When you’re involved in a car accident caused by another driver, you’re entitled to recover for your damages from that driver’s insurance company. However, it’s not always that simple. First things first, you need to be able to prove that the other driver either caused 50% of the accident or more. Sometimes that’s easy to show. Other times, it might come down to word versus word, and that’s when things get tricky.
We’ve mentioned in our previous blogs that you may want to involve the police or a personal injury lawyer if you feel that the insurance company might make a big deal out of your past injuries. Ultimately, if you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to recover for all your damages, whether that is new or old injuries. But that doesn’t always mean it’s easy.
Insurance companies have one job: to save money. They might make it look or sound like their mission is to take care of you, but don’t be fooled. The adjuster’s job is to offer you an amount that is high enough that you’ll be tempted to accept it, but low enough that the insurance company considers this a win.
One of the ways they succeed in doing this is by arguing that any previous injuries already existed before the accident. They phrase this in several different ways, but their bottom line is that you’re not deserving of any compensation for injuries that existed before the accident.
This is a lie.
You’re entitled to recover monetary damages for any injuries, new or old, that are caused because of someone else’s negligence, including previous injuries that were worsened.
In Texas, if you’re injured because of someone else’s actions, you’re entitled to recover monetary damages for your injuries and other economic losses. There’s no easy way to calculate some of these damages, so it may be in your best interest to involve a personal injury attorney who can argue on your behalf.
This is the most obvious category of what you can recover. Any medical expenses you incurred as a result from an accident should be paid for by the other insurance company. Now, they might try to argue that you were over-billed or that you had over-treated, but these are just arguments to try to get out of paying you. The insurance company should compensate you for any and all medical expenses.
This category of damages isn’t quite so easy to prove, because insurance companies won’t pay for “what ifs,” but if you can prove that you will absolutely need future treatment, and you can put a dollar amount on that future treatment, the insurance company must pay it.
Another economic damage that you’re entitled to recover is your lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Did you have to miss work because of your injuries? Or are you now stunted at work and in what you can earn because of your injuries? If so, the insurance company needs to reimburse you for this.
Disfigurement isn’t as clear cut as the other damages. But if you were injured in an accident and have permanent scaring or signs of your injury, the insurance company needs to compensate you for that scaring. For example, if you had to get stiches to your forehead and now you’ll forever have a scar, the insurance company must pay for the fact that you now have this permanent scaring.
Pain and suffering can be one the most difficult damages to prove after an accident because one person’s suffering does not equal another person’s. But it’s important to know that you’re entitled to compensation for what you went through.
You might be wondering how you can recover for your damages if you already had an injury before the accident. Realistically, the insurance company has to compensate you for any aggravation of previous injuries. Sometimes this is easy to prove.
For example, let’s say you had a prior back injury. If you did regular physical therapy and reported pain at a 3/10 before the accident, but an 8/10 after the accident, the insurance company would owe you that difference in pain that made you go from a three to an eight.
But how do you put a dollar value on that? The fact that it’s not easy is why the insurance company tries so hard to get out of paying for it.
If you had previous injuries before the accident, try to document any and all ways that your pain got worse after the car wreck. This can look like journal entries or specific documentation when you report to your doctor. Anything that helps differentiate your new symptoms versus your old symptoms will be key.
If you’re trying to handle your case alone, just know that you deserve compensation for any aggravation of previous injuries. If the insurance company is giving you a hard time and not making any considerations for said injuries, you may want to call a personal injury attorney.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you can get your questions answered and see if you want to move forward with representation before ever signing up. But ultimately, a personal injury attorney will know what documentation you need and which arguments to make to ensure that you receive everything you’re entitled to.
Our attorneys at McKinney Vos have years of experience battling insurance companies on behalf of our auto accident clients. Based in Austin, we serve clients throughout central Texas. Call us today for a free consultation!