Many people are under the misconception that if you are in a car accident that was not your fault, the insurance company only has to pay for the damage done to your car. But what if you were injured? What else are you entitled to recover?
Before you settle your claim, you should finish all of your medical treatments. You are entitled to receive reimbursement for all of your medical expenses—but if you settle your claim before you’ve finished your medical treatments, your later treatments won’t be covered by insurance.
Your medical bills may include:
- Ambulance fees
- Initial consultations with physicians
- Insurance co-pays
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy for mental illness
- Any expenses to accommodate temporary or permanent disability
Future Medical Bills
In some cases, you will finish treating with your doctor, but you won’t be back to 100 percent of your health before the accident. This means you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), and you will continue to have ongoing medical expenses as a result of your car accident injury for the rest of your life.
If you’ve reached MMI, you may also be entitled to compensation for future medical bills. For example: if a person gets in a car accident and has a traumatic brain injury (TBI), they will likely have physical and cognitive therapy bills for the rest of their life.
Compensation for future medical bills comes in one lump sum at the time of the settlement—it is not something that can be spread out over time as your bills come in, nor is it something that can be recovered after the settlement when you realize you need more treatment. That’s why it’s important to finish treating and/or reach MMI before settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering includes any physical or emotional/mental distress caused by your car accident injury. Compensation is based on:
- Type of injury
- Severity of pain
- Expectation of future pain
If your mental illness was caused or aggravated by your car accident injury, that may fall under pain and suffering.
Injury from a car accident can result in lost time from work. You are entitled to receive reimbursement of your lost wages.
The insurance company may offer to cover your medical bills if you agree to settle immediately. That may seem like a good idea at the time—you’re injured, out of work, and the bills are quickly adding up—but it’s important to wait to settle so you can receive all of the compensation you deserve. Your lost wages are included in that.
Fixed Car or Worth of Car at Time of the Accident
Of course, if you have been injured, your car is likely damaged as well. If your car is totaled, you are owed the amount of money your car was worth at the time of the accident. This amount is typically not up for negotiation.
If your car is worth fixing, the insurance company will likely reimburse you for repairs. However, they may calculate a lower repair cost by insisting on using used parts to fix your vehicle. Although you may disagree, this amount is also not typically negotiated to a higher amount.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
You are entitled under law to recover certain expenses related to your car accident injury, but the insurance company may try to offer you less than you deserve to settle your case quickly. Be patient. An Indiana car accident attorney can make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation, and download a copy of our free eBook, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims.