comfort of knowing your medical bills will be covered by car insurance—or will they? If you've opened your settlement letter from your car insurance company, only to find the amount of money you're being offering won't cover all of your medical expenses, you're not alone. Here's what you need to do if you find yourself in this situation.
Do not accept the offer.
If the letter you've received only presents an offer and does not contain a check, the company will be waiting for you to get back to them and accept the offer. Do not do this. If you accept the offer, you will not be able to take future action and try to recover the additional costs.
If the insurance company has just sent you a check, do not cash it. Sometimes, companies will just send you a check straight away rather than offering you the settlement amount first. If you cash the check, this will be considered your acceptance of their offer.
Call a lawyer.
Contact a personal injury attorney who regularly works with car accident victims. He or she can contact the insurance company and try to negotiate on your behalf. Your lawyer can let the insurance company know the total cost of your medical expenses and tell the insurance company that if they don't provide you with a check covering the entirety of the costs, you will sue them. Most insurance companies want to avoid spending time and resources on court dates, so they will often comply and send you a larger check.
If the insurance company does not agree to increase your compensation following a talk with your lawyer, you and your attorney can proceed to sue them—and possibly also the driver who caused the accident—for the entirety of your medical bills and any lost wages due to your injuries.
Keep collecting evidence.
If you do end up having to sue the insurance company, you will need evidence to attest to several things:
- That the car accident was the fault of the other driver.
- That you were injured in the car accident.
- That your injuries cost you in the form of medical bills and lost wages.
A copy of the official accident report and testimonies from witnesses will help prove the other driver was at fault. Photos of your injuries, along with medical records, will demonstrate how badly you were injured. Keep receipts from all medical care and documentation from work, showing your lost days and wages, to prove your damages.
Be prepared to wait.
It can be frustrating to wait for the money you deserve, but this is the reality of the situation when you have to sue for compensation after a car accident. If the medical bills keep piling up, you can call the hospital and explain the situation. Ask your lawyer before paying any medical bills. Depending on how long he or she thinks your case might take, your lawyer may recommend putting the bills on a credit card or simply not paying until your case is settled.
Many personal injury cases are, in fact, settled outside of court. Your lawyer and the insurance company will come to an agreement as to how much money you'll be paid in order to save legal fees on both sides. If your case does go to court, you may have to appear before the judge once or twice, but the process should be pretty straightforward as car accident claim cases are rather routine for most judges.
Contact a law firm like Philpot Law Firm Pa for additional information.