If you sustain an injury in an automobile accident due to no fault of your own, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries from the insurance company of the at-fault party. There are two types of damages you can collect for in an injury settlement, special damages and general damages. Special damages are damages that can be quantified such as medical bills and lost wages. General damages are subjective and includes damages such as pain and suffering and the loss of companionship.
Gather all of your medical bills and add them together. Even if you only had to pay your insurance deductible, you still want to include the full amount of the bill because you may be required to repay your health insurance carrier. Include money you spent for prescription medication.
Calculate your loss of earnings by multiplying your hourly income by the number of hours you missed from work while recuperating or going to medical appointments.
Obtain an estimate from your treating physician on the cost of your future medical needs.
Add your past medical costs, loss or earnings and future medical costs together to get the amount of your special damages.
Determine an amount that will compensate you for your pain and suffering. Attorneys often tell clients to expect two to three times the amount of the special damages. If your injury is permanent or the injury caused a scar, you can expect more than this. If you suffered from a basic whiplash injury, you can likely expect less than this from the insurance company.
Add the special damages with the general damages to calculate the amount you will seek for a bodily injury settlement.
You can still collect for lost wages if you used vacation or sick leave benefits to compensate you for your time off work. You have to negotiate the settlement amount with the insurance company. Therefore, make your initial settlement demand for an amount that is higher than what you feel the claim is worth.
In some states, if you do not have your own automobile insurance, you cannot collect for pain and suffering.
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