After getting hit by another driver in the DC area, going to the hospital, having surgery, going through rehab, missing work and many things you enjoy, not to mention the medical expenses you have, how do you know when to settle your case, and for how much?
The settlement value of a DC accident case
depends on a number of factors.
You didn't ask for any of this, of course - the pain, expense, time out of work and time away from family, but now that you have gone through it, what can you expect as far as a settlement from the other driver's insurance company? And remember, that insurance company will only pay what they are legally obligated to pay, up to the limit of the policy for their insured (the driver who hit you) so it's important to protect yourself by getting good uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with high limits on your own policy.
But if the other driver's insurance is enough to cover your harms and losses, what goes in to a fair settlement offer?
Your damages, which are all the harms and losses caused by the other driver, may include:
- Medical costs
- Surgical and hospital costs
- Lost income
- Home health care
- Medical goods (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
- Home health aides
- Permanent injury
- Future medical care and treatment
Obviously, not everyone has the same harms and losses, and someone in a minor accident who just went to the doctor to get checked out will ask for a modest settlement (and this is something you can do yourself, you probably don't even need an attorney).
A major injury is much more complicated and the settlement may have to take into account paying for future medical care and treatment, insurance benefits, Medicaid or Medicare, whether to create a trust, how to structure the settlement and a number of other highly personalized details.
What can you do to
get the best possible settlement for your case?
Our advice to our clients on this is pretty simple - focus on your recovery and let us worry about everything else. This means go to all of your doctors visits (and make sure you are seeing good doctors - not a chiropractor who gets all of his patients referred by lawyers). Work hard on your rehab - the physical therapy and home exercises you are prescribed, and return to work when you are able.
In our experience, people who are really motivated to get better and work at it (even though they never asked to be in this position, didn't cause it and it wasn't their fault) have a better recovery and a better settlement or outcome of their case as well.