We rely on our car insurance to cover all sorts of damages. That piece of gravel that flew up and chipped your windshield? Covered. What about repairs after you’ve been rear ended? You’ve got it. Car insurance will also cover damages if a storm drops a tree on your car or hail stones break your windshield. Most importantly, though, it’s important to have car insurance to protect ourselves and others on the road. What many don’t realize, though, is that car insurance may not cover all of the fallout from an accident.
If you’re in a serious car accident, you may suffer lasting injuries, far beyond what either your car or health insurance is equipped to cover – and that’s where damages claims enter the picture. As you move through the days and weeks after your accident, you’ll want to document everything thoroughly and contact a lawyer immediately to ensure that you’re taken care of, no matter how serious your injuries.
The Math Behind Pain And Suffering
One of the most fundamental claims people make after a serious car accident is that of pain and suffering, a vague term that’s meant to provide coverage for various damages. To claim pain and suffering, though, you won’t go directly to your own insurer. Instead, you’ll work with a personal injury attorney to estimate your losses, either using a multiplier method or based on per diem losses. Pain and suffering covers losses related to your inability to work, permanent injuries, and even emotional trauma such as accident-related PTSD.
Depending on the circumstances, pain and suffering payments may be awarded out of court as part of a settlement, or you may have to take the other party in the accident to court to recover your losses. Going to court can take longer, but if you and your lawyer aren’t satisfied with what you’re offered out of court, it may be the only option.
The Cost Of Disability
Despite the popular discourse around disability and social safety net programs, being disabled is expensive – and car accidents can often lead to long-term injuries and extended care needs. As described by the NYE Law Group, car accident victims may suffer spinal cord injuries and varying degrees of paralysis, amputations, and traumatic brain injuries, among other complaints. Any of these injuries can leave victims out of work and in need of long-term care, and unless you have disability insurance or long-term care insurance, your health insurance is unlikely to cover these care costs, such as in-home nursing, home modifications, and some types of assistive devices.
Insurance companies employ adjusters whose job is to make sure as much money as possible remains with the company, so don’t be surprised if the adjuster refuses your claim or offers little in recompense. Adjusters are basically your insurance company’s lawyers, and every company has them. Even if you’ve been seriously injured, they will try to minimize what the insurance pays out. The same is true of the other party’s insurance company, when you sue for damages. Everyone is concerned with their own interests, not ensuring that you have access to the care you need after a devastating injury.
You can do everything right after a car accident – take pictures of the scene, see a doctor, contact your insurance and a lawyer – but that doesn’t mean that you’ll receive the help you need. In the wake of a serious injury, you’ll need to be aggressive. The funds for your care are out there, if you’re willing to fight for them.