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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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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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