According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), almost 5,500 people were killed in 2009 and a half million more were injured due to distracted driving, with the main culprit involving cell phone usage. The federal authorities at this agency recommend that when you get into your vehicle, first buckle up and secondly, put your cell phone in the glove compartment. No call or text message is worth the risk of taking a human life. Victims of auto accidents will often seek to recover compensation for their injuries by filing a pain and suffering claim with the insurance company.
Figuring Out What’s Fair
Most insurance companies train their adjusters to use a settlement formula when calculating what they believe to be fair for accident victims. They often tally up the medical expenses and then double it for pain and suffering. People are viewed as a number, rather than a living, breathing human being whose life may now be devastated by their injuries. To bolster the strength of your case, you need to provide factual evidence that may include:
• The facts regarding how the accident happened, including a copy of the police report, photographs of your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Testimony from witnesses who can attest that the other driver was negligent because they were carelessly talking on their cell phone when they rammed into you.
• Medical records showing the types of treatment you received. Make sure that you continue to obtain medical care regularly. Missed appointments may indicate that your condition is not serious.
• Keep a diary of how your injuries have affected your life emotionally and mentally. Accident victims often experience post-traumatic stress disorder and are unable to leave the house or get into a car. Their physical pain may prevent them from engaging in activities they once enjoyed, such as basketball or swimming.
• Lost income due to not being able to return to their job, out of fear, disability or embarrassing scars they are now left with.
• Their spouse may be entitled to obtain compensation when the injured person can no longer have sex with their partner or provide love and affection.
• Household chores and providing childcare that were regularly performed by a stay-at-home mom may require the services of a live-in nanny.
While all of these expenses and damages seem realistic through your eyes, the insurance adjuster will not see it that way. These are trained professionals whose primary goal is to keep the most money in the insurance company’s pocket. Be prepared for the first offer to be far below your expectations. Don’t be disappointed or become emotional. Focus on negotiating with a calm and cool head.
Presenting Your Case to the Insurance Adjuster
When organizing your demand package, state your case in clear and convincing language. Do not over dramatize the events but be convincing about how it has affected your life. You can use examples, such as, “I can no longer pick up my baby when she cries due to the amount of physical pain I am experiencing”. Outline the number of times you have sought medical treatment. Include copies of any reports that you have received from doctors and what the prognosis is regarding future care. Severe injuries may require several surgical procedures or extended physical therapy to regain movement.
Why You Need Help From An Auto Accident Attorney
Personal injury and car accident lawyers deal with insurance companies every day. They are experienced and knowledgeable and will try to obtain the best possible settlement for your case. Claimants that have serious injuries or permanent disabilities should seek legal advice from an attorney before trying to hash it out with the insurance company. The laws in certain states require the plaintiff to obtain an Independent Medical Examination, which are doctors paid by the insurance industry to diminish the extent of your injuries. California car accident attorneys that specialize in personal injury law can prepare you beforehand so that you don’t accidentally say something that may hurt your case. You may also need help in preparing for depositions that may be required. In any event, most attorneys offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by making that call.