The Ultimate Guide to Recovery After an Auto Accident
Auto accidents can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. Even if you’re expecting money from a settlement in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll still have bills to pay in the meantime – and you might be out of work. Things are even worse if you were in an accident where you were partially or fully at fault.
So what’s the best way to financially recover after an auto accident?
The Financial Impact of an Auto Accident
Let’s start by breaking down the true financial impact of an auto accident. It’s not just a one-time financial loss, nor is it confined to the damage to your car.
- Property damage. The most obvious financial impact is the damage to property in the accident. Your car may be damaged or totaled, and you may have lost personal possessions in the collision. The other parties involved may also have property damage – and whoever is deemed responsible for the accident will need to cover it eventually.
- Temporary accommodations. If you drive to work every day but your car is totaled, you’ll need some form of transportation until your car is replaced. That could mean getting a rental car or purchasing some other means of transportation.
- Medical costs. Medical costs are another major expense. Hospital bills, physical therapy sessions, and follow-up appointments can all take a toll on your personal finances, and these expenses multiply with each person needing medical treatment.
- Pain and suffering/emotional trauma. Being involved in a major crash can be emotionally devastating. Don’t neglect the time and effort it takes to heal.
- Lack of work/income. On top of everything else, you may be temporarily out of a job, meaning you’ll be dealing with lower (or nonexistent) income.
How do you begin to recover from this damage?
Document and Tally Up the Damage
Your first step is to document and tally up the damage as much as possible. You’ll soon be working with lawyers and insurance companies, who will help you during this process – but it pays to get ahead. Make sure to take photos and videos of all damage to your property and any injuries you’ve sustained. It’s also important to keep receipts and reports of any expenses you’ve incurred that are directly or indirectly related to the accident.
Work With a Good Car Accident Lawyer
Find a good car accident lawyer in your area and talk to them about your accident. They’ll be able to help you figure out the nature of your accident, the details of your case, and the best path to maximizing your payouts in the near future. They can gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and even represent you in court (if it comes down to it). The right lawyer can make all the difference, helping you get every last penny you deserve. And since most car accident lawyers only charge fees for successful cases, you bear no financial risk.
Attend All Necessary Appointments and Follow-Ups
You may not have much income or savings to work with, but it’s still important to prioritize your health. Make sure you attend all your necessary appointments and follow-ups; you can sort out the financial details later. If you skip appointments, it could cause complications with your path to recovery and minimize what you can earn in your settlement.
Minimize Additional Expenses
Minimize any additional expenses you might face. Depending on the severity of your situation, you may be able to improve your financial situation just by cutting out some unnecessary indulgences. You may also need to consider downsizing your living situation or moving somewhere less expensive.
If you're concerned about medical payments, consider setting up contingency payments. This way, you won't owe anything until your settlement arrives. Most medical institutions will be willing to negotiate an arrangement like this to better serve you.
Lean on Your Insurance
While you're waiting on your settlement, lean on your insurance. You may be able to tap into your own insurance policy as a temporary substitute for the payments you will eventually receive from the person responsible for the accident. Make sure you consult with your lawyer and your insurance company before you do this.
Be Prepared to Negotiate (and Wait)
You're incentivized to maximize the potential payout from your settlement. But if you want to make as much money as possible from this, you need to be prepared to negotiate. You also need to be patient. Insurance companies frequently attempt to rush negotiations, putting pressure on plaintiffs to accept a low offer. But if you can afford to wait, and you push for more money, you'll end up with a much higher settlement.
Get a Settlement Advance
You can also put yourself in a much better financial situation by getting a settlement advance. A settlement advance is a type of loan given to plaintiffs who are awaiting settlement money. If you have a case that's very promising, you'll be approved for the loan quickly, and you'll receive money that you can spend however you wish. This is a non-recourse loan, so if you never receive a settlement, you won't owe anything. If and when you do receive a settlement, you can pay back the loan, plus a small fee, and pocket the rest for yourself.
Establish a Foundation for a Brighter Financial Future
Financial recovery doesn't end when you get your settlement. If you want a brighter financial future for yourself, take the following steps:
- A strict budget. if you've received a lump sum of settlement money, or if you're reentering the workforce, it's a good idea to set up a strict budget for yourself. This is ideal for helping you achieve your financial goals.
- A path to higher income. It's also important to forge a path to higher income. That could mean getting more education or picking up side gigs.
- A plan to pay off debt. If you have lots of debt, put together a plan to pay it down.
- Long-term goals for saving and investing. Start putting money aside for your retirement.
Were you recently in a car accident? Are you frustrated by your financial situation as you wait for your settlement negotiation to resolve? You don’t have to carry this burden alone. Apply today for pre-settlement funding – and get the money you need to keep pushing forward.