Among the factors that affect the value of your car accident claim are the nature and severity of your injuries, your medical expenses, and whether you have any contributory negligence for the accident.
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How Do the Nature and Severity of Your Injuries Affect the Value of Your Claim?
The type of injury sustained figures significantly in car accident claims. Insurance companies and jurors typically give higher awards for catastrophic injuries that permanently affect an individual’s life. For example, a spinal cord injury that results in paralysis will more than likely receive a higher settlement than a broken leg. Research shows that traffic accidents are typically the most common cause of spinal cord injuries.
Additionally, a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) factors into the value of a claim. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a severe TBI can affect all aspects of an individual’s life, including the ability to work, drive, do household tasks and participate in daily activities. CDC statistics indicate that motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths.
Insurance companies take into account these and other types of catastrophic injuries when determining settlements. More often than not, auto companies offer larger payouts when a car accident permanently alters an individual’s way of life.
How Do Your Medical Expenses Affect the Value of Your Claim?
Insurance companies look at the type of medical treatment you received, the length of treatment, and the costs associated with treatment for your injuries. For instance, if you suffered a broken leg, your doctor may require you to have outpatient physical therapy for a certain period. If your medical insurance does not cover all of your therapy, you may have some out-of-pocket costs that you can include in your insurance claim.
If you want to recover compensation from an insurance claim for your medical bills, make sure you follow your doctor’s orders and go to the health professional your doctor recommends. Auto companies frown on claimants choosing their therapists and getting treatment the insurer may deem unnecessary.
How Does Contributory Negligence Affect the Value of Your Claim?
Insurance adjusters go over claims with a “fine-tooth comb” to determine whether you contributed to the accident. For instance, if you got into in a rear-end collision and the rear driver did not realize you had stopped because your brake lights were not working, an insurance adjuster would argue that you were partially at fault for causing the accident because you did not have working brake lights.
When claimants have contributory negligence for causing an accident, Florida’s comparative fault statute applies to the case. This standard reduces your compensation award based on the percentage of your negligence. For example, if you were found 20 percent at fault for the accident, then your compensation will decrease by 20 percent.
Information You Provide That Helps Your Credibility
Unless you can provide solid proof that another driver’s negligent actions caused the accident in which you sustained injuries, an insurance adjuster will reject your claim. The strongest documents you can provide include the following:
- Your statement about the accident and how it has impacted your life
- Your doctor’s prognosis about the type of treatment you will need in the future
- Your family members’ statements on how your relationship with them has changed since the accident
- A police report or traffic surveillance video showing you were not at fault for the accident. You can also use these to show another driver caused the accident.
- Eyewitnesses who can corroborate your account of the accident
Your supporting evidence will also help you fulfill Florida’s requirement for proving negligence. The state’s negligence statute requires that you establish four elements:
- The driver owed you a duty of reasonable care to drive safely
- The driver breached that duty.
- The driver’s breach of duty caused an accident.
- Due to the driver’s negligence, you suffered damages.
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Call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine now at 800-747-3733 and let us speak with you about your insurance claim. Our goal is to get the best possible outcome for your case.