If you were recently involved in a crash, whether it was a fender bender or a serious car accident, there may be a few expenses that you will incur before the at-fault driver’s insurance provider approves your injury claim. Here is some helpful information regarding some of the types of car accident expenses that a personal injury attorney can help you recover.
What is a Car Accident Attorney?
A car accident attorney is a personal injury attorney who typically engages in some of the following duties throughout the accident claim process:
- Communicating with the other driver’s auto insurance company
- Communicating with your health care providers to make sure they provide any necessary medical information so that you can prove damages in your claim
- Obtaining the necessary evidence to help determine which party was at fault for the accident
- Organizing your medical records and bills
- Presenting the evidence in your case in court in order to prove liability and damages
- Negotiating with lien holders on your claim (such as health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers) to potentially reduce the amount of those liens
- Negotiating a satisfactory settlement among the parties
What Types of Car Accident Expenses Can a Lawyer Help You Recover?
A car accident attorney can help you obtain compensation for any of the following expenses:
- Vehicle damage: If your car suffered either minor or major damage as a result of an accident, an attorney will be able to help you obtain compensation.
- Other personal property damage: If you had personal property in your vehicle at the time of the accident (for example, a laptop) that was destroyed due to the accident, an attorney may be able to recover the expense of replacing that property.
- X-rays: Because x-rays are necessary to perform medical treatment, an attorney can help you recover these expenses.
- Hospital stays: If the treatment of your injury requires you to stay in the hospital, an attorney can help you recover these expenses.
- Emergency room visits: Many car accidents result in emergency room visits, which can be very expensive. A good attorney will do his best to make sure that the cost of these visits are reimbursed.
- Ambulances/hospital transportation: Many people who are injured in car accidents take ambulances to the hospital. However, because ambulance rides can be very expensive, some victims instead opt to use a taxi or ride share service in order to get to the hospital. An attorney should be able to recover the cost of these medical bills.
- Mileage to hospital/rehabilitation facility: The mileage that it takes for the injured party to get to the hospital or to a rehabilitation facility for treatment should be recoverable.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is considered a part of medical treatment, and as such, an attorney can recover these expenses.
- Massage therapy: Massage therapy expenses can be tricky. If a medical provider deems it to be a necessary part of your treatment plan, it will likely be recoverable. It is best to consult with your medical provider and your attorney regarding these expenses.
- Surgeries: If your medical care included surgery after a car accident, an attorney can help you recover these medical expenses.
- Prescriptions: If your treatment plan requires that you take specific prescriptions, these expenses will be reimbursed.
- Chiropractor services: If you are injured in an auto accident and require the services of a chiropractor, these medical costs can usually be recovered.
- Household services: If you are unable to do typical household duties because of your injury and have to hire someone to do this work for you, an attorney can help you recover these expenses.
- Car seat replacement: If you had a car seat that was damaged due to the motor vehicle accident, an attorney can help you obtain compensation to replace it.
What is a Demand Letter?
During the settlement process, you (or your attorney) will draft a demand letter to the insurance company, which will outline the following information:
- What injuries, if any, you suffered from the accident
- What other damages, if any, you suffered from the accident
- Why the other driver is legally responsible for the injuries and/or damages you suffered
- What your medical treatment was and how much it cost
- What your income loss was
Are There Any Tips for Writing My Own Demand Letter?
If you are writing a demand letter yourself, there are some tips you should follow:
- Before you start writing the letter, review your notes from the days and weeks following the accident to remind yourself of the details (i.e. your pain, discomfort, inconvenience, disruption of life, and medical treatment).
- Begin your letter by describing how the accident happened and why the other motorist was the at fault party for your injuries and/or damages. Briefly describe where you were and what you were doing immediately before the accident and how the accident occurred from your point of view.
- If you do not believe that you were at fault in any way, make sure that you outright deny that you share any amount of fault. Even if you believe you might have been partly at fault for the accident, do not admit that in your demand letter. If and when an insurance adjuster brings up the subject during settlement negotiations, you can debate the question then.
- Describe your injuries and treatments in great detail. Emphasize your pain, the length and difficulty of your recovery, the negative effects of your injuries on your daily life, and any long-term or permanent bodily injury (especially if it is disabling or disfiguring). However, make sure that you are not simply making up things or being overly dramatic. It is recommended that you use appropriate medical terms wherever possible (for example, using “narrowing of disk spacing” rather than “strained back”).
- Include a complete list of each medical provider who treated you, as well as the total amount charged by each.
- Make a brief statement of the amount of time you missed from work because of your injuries and refer to any communication you may have from your employer verifying your pay and missed time.
- In the last paragraph of your letter, make sure that you demand a specific sum of money as total compensation for your pain, suffering, lost income, and other losses. By providing a figure that is higher than what you think your claim is actually worth, you have some room to negotiate with the insurance adjuster.
- Lastly, you should include copies of documents, records, letters, bills, or other communications supporting the things you describe in your letter. Make sure that you retain the originals for your own files.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me Obtain the Best Settlement?
A car accident lawyer can help accident victims obtain the best settlement in some of the following ways:
- First and foremost, an attorney knows the value of your case. This, more than anything else, is what an experienced attorney brings to the table. Damages for pain and suffering, loss of normal life, and disability are particularly hard for lay people to quantify. An experienced attorney will know what the market value of the case is because he is familiar with what similar cases have settled for or what juries in your county have awarded. Lay-people are often in the dark when it comes to making a demand. If they are too high or too low, they instantly lose credibility and are at a pronounced disadvantage.
- An attorney will know the law. This is crucial. Lay-people may make critical errors because they do not know the law. For example, it is necessary to get permission to accept a settlement form your UIM carrier before accepting policy limits from the at-fault driver. Trip and fall cases require the property owner to have actual or constructive notice of a defect. There are different statutes of limitations depending on who the defendant is.The list is endless, but failure to know the law can have catastrophic consequences to your case.
- An attorney will maximize the value of your case. Attorneys can prevent the insurance companies from taking shortcuts that save it money at your expense. One example of this is unwittingly allowing auto carriers to take advantage of the contractual discount you get from your health insurance.
- An attorney will typically have good negotiation skills. It is important to note that if you choose to negotiate your own settlement, you will be stuck with that amount once you accept it. You cannot later go back and try to renegotiate for a better amount. As such, it makes sense to use an attorney, whose job is to ensure that you receive the best possible settlement to fully compensate for any injuries and other damages you may have suffered.
- An attorney is able to conduct a more extensive investigation. Experienced car accident injury lawyers conduct thorough investigations in order to identify every party that may have a legal liability to their client. In fact, in some cases, parties may have more of a liability to the victim than the victim originally anticipated.
- An attorney can help maximize your recovery. An attorney can help you “think outside the box” when it comes to recovery. For example, they may be able to seek certain damages from the liable party of which you were completely unaware. An experienced attorney will let you know of all of the damages you are entitled to and will attempt to obtain compensation for these damages during the settlement negotiations process.
- An attorney can help draft a better legal argument. If this is your first time negotiating a settlement, you may not know where to begin. An attorney will create a legal argument that will make it clear that you are entitled to compensation.
- An attorney has experience communicating with insurance companies. If you are dealing with a car insurance company, you may run into an issue where the communication is lacking or altogether nonexistent. Attorneys have experience communicating with these companies and they can reach out to check on the status of your settlement if you have been unsuccessful.
Were You Recently Injured in a Car Accident? Speak to an Illinois Car Accident Attorney
If you or a family member were recently injured in a car crash, the law firm of Palermo Law Group can help. We will work hard to help you prepare a strong personal injury case and will ensure that you are able to hold the liable party responsible for your injuries and recover your car accident expenses. Call us today at (630)-684-2332 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorney.