FAQs: How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?
If you've been injured in a collision, a car crash attorney may be able to help you obtain a settlement. Learn the answer to "How do car accident settlements work?" and much more in these FAQs.
Nothing is easy after a car accident. From taking care of your injuries to making sure you receive the compensation you deserve, everything you need to do requires time and effort, and it requires the advice and representation of an experienced car crash attorney. One question many accident victims have is, "How do car accident settlements work?" You will find the answer to this question and many more in these FAQs.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) about Car Accident Insurance Settlements
In order to help car accident victims like you, we have prepared answers to many of the most-common questions about car accident insurance claims. The answers on this page explain the basics of seeking insurance coverage after a car accident, while the additional FAQs linked below discuss specific topics pertaining to seeking a car accident insurance settlement.
- What should you do after being injured in a car accident?
- Should you file an insurance claim after a car accident?
- What types of auto insurance cover car accident injuries?
- Does health insurance cover car accident injuries?
- What should I do if an insurance company denies coverage for my car accident injuries?
- Where can I find a car insurance claim calculator?
- Do car accident claims expire?
- How do car accident settlements work?
Answer: After being injured in a car accident, you need to seek medical attention and legal help right away.
If you have suffered traumatic injuries in a collision, knowing what to do after your car accident can be difficult. With this in mind, there are two steps that you should prioritize: (i) you should see a doctor for medical treatment; and, (ii) you should consult with a car crash attorney about your legal rights. If you take these two steps promptly, you will be well on your way to recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
When you see your doctor, do your best to describe all of your symptoms in detail, and be sure to tell your doctor about your accident. This will help ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis, and it will also allow your doctor to note your accident in your medical records. Then, when you hire a car crash attorney to represent you, your attorney will be able to use your medical records to help prove your claim for just compensation. When it comes to the question, "How do car accident settlements work?", a key aspect of the process is that understanding your medical needs is essential to making sure you do not settle for too little.
Answer: If you were injured in your car accident, filing an insurance claim will be important to your health and your financial stability.
In most cases, recovering your losses after a car accident will involve filing an insurance claim. However, the insurance companies do not make this easy; and, as a result, it is in your best interests to hire one of the many local car crash attorneys to represent you. If you are thinking about filing a claim on your own, we encourage you to read our Top 10 Facts for Car Accident Victims to learn how car accident claims work.
If you are concerned about your rates going up, this could be a possibility. While some insurance companies offer “accident forgiveness” and similar types of programs, being involved in a car accident could increase your insurance rates. However, choosing not to file a claim could potentially result in loss of coverage (insurance policies typically require drivers to report all accidents as a condition of coverage), and the costs you are entitled to recover could far exceed what you will pay in additional premiums (if any).
Answer: Several different types of auto insurance cover accident-related injuries. The coverage that is available to you will depend on the terms of both your and the other driver’s policy.
When you are injured in a car accident, the types of auto insurance that are available to you depend on the coverage that you have purchased and the coverage that the other driver currently carries. The types of insurance that you may have to cover your injuries include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage; and/or
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM).
In order to recover compensation for your injuries under the other driver’s policy, he or she will need to have bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. This coverage is required in some states, but not others. However, even if BIL coverage is not required in your state, the other driver still may have chosen to purchase it. If you were able to collect the other driver’s insurance information at the scene of the accident, your car crash attorney can review his or her coverage to determine what compensation is available. When it comes to the question, "How do car accident settlements work?", this primarily refers to UIM and BIL claims, as you should not have to settle for less than the full amount of PIP or MedPay coverage that is available.
When discussing available auto insurance, it is important to consider policy limits as well. A policy limit is the maximum amount that an insurance company will pay for a claim (in most cases). The higher your (or the other driver’s) policy limits, the more you can potentially recover. As a general rule, PIP and MedPay policy limits are lower than BIL and UIM limits—and PIP and MedPay only cover certain types of accident-related losses as well. As a result, if you have access to BIL or UIM coverage (or both), then hiring one of your local car crash attorneys to help you file a fault-based claim will allow you to maximize your financial recovery.
Answer: Yes, if you were injured in a car accident, your health insurance policy should cover all necessary treatment for your accident-related injuries.
After a car accident, seeking medical treatment for your injuries needs to be your first priority. When you go to your doctor’s office or the hospital, you can – and should – provide your health insurance card to your provider. Your health insurance policy should apply just as it would if you were injured under any other circumstances.
In the end, your health insurance company may be entitled to subrogation from your auto insurance company or the other driver’s insurer. However, this is not an issue that affects your right to coverage. You can seek treatment with your health insurance, and the insurance companies will sort out which one ultimately pays amongst themselves.
Answer: If you are denied coverage for any reason, you should not accept this as the final resolution of your claim. Instead, you should consult with a car crash attorney to determine if your claim was wrongfully denied.
Even if you are clearly entitled to insurance coverage for your car accident injuries, there is still a chance that your claim could be denied. Health insurance companies and auto insurance companies wrongfully deny claims all the time, and this is just an unfortunate reality of how insurance claims work under the extraordinarily complicated system we have in the United States.
If your health insurance or auto insurance claim was denied, car crash attorneys can determine whether there are issues that can be fixed. For example, car accident attorneys may be able to help you secure coverage by:
- Showing that your claim was wrongfully denied;
- Submitting additional records or information in order to prove your claim; and/or,
- Pursing an additional claim for a bad-faith insurance claim denial.
Answer: The amount you are entitled to recover depends entirely on the unique facts of your case. No “car insurance claim calculator” can provide an accurate assessment of the value of your claim.
If you look around online, you will find various websites claiming to offer “car insurance claim calculators.” However, the reality is that no “calculator” can determine how much you are entitled to recover. The value of your car insurance claim simply depends on too many factors for any website to provide an accurate assessment of your potential settlement amount.
For example, in order to determine how much you may be able to recover for your car accident injuries, it will be necessary to assess factors including (but not limited to):
- Who was at fault in your accident
- The evidence that is available to prove who was at fault
- The insurance coverage that is available
- Your emergency medical expenses and ongoing medical needs
- Your loss of income and future earning capacity
- The non-financial consequences of your injuries (i.e. pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life)
- Your state’s laws regarding “joint and several liability”
- Your state’s laws regarding “comparative fault” or “contributory negligence”
As a result, you should not rely on any figures you may get from a car insurance claim calculator. When it comes to the question, "How do car accident settlements work?", if you want to know how much you are truly entitled to recover and what you need to do in order to receive just compensation, you will need to discuss your claim with one of the car crash attorneys in your state.
Answer: Yes, car accident claims expire. If you wait too long to file your claim, you will lose your ability to collect just compensation.
In every state, there is a law that places a time limit on how long car accident victims have to assert their legal rights. This law is known as a “statute of limitations.” Car accident statutes of limitations vary by state; but, in all states, waiting too long to file your claim is a mistake that you cannot afford to make.
Most statutes of limitations for car accidents are somewhere in the range of two to three years from the date of the collision. However, even if you have several years to file your claim (which may or may not be the case depending on where you live), you should still get started on your car accident insurance claim as soon as possible.
Answer: When negotiating with the insurance companies, it is up to you to make sure you avoid settling too soon.
Finally, we come to the question, "How do car accident settlements work?" The simplest explanation is that, when you file an insurance claim, it is up to you and your insurance company to decide when (and if) to settle. Once you submit proof of fault and damages (with the help of your car crash attorney), the insurance company will then decide whether it is going to make a settlement offer.
If the insurance company makes a settlement offer, you must decide: Will you accept or reject? You need to decide carefully, because (i) once you reject, the offer is no longer on the table, and (ii) if you settle for too little, you could suffer the consequences for months or years to come. As a result, it is extremely important to rely on the advice of an experienced car crash attorney, and it is best to hire an attorney for car accidents to help from the outset of your claim.
If you reject the insurance company's settlement offer, you can keep negotiating for more. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive another offer. The insurance companies know that this puts pressure on car accident victims to settle, and they will often make low-ball settlement offers as a result. In order to protect yourself, you need to rely on an experienced car crash attorney to tell you when it is in your best interests to reject an offer, and when an offer represents fair compensation for your injury-related losses.
Learn More with These In-Depth FAQ Answers about Car Accident Insurance Claims
Do you have additional questions about your legal rights after a car accident? To learn more about how car accident settlements work, how much you might be entitled to recover, and how car crash attorneys can help maximize your insurance settlement, you can read:
- FAQs: When Can You Seek Compensation for a Car Accident?
- FAQs: How Much Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
- FAQs: How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Medical Bills?
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Lost Wages?
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?
- FAQs: Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
- FAQs: How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You?