Your doctor or chiropractor has discharged you from treatment for your car accident and enough time has passed for you to be about to position yourself to sit with the Henry Hard-Nose adjuster. His employer is Rock Solid Insurance, the company that insures Fred Fuddle, the individual who slammed into his butt and crushed him with a tremendous crash that was responsible for his injuries plus the “pain and suffering” he has endured.
To be adequately compensated for what you’ve been through, you must have accumulated what is identified in the world of insurance claims as “Special Damages.” Those are your medical bills, your lost wages plus every dollar paid to help with your recovery. When building the value of a personal injury claim, there are several key elements to consider:
LIABILITY: In the vast majority of car accidents, it is clear who was at fault. Assuming Fuddle hit you hard on the rear end (rear end accounts for more than half of the car accidents that take place in the United States each year), yours is a case that needs to be solved. (Final statistics show that in 83% of accidents in 2003 it is clear who was at fault).
The highly doubtful liability case has little, if any, liquidation value. If that’s the situation, you should get the services of the local legal Beagle who does a good job of it, attorney IM Greedy. But if you do, be very careful when signing Greedy’s “Contingency Fee Agreement.” Please read it carefully. Don’t sign anything that allows you to charge a penny other than your normal fee. Do not, in any way, allow him to take money from you for his out-of-pocket expenses. All Greedy needs to be compensated for (if he is successful in losing a few Rock Solid dollars) is his fee and that should be no more than the normally posted locally accepted percentage of the total recovery.
TYPE OF INJURY: If there are serious injuries (which account for only ten to fifteen percent of all car accidents), you should obtain the services of an attorney. But, if you’ve had minor injuries like whiplash, bumps, bruises, sprains, and / or strains (and you’re clearly not at fault), you can handle and resolve the claim yourself.
KIND OF PERSON YOU ARE: Qualify yourself and be brutally honest. Most likely, you are the average motor vehicle owner / driver and lead a normal life. But, if you’ve spent any time behind bars, have a criminal record, or a history of character flaws that often cause your butt to get tangled up with local law enforcement (and this is well known), you need to consider those facts. when it comes to building expectations about the value of your case.
THE FRED FUDDLE TYPE OF PERSON IS: The better Fred Fuddle looks or the better the “entity” (Fuddle’s business or company, etc.) appears, the better for Rock Solid. But, if Fuddle is a well-known bookie or drug dealer, they are in deep “stuff.” On the other hand, if Fuddle is a well-loved philanthropist, that may be to Rock Solid Insurance’s advantage. Or if the vehicle that struck you was a pickup truck driven by Pastor Frederick Fuddle, and the named insured is The Fuddle Camp For Lost Souls, that may be an asset to Rock Solid.
But, if the “entity” that hit him was a dilapidated junk heap operated by Fred “Goof-Ball” Fuddle, and the named insured is The Fuddle Rotted Cow Abure Corporation, that obviously won’t be favorable to Rock Solid.
DAMAGES: There are “Special Medical Damage” Expenses, “Special Non-Medical Injury” Expenses and / or your “Property Damage” Expenses.
MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR SPECIAL DAMAGES: Usually includes the cost of ambulance, emergency room, hospital and / or clinic charges, chiropractor and / or dentist, over-the-counter drugs and / or prescription drugs, fees and lab services, Diagnostic tests: X-rays and CT scan, prosthetic devices or surgical devices, (cranes and crutches), physical therapy, registered and / or practical nurse fees, bandages, gauze and adhesive tapes, heating pads, creams, lotions, ointments, balms and ointments. .
When it comes to listing your “expenses” for special medical damages, don’t overlook a single dollar because when it comes time to settle your claim, that dollar can increase the value of your “Pain and Suffering” payment by a multiplier. of four. Or even five! (Yes, that means a $ 20.00 bill can be worth between $ 80.00 and $ 100.00 more, in your pocket, from Rock Solid Insurance, at closing.)
NON-MEDICAL SPECIAL DAMAGES: Usually includes lost wages and income, lost vacation time and / or sick leave, travel expenses (car rental, public transportation, expenses incurred to get to and from your chiropractor and / or or hospital and / or physical therapy “). treatment” of some kind) Home help during disability and / or childcare. Make sure you get written proof of such “non-medical” special damages.
LOST WAGES: The income you lost, because you were unable to work, is an area where adjusters take terrible advantage of the typical claimant because they know so little about it.
Commissions and overtime can make a big difference in lost income. Make sure you get a letter from your employer, on their official letterhead, explaining that in detail. Or, if you are self-employed, get this information on your letterhead accountants.
The time you lose from work (hence the money you may have lost) is calculated and this item constitutes what is known as “Lost Wages” or “Lost Time Verification.” In most situations, you are entitled to compensation for lost time and earnings, even if you don’t have an actual loss of money! Like, for example, when your salary is paid by your company’s insurance coverage, or by taking sick leave, or some similar arrangement.
Even if you have wages, you should get a “Lost Earnings Verification” or “Lost Time Verification” in writing on your employer’s letterhead.
IF YOU ARE SELF-EMPLOYED: To prove your loss of income, you will probably need to gather inside information for Hard-Nose. If you don’t like the idea of sending private documents to you, in the privacy of your home or office, think about how it would feel to produce them in the non-private setting of a courtroom. When a case goes to trial, and if you want to prove your damages to collect adequate compensation, that is your only alternative.
TWO CRITICAL AREAS REGARDING LOSS OF WAGES: Did the injury require a change of job or employment at a slower rate? However, did the injury allow you to go to work but only part-time? If the answer to any of the questions is “Yes,” it would be wise to ask your employer to document this information on their letterhead.
IT IS CRUCIAL YOU KNOW: Even if you have been paid while you were not working, you can still calculate time lost from work as “Lost Wages”.
PROPERTY DAMAGE EXPENSES: These generally include motor vehicle repair, damaged clothing, broken lenses, replacement car rental cost, towing, and storage. Make copies of all bills related to any of your property damage expenses. Keep the originals. Make sure you have them in your possession when you and Hard-Nose dedicate yourself to “Talk Turkey.” Photocopies are enough to give you.
YOUR AGE: Due to their obvious innocence, insurance claim accident victims, up to the age of 12, generally have excellent settlement results. Those in their teens, and late 50s, fall into a fairly normal category because they are generally considered to be at the peak of their physical endurance. Those who are over 60 years of age or older generally get very good results; mainly due to the sympathy that is often invoked, on the part of a judge or a jury, due to general attitudes towards frailty and the elderly.
MOST IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: The information that Hard-Nose places in your file plays an important role in the final value of your claim. Never underestimate the importance of your impressions and conclusions! If, one day, your case ends in front of a judge or jury, what Hard-Nose feels, observes, and then reports in your file at Rock Solid about you, your insured Fred Fuddle and / or potential witnesses, etc. , (in addition to the information you have documented for him) could have a great influence on the value of your claim, especially if Fuddle is a loser and you are dead wrong. At that point, the only thing stopping a deal is the amount of money it will cost to get rid of you.
And, in the event your file ends up in the hands of your local Rock Solid Insurance defense attorney, all the positive factors about you, your injury and liability will take your breath away: “Hey, what’s going on here? My fees. legal fees will be higher than the few hundred dollars more that can be undone. “
The bottom line: Your properly recorded and presented out-of-pocket expenses, your properly documented injury information, and your clearly stated lost wages will seriously increase the dollar value of your personal injury claim.
QUESTION: How does Dan know this is true? ANSWER: “Because for 38 years Dan was right there, where he saw and did that!”
Copyright (c) 2005 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All rights reserved
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this “How To” insurance claim article “PLACE VALUE ON YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM” is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Dan Baldyga makes no warranty of any kind, NI intends to engage in the rendering of any professional or legal services, NI to substitute for an attorney, insurance adjuster or claims consultant, or the like. Wherever such professional help is desired, it is THE INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain such services.
Dan Badlyga has published 3 books “How To” Insurance Claim, the last one is AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL DAURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How to assess and settle your loss) which can be found on the Internet at http://www.caraccidentclaims.com or http: / /www.autoaccidentclaims.com.
This book explains, in plain language, “How” to handle your motor vehicle property damage and / or personal injury claim. It also contains BASE (Baldyga’s Car Accident Settlement Assessment Formula). THE BASIC FORMULA will explain how to determine the value of the “Pain and Suffering” you endured – due to your injury in a car accident!