Car crashes are very expensive in addition to being massively inconvenient and dangerous. Most people need money immediately after a car crash, and they expect that insurance will provide it.
You already know it will cost thousands of dollars to fix your vehicle, if it is salvageable at all. Beyond that, there are hospital bills to pay and lost wages you need to replace. Receiving an offer for an insurance settlement can seem like a fortunate break after several days of stress following a car crash.
However, before you respond to those settlement offers, you need to think carefully. There are two details that you need to know before you decide if a settlement is appropriate.
What could the insurance company pay?
Every insurance policy is unique, and drivers decide on their own what their policy limits will be. If you get into a crash with a driver who has legally compliant but minimal coverage, what you can receive will be far less than if the driver who hurt you invested in $250,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage. Insurance companies will typically try to offer less than the maximum amount available regardless of the extent of the injuries involved.
How much will the injuries cost?
Vehicle damage is often easy to put a fixed price on, but personal injuries can be harder to assess. You have to think about not just your current and future medical bills, but also your income and the impact of the injuries on your daily life.
Some people may have to scale back the household services that they provide for their family, which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars worth of work every year for the rest of their lives. You need to have a realistic understanding of the true financial impact of the crash and the losses you suffered before you attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
If your estimated losses are over the policy limits, you may need to push for the maximum amount of compensation possible and then also consider a lawsuit against the driver who injured you or a claim against your own insurance policy. Educating yourself will help you handle the practical consequences of a motor vehicle collision appropriately.