After an accident, it is common to have a lot of questions.
In today’s video Drew Palcsik discusses three of the most frequently asked questions about Burlington, VT car accidents.
- How insurance companies estimate the value of your claim
- When you should consider accepting the settlement offer
- When you should not consider accepting an offer from the insurance company.
If you have any questions about today’s video or would like to suggest a topic for a future video, please leave them in the comments section below.
3 Frequently Asked Questions about Burlington Car Accidents
Hey, everyone. It’s Drew from Champlain Valley Law. In this video, I will answer three frequently asked questions about Burlington car accident claims.
3 FAQs about Burlington Car Accidents
So I talk to many people who’ve been involved in motor vehicle accidents, and far and away, the most common questions I get are these:
- How does an insurance company value my case?
- When should I settle my case?
- When shouldn’t I settle my case?
How do Insurance Companies Value My Car Accident?
So let’s first talk about how insurance companies value your claim. Most auto insurers use computer software when they’re trying to figure out how much your case is worth.
Insurance adjusters will take your medical records and some other pieces of information like the crash report. They’ll plug all of this information into the software, which then spits out a range of numbers that the adjuster can use to settle your claim.
In our experience, the first number that the adjuster offers is rarely the top dollar, and they expect that some negotiation will take place before a final settlement is reached.
When Should I Settle My Personal Injury Claim?
Moving on to number 2nd Frequently asked a question about Burlington car accidents is: When should you settle your personal injury claim?
In most cases, the easiest decision to make is when the insurance company agrees to pay you the full amount of the policy available. This is what we call a tender of the policy limits, and that’s a good thing.
Now the policy limit really is the most an insurance company will agree to pay to settle your case under almost all circumstances.
When Shouldn’t I Settle My Personal Injury Claim?
You don’t know the total amount of insurance available
But if your injuries are severe and you’re offered the policy limit from the other driver’s insurance, you better know whether you have other coverage available.
Insurance such as under-insured motorist coverage or an insurance policy from someone else who might be at fault. This is because you’ll need the consent or approval of those insurance companies before you can accept the money from the other driver.
If the insurance company offers you anything other than the full policy, you and your lawyer, if you have one, are going to have to make some decisions in which you weigh a bunch of different factors, each of which is going to be specific to your case.
Now, these include factors such as:
- how easy is it to prove your injuries?
- Are they obvious like broken bones?
- Are they hidden like a brain injury or maybe a spinal injury?
- How close is the offer to the actual policy limit?
- Will you wind up spending more money to get the case to trial than you could ever hope to recover in a jury verdict?
- How good is your evidence?
- how good are your witnesses? (See our video on what makes a good witness for more information on that particular topic.)
- And finally, how long will it take to bring your case to resolution in a court of law?
- It can be two or more years from when you file a lawsuit until you get a jury verdict. Is that an amount of time that you can wait? Maybe, maybe not. That will be up to you.
The point is each of these factors is very particular to you and your case, but the better each of these factors are, the closer you’ll want your settlement to be to that policy limit.
Now let’s talk about when you shouldn’t settle your injury case. Believe it or not, you can settle your injury claim too quickly. There are two main reasons for this, and the first it just has to do with medical insurance.
You don’t know the total amount of your medical bills
If you had medical insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, or some private insurance that paid the bills for your injury care, you’re going to owe them money. And if you settle your case too quickly, they may not know the total that you owe before you settle your case, and you could end up owing more money at the end than you recover from the other insurance, and that would be an awful outcome.
You don’t know how this injury will impact your future
The second reason you don’t want to settle your injury claim too soon is that you only get one chance to do it. Unlike other insurance claims like medical insurance, unemployment, even workers’ comp, there’s only a single personal injury settlement.
It’s meant to cover all of the harms and losses past, present, and future.
If there’s still a chance that you need medical care in the future, and in particular, something serious like surgery, then it is best to wait until you’ve had that care or that surgery and see if you recover.
And if not, then you’ll at least need a doctor who will go on the record to say that more likely than not, you’re going to need that surgery or other medical care, and this is how much it’s going to cost.
Now that’s important evidence to have because you can now include the cost of that medical care as part of your claim’s settlement.
So your takeaways from today’s video should be these. First of all, remember that insurance companies use computer software to determine your case’s value, and most of the information they get comes from your medical record.
Don’t ever take the first offer because they’re always prepared to negotiate. It can be easy to settle your case if your injuries are severe.
The insurance adjuster offers you all of the money that’s available within the policy limit. Keeping in mind that you may also have under-insured motorist coverage or some other kind of liability coverage that might be available to you for which you’ll need to get consent before you can accept that policy limit.
In most cases, though, you’ll have to make some choices, and these choices will be based on the specific circumstances of your case, including the quality of your evidence and the timeframe that you have in mind for recovery.
Remember, in most cases, you don’t want to settle your case if you’re still actively treating for your injuries. Unless you’re careful, you’ll lose the right to recover for those future harms and losses, should they happen.
So that’s it for today. I hope you found the video helpful about the top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Burlington Car Accidents. If you did, please like and subscribe to our channel, and let us know in the comment section below if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time.