You hear it all the time that no two car accidents are the same. So why is that? Well, the reason is that there are many factors that go into determining a claim. We’ll cover some of the variations that can cause claims to differ from each other.
1. Place. Where someone is involved in a motor vehicle collision is important, as that is where a jury may be selected to hear your claim if you are forced to appear in court. As with most areas, some places are more conservative or have a more conservative jury pool and others are more liberal. Jurisdiction affects any settlement or award, but is not the only factor considered.
2. Type of accident. There are different types of car crashes, for example, head-on collision, rear-end collision, head-on collision, non-collision and side swipe. There may be some types of collisions that are not listed, but these are the usual suspects when it comes to car collisions. Depending on the nature of the collision will usually depend on the severity of the injuries.
3. Amount of available insurance coverage. Some of the most serious injuries my company has seen are related to the most underinsured drivers and then the chances of ever recovering drop dramatically. When someone has insurance, the insurance company will provide protection up to the contracted amount. There are several policies, but the main ones that are helpful when you are involved in a motor vehicle collision are; liability, uninsured motorist and medical payment coverage.
- Liability insurance is the coverage you need if you are at fault in a car accident. The insurance company will cover you up to the policy limit amount you purchase. The minimum policy limit in Georgia as of the date of this article is $25,000.00/$50,000.00. These limits translate into no more than $25,000.00 per person and no more than $50,000.00 per accident, regardless of the number of injuries.
- Uninsured car insurance is an insurance policy that protects you in the event that the driver defaults or is underinsured. This is the most effective way to protect yourself from other drivers. You have no control over the way other drivers drive. You can’t stop a drunk driver from drinking and getting behind the wheel, but you can try to lessen the impact on you and your family if that drunk driver chooses to crash into your vehicle. Not much of a consolation, but the reality is that it’s the single best way to proactively protect your family from financial ruin if an unfortunate serious car collision happens. Most insurance companies allow you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount as your liability coverage. If there’s one thing you can take away from this article, it’s to go out and buy as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. This cover is an optional cover and you must ask for it if you want it.
- Medical payments insurance coverage is an insurance policy that pays for medical care and prescriptions as well as lost wages and other payments based on medical coverage you need. Policy amounts usually range from $500 to $50,000.00. This insurance would serve as the primary insurance even before any health insurance you have. Very affordable and if you don’t have health insurance, it’s a good way to protect against the unexpected car collision and subsequent medical care you’ll have to pay for. This is also important because the number one complaint we have here is the doctor wants $200.00 to see me and I can’t work because of my injuries “how am I going to pay for this?”. The short answer is medical payment coverage. This is optional coverage and must be requested if you wish.
4. Injuries caused by the car accident. Insurance companies will not pay for what could have happened to you in a car accident, in fact, unless there is solid evidence that you need surgery, the insurance company may try not to pay for surgery. The most important thing to remember is to keep your options open when discussing your medical care with your healthcare providers. If surgery is an option, don’t tell the doctor you don’t want it. The reason you shouldn’t mention this is that you may want to have surgery later. If you do not tell the doctor under any circumstances that I want to have the operation, he/she may write that in the medical records that the insurance company will receive. They love to see that they don’t have to pay for surgery and won’t if you’re adamant that you don’t want it. So it is best to keep all your options open, today you may not feel like you want surgery, but the future may soon change your mind, especially if the pain increases to such an extent that any surgery is better than the existing pain .
5. Punishing conditions. By punitive circumstances, I’m referring to drunk driving, reckless driving, texting soon and driving, and other behaviors that make the collision particularly dangerous and preventable. With a punitive circumstance, your claim is more likely to be successful, as long as your injuries are related and treatment is reasonable. The punitive aspects of a case can be the difference between a settlement and a lawsuit.
6. Insurance company. The fact is that there are certain insurance companies that will fight no matter the circumstances and don’t care to appear fair and basically force the injured party to sue if they want their medical bills paid. This is something we’ve been seeing more and more lately, which is a shame. A fair settlement benefits both parties involved in a car wreck claim, taking an aggressive stance to prolong a case knowing that the majority will concede and they will benefit as a company.
Finally, these six reasons are not the only reasons, but are the big six when it comes to determining the value of your claim and why you know someone you know had a similar claim, but with many different results. Often it is one of these six reasons or several reasons why your claim is valued differently.
If you ever have specific questions about your specific claim, please contact an auto accident attorney in your area.