If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be seriously injured in a car accident, you know that the effects can be debilitating and wide-ranging. Once the initial shock of the accident has passed, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced accident attorney who can guide you through the process and discuss the factors involved in determining personal injury compensation.
Of the many factors involved in determining personal injury compensation, a large part depends on the severity of your injuries. Your recovery time, treatment protocols, time away from work, whether or not you have permanent injuries, and other elements will all impact the financial burden you will face and therefore the compensation that you may receive. Here are some factors to consider:
- Medical bills — Do you require surgery to overcome your injuries, or will a few visits to the doctor be enough? How long will you be required to take medication? Do your injuries need to be addressed by physical therapy or chiropractic work? Do you have any permanent injuries that will require long-term in-home care? The answers to these questions effect the amount of compensation.
- Lost wages — If your injuries cause you to miss work, you should be compensated for lost wages. Even if you were able to cover the loss by using vacation days or taking paid sick leave, your attorney should factor using paid leave into your claim. Keep records of any time taken for doctor appointments or rehab as well, as these may also be reimbursed.
- Disability — If your injuries cause you to miss significant time at work — or even cause you to switch careers — this will be taken into account in determining your compensation. The relevance of your impairment to your job will also play a role. For instance, a teacher who experiences headaches and memory loss could receive more compensation than if he or she sustained physical injuries not relevant to performing their duties. If your injuries affect your ability to continue your present career path, the compensation may also include the cost of the training required to pursue a new career.
- Pain and suffering — Pain and suffering can take many forms after a stressful event like a car accident. When a physical injury results in a restriction of movement or affects your enjoyment of an activity you love, that’s an obvious example of pain and suffering. Experiencing depression, fear of driving, or nightmares due to the accident also cause pain and suffering. Your attorney must be made aware of all such symptoms in order to factor them into your claim.
Medical records are crucial in establishing your injuries following an accident. Legitimate and professional medical documentation is one of the factors in determining personal injury compensation.
Always seek medical attention immediately after an accident and follow up with all prescriptions and advice, such as going to a physical therapist or a psychologist. It may also be necessary to provide medical records from before the crash to prove that you didn’t have a pre-existing condition. Never submit medical records to an insurer without getting the OK from your attorney.
Steps Taken After a Car Accident
Knowing what steps were taken after the accident is also an important factor for determining personal injury compensation. The first and most critical step is to seek medical care immediately following a car crash. You will not be able to convincingly claim that you were injured and deserve compensation for your injuries if you weren’t evaluated at the time. Even if your injuries didn’t surface for days or weeks, the opposing side will argue that you invented your aches and pains in order to get a higher settlement.
Likewise, it is important to follow all of your doctor’s advice in the aftermath of a crash. If you return to work prematurely, go back to running 5 miles a day, or go on a white water rafting trip, it will be difficult to claim that your injuries were profound enough to cause more than a nuisance.
Who Was at Fault?
Your compensation will depend a great deal on which driver was negligent in causing the crash. If the other driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or was texting at the time of the accident, you are in a good position to receive maximum compensation. However, if you were partially at fault in causing the accident, your compensation may be reduced.
Evidence that may prove who is at fault includes eyewitness accounts, smartphone photos that you capture on the scene, accident reports filed by the police, and any video footage that may exist from traffic cameras or local businesses. Remember, never admit fault when speaking to authorities or your insurance company.
Your Version of Events
After a serious accident, you will need to provide your account of events to several authorities and agencies, including the police, your insurance company, and medical personnel. It is wise to document the experience as soon as possible after the crash. Over the following days and weeks, you may forget details such as weather conditions and visibility, the other driver’s actions, and how you may have attempted to avoid the collision.
Giving your version of events to an attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t threaten your claim by providing varying accounts. Your attorney will be invaluable in preparing an accurate, complete statement for the insurance companies.
Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
A trusted and experienced personal injury attorney like those at Donaghue & Labrum will thoroughly investigate the incident, putting you in the best position to maximize compensation. We will collect and review all evidence, interview witnesses, consult with experts when needed, assess your claim, and negotiate your settlement.
All reputable and experienced car accident attorneys will be able to provide you with references and examples of previous cases that they have won. A personal injury attorney should put you at ease, and their knowledge of the law should give you confidence in their abilities.
Determining Personal Injury Compensation – Let Donaghue & Labrumn Help!
In the aftermath of a car accident, it is common to feel stressed, confused, and scared. Do not let insurance companies, doctor visits, and police investigations overwhelm you. Contact Donaghue & Labrum, and we will take charge of your case from day one. Our decades of experience handling car accidents in Pennsylvania means that we know the law, and we know what’s important for determining personal injury compensation.
Don’t suffer alone — call Donaghue & Labrum for a free consultation. We’ll walk you through all of the unknowns and fight for your rights because that’s our job, and we’ve successfully represented hundreds of victims just like you in our 30+ years of practice.