You are entitled to recover the amount of the medical bills. If PIP, MedPay, your health insurance, or Medicare, etc. paid some or all of your medical bills, usually the at-fault party’s insurance company will “reimburse” these entities directly. However, you should consult with an attorney here: in many states, you may not have to reimburse at all if you are not “fully compensated” (if, for example, there is not enough insurance to make you whole).
Pain & Suffering
There is no precise formula that provides an amount of monetary compensation for the pain, suffering and inconvenience caused by your injuries. The amount of money you receive will vary based on the severity of the injury and whether your condition is permanent. This Claim Calculator is a good “guide” to what you may recover; however, you should speak with an experienced local attorney (someone who is familiar with how much juries in your area are awarding for similar injuries) to obtain the most accurate estimated claim value.
Wage And Income Loss
Wage and income loss is a separate component of your insurance claim.
Prescription for time off work
You are entitled to compensation for time missed from work. However, you will need to verify that you were not able to work. It is very important that your medical provider gives you a “prescription” for time off work.
Once you have established that you were not able to work, you will have to prove how much money you lost as a direct result of this collision.
Wage loss verification from employer
If you work as an employee, obtain a letter from your employer detailing how many days you were absent, how much money you lost, and whether you used up vacation or sick time.
Income tax records
If you are self-employed, the insurance company may want to see your income tax records for the past two or more years.
If you don’t have copies of your previous tax returns, you can request them from the IRS website – IRS.gov. If you prefer, the insurance company can send you a form which requests the desired tax returns – but the process may take considerably longer.
Statute of Limitations
Also, importantly, allowing your claim to get so close to the statute of limitations date may discourage the insurance company from making a reasonable offer (because you may allow the cut-off date to pass) and may make it much more difficult to find a local attorney to help you. Do not wait until the cut-off to find a local attorney.
- A CNN article which describes how insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate are saving billions of dollars by underpaying accident victims;
- An Insurance Journal article which covers consumer group and whistle-blower allegations that insurance companies are manipulating computer claims programs they use to underpay injury claims; and
- An internal (and formerly confidential) Allstate memo which describes their tactics to keep your settlement value as low as possible.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is provided as a free service to consumers and does not constitute legal advice. Nothing contained herein should be relied upon as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.