In the aftermath of a car crash, you may have higher-than-usual expenses and no income whatsoever because your injuries keep you from working your job. You may be completely dependent on the insurance that you carry and the insurance held by the other driver for your current expenses.

Getting a settlement offer can feel like a lifeline if you’ve gone several weeks without any income while also dealing with expensive car repairs and medical bills. Unfortunately, insurance companies are fully aware of how many people struggle financially after a crash and may try to take advantage of your situation by offering far less then they should given the extent of the damage and injuries you suffered.

When you accept a settlement, you lose your right to future compensation

A settlement is a one-time payment meant to address the financial consequences of a car crash. That means that you won’t be able to go back and request more compensation from the other driver or the insurance company offering you the settlement once you sign that paper or cash the check.

Insurance companies frequently make settlement offers that look good on the surface but fail to cover all of the costs someone actually incurs because of a crash. Although in some cases it may be possible to bring bad faith insurance claims against the company for offering an inadequate settlement, negotiating a better settlement from the start is usually the faster and better option.

What would a reasonable settlement look like in your case?

Trying to figure out how much an insurance company should offer you isn’t easy. After all, you could still find yourself noticing new costs or expenses related to your injuries or the crash months or even years later.

Creating a reasonable estimate for the financial impact of a collision takes careful examination of your current financial situation, your medical records and similar cases. Adding up all of your current medical expenses, the cost to repair or replace your vehicle, and the wages and other compensation that you have lost because you can’t work is a good starting place.

Then, you need to look at future expenses, such as ongoing medical care, physical therapy or continued lost wages/suppressed earning potential. Once you have an idea of the lifetime financial impact of the crash, you will be in a position to counter a low settlement offer with a more reasonable figure.