After a serious car wreck, getting a fair settlement offer from an insurance company could make the difference between a relatively straightforward recovery process and having no recourse whatsoever for your physical, personal, and financial losses. However, what the typical insurance company considers to be “fair” almost never meets what an injured individual needs to make up for both short-term and long-term damages.
Before trying to negotiate on your own behalf with insurance representatives, you may want to consider retaining a qualified vehicle accident attorney to take the lead on your case for you. When it comes to obtaining comprehensive Western PA car accident settlements, there is no substitute for assistance from a legal professional who has handled similar cases successfully in the past.
While different car crashes tend to result in similar types of injuries and losses, a settlement should be personalized for each individual claimant. The appropriate value of a settlement following a car accident in Western Pennsylvania depends entirely on what specific losses the individual pursuing that settlement suffered. Due to that, accurately cataloguing and valuating damages is an essential part of pursuing a fair settlement offer.
There are three possible categories of legal damages for car wrecks that a Western PA resident may pursue: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are quantifiable since they are losses with exact dollar values that can be confirmed with documentary evidence, such as medical expenses, car repair bills, and lost wages due to missed work shifts, as well as a loss of future earning capacity. However, estimating what economic losses a car accident victim may suffer in the future—like bills for rehabilitative medical care or permanent loss of earning capacity due to a newfound disability—can be tricky without help from skilled legal counsel.
Non-economic damages are designed to compensate a victim for the intangible effects of an accident, such as pain and suffering, loss of the pleasures of life, inconvenience, embarrassment, scarring, and loss of consortium. Non-economic damages are often extremely hard for accident victims to factor efficiently into settlement demands on their own, since they are subjective in nature. A qualified legal representative could help an injured party establish a claim for these losses.
Finally, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant acted recklessly, such as driving while intoxicated, texting while driving, speeding in a construction zone, or other egregious conduct – beyond simple negligence. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for the improper behavior and to deter such conduct in the future.
Besides ensuring that a settlement demand accounts for all recoverable economic and non-economic losses, another crucial element of pursuing a Western PA car accident settlement is determining all insurance policies which may be applicable and the amount of coverage available on each. For example, a driver’s own auto insurance company will pay the first portion of his or her medical bills under the Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection benefit of the policy – regardless of who is at fault for the crash. The driver can then make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for economic and non-economic damages. To the extent the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage available to pay the full value of the claim, the victim could also make a claim against his or her own underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, as well as the UIM policies of a relative with whom he or she resides.
Following a devastating vehicle wreck, a comprehensive settlement could help you recover financial stability as you physically and mentally recover. You should be aware, though, that any insurance company you deal with will likely try to shortchange you with their initial settlement offer, and that successfully negotiating a fair settlement can be extremely difficult without representation from a legal professional.
If you want to maximize the value of your Western PA car accident settlements, a conversation with a skilled Marcus & Mack lawyer could be highly beneficial. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.