After a car accident, why do some insurance companies seem like they make a fair offer to some people and not others? Two people could have nearly identical injuries, and the same insurance company will offer one person a reasonable settlement that includes an appropriate amount for their pain and suffering while offering the other person just enough to repair their car.
It likely has a lot to do with what happened after the accident, instead of the accident itself.
Many car accidents leave victims with soft-tissue injuries in their neck, back, and shoulders that don't require hospitalization even though they cause significant pain, swelling, and bruising. If this is your situation, you—like any other person—will probably see a doctor for an evaluation.
That's where the similarities between two nearly identical cases often ends. If you hear the doctor tell you that you'll be okay after some time off work, some chiropractic care and a little physical therapy, and you decide that you can "tough it out," you're doing yourself a major disservice. While you might soldier on, suffering through each day of work, spending each evening collapsed in bed with heating pads and ice packs trying to control the swelling and pain, there's no record of what you went through—from the insurance company's point of view, you had a remarkable recovery and went back to work the very next day.
On the other hand, if you listen to your doctor's advice and take the time off work, set up the appointments with a chiropractor and a physical therapist for treatment, that gives you plenty of evidence to show the insurance company that your injuries were serious enough to warrant a reasonable settlement.
The evidence of medical expenses related to your injuries is particularly important when it comes to calculating your pain and suffering—the insurance companies tend to reason that more severe injuries rack up more medical expenses. They'll often base what they offer someone for pain and suffering off a multiplier ranging between 1.5 and 5 and the total amount of medical expenses following the accident.
Listening to your doctor is important after an auto accident. It can not only help you heal faster and better, in the end it can have a significant effect on the way the insurance company treats your case.
Anyone struggling with the after-effects of an auto accident should consider seeking help from an attorney. An attorney can often advise you along the way and help you avoid damaging your own case.
For more information on how we approach car accident claims, please visit our page.