Auto Insurance Settlements Involving Personal Injury
Following the trauma of being injured in a car accident, your focus must shift toward obtaining personal injury compensation. This requires patience on your behalf, and not agreeing to a quick settlement with the auto insurance company.
Otherwise, should some lingering effect from your car injuries manifest, say, two months later, you'll be without financial recourse.
Types of Personal Injury Coverage
Before you seek compensation, you should understand where these types of auto insurance settlements come from.
Depending on your coverage and the nature of the car accident, personal injury compensation may come from:
- The negligent driver's bodily injury liability coverage. Your own liability policy will not cover you.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) or what many refer to as no-fault insurance. Unlike liability, PIP will pay for your medical costs―up to the policy's limits―even if your mistake caused the car accident.
- Medical payment coverage, which is similar to PIP but more limited in compensation. Unlike PIP, which also covers for lost income, funeral expenses, and loss of services, medical payment only pays for medical bills. This, if offered in your state, is optional.
Personal Injury Compensation From an Auto Insurance Company
Regardless if you suffered minor whiplash or multiple fractures to both legs, there are several steps to take to ensure just compensation for your medical costs.
These steps include:
- Document everything. Save every memo, e-mail, prescription order, and receipt that's related to your medical care. This includes visits to the chiropractor, X-ray technician, physical therapist, emergency room, or family doctor. Be sure to get names and to date every document.
- Keep receipts of all injury-related costs. This may include child-care expenses, canceling airline tickets, or paying for taxi service.
- Provide before and after photos. This means photos of your injuries and recent photos of you before the car accident occurred.
- Keep diligent records of how much time you've lost at work. You may even ask your employer to provide a letter verifying how much income you've lost.
- Maintain a daily diary, documenting your recovery. Be specific. Record your pain levels and your emotional state. This will aid in your quest for compensation should you suffer from long-term, lingering effects.
- Hold firm against a quick settlement. Don't agree to anything until you know for certain the short- and long-term effects of your injuries. The insurance company's claims adjuster will try pressuring you into an immediate agreement. This way, should any lingering repercussions suddenly appear (for example, three months after the accident), the insurance company won't be obligated to pay for the subsequent medical costs.
- Hire a personal injury attorney if you feel you're being pressured to agree to a quick settlement, or if you think the compensation is inadequate, or even if you don't understand the claims process. These lawyers will level the playing field, as it were, bettering your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Additional Auto Insurance Information
Need help in deciphering comprehensive coverage? Or are you unsure of your state's car insurance requirements? For answers to all of your insurance questions, visit our Insurance Center.
You'll find not only insurance information for cars, but also for boats, motorcycles, RVs, and commercial vehicles.Find Your
Local DMV Office