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Been In An Accident Lately? Read This

Been In An Accident Lately? Read This

When you’re hurt in some kind of accident, there are a lot of concerns that arise. Will you have enough money to afford the life you’re accustomed to? Can you take care of your family? Will you be forced to go back to work before you’re physically ready because you need the paycheck? Will you ever recover from your injuries and lead a normal life again?

An serious accident can stop you in your tracks. It’s terrifying to think you could lose everything you’ve worked so hard for. You probably know that insurance agencies are not really that excited to give you loads of money for an accident even if you are entitled and really deserve it. It’s good to know what to do to fight against their process so you get what you need to rehabilitate and get back to your life again.

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They put a price on your pain and suffering

It may seem a bit crazy that an accident settlement is determined on the invisible factor of pain and suffering. We all have different pain tolerances and suffering really is subjective. Say you lose a finger, which isn’t worth that much. Your passion in life is to play the piano. Your suffering is going to be far more than someone who doesn’t rely so much on having all 10 fingers. Pain and suffering sits under the legal umbrella of physical, emotion and mental injuries. It’s a measurement of how much less you enjoy your life after your accident.

Of course, this is crazy, but if you want to get what you’re entitled to, you have to accept it and figure out how to make it work for you. Know that insurance adjusters are trying to pay you as little as possible while avoiding a lawsuit. If you don’t feel good about the numbers they’re giving you for pain and suffering, I’d usher out a little “lawsuit” threat and see if they do a bit of recalculating. It’s risky for an insurance company if you file a lawsuit and the case goes to trial. Going to court takes all the control away from them, especially if the judge is sympathetic to your case. All of the calculations of what you’re worth go out the window and you have the upper hand over the insurance agency.

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Insurance companies pay you a little while paying themselves more

Regardless of what you’re entitled to, an insurance adjuster’s job is to pay you out as little as possible. It’s their job to look at the facts and figure out how much the case is worth. They aren’t working for your interests; they’re working for a company. The less they pay you, the more profit the company gains.

Your entitlements include:

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  • Tangible expenses like medical bills and costs. This includes those that have already been incurred and costs necessary in the future.
  • Loss of wages.
  • Damages for pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress damage.

You may not be able to put all of this information and fight your case on your own. When it comes to emotional distress damage or pain and suffering, your case is stronger when you have an expert opinion. Not only should you be getting a regular check up from your doctor to monitor physical issues, you should also see a psychologist. It could be helpful to talk to someone but you also need a pro to prove you have suffered emotional damage. If you hired a lawyer, this would be a part of their checklist to ensure you get the payment that’s due to you.

You can help measure your pain and suffering by collecting evidence through documentation. Maybe it seems ruthless to have your friends take pictures of you when you’re crying after your accident. To really get what you want, you have to fight fire with fire. Photographs and personal journals can be used to illustrate the amount of physical and emotional pain you’re in. Your friends can also attest to the changes they’ve seen in you since the accident. These are all relevant when it comes to determining how down and out you are.

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Adjusters offer you less even when they know you should get more

Here’s where it gets just plain greedy. It’s the last thing you want to think about getting into an action, that your insurance company would actually try to rip you off, but it’s reality. Adjusters do some number crunching to figure out the maximum you rightfully deserve, then they usually reduce their offer to you by 25 to 50 percent. They do this in order to get a bit of wiggle room during settlement proceedings.

Whatever you do, don’t take the first offer an insurance company offers you. They don’t expect you to anyway so do a little bit of your own tallying of what you should receive. It’s easy to calculate how much you’re spending on medical bills and your doctor has likely eluded to how long your rehabilitation will take. You know more than anyone what your pain and suffering levels are. If you feel depressed or unmotivated, it could take years after the initial accident to live a normal life again.

You don’t need to sell yourself short so don’t pay attention to the explanations and excuses an insurance company throws at you. It’s simply to avoid paying you what you’re owed. The good news is usually the courts are on your side and if you’re not satisfied with settlement offers, you have the option to file a civil lawsuit. This takes the power out of insurance adjuster’s hands in which case, they’ll probably offer you a lot more. You’ll have enough money to take your time getting healthy again and not having to worry about your future.

Featured photo credit: Alexas Fotos via pixabay.com

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Loraine Couturier

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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