Getting into a serious vehicular accident can do more than just physical and mental harm. Aside from the injuries and trauma—which can be difficult to manage in and of themselves—there are also pressing financial matters to attend to if the accident was bad enough to cause you to lose your main source of income.
If you find yourself in this situation (or are already in it), here are the financial steps that can help you regain your financial footing as soon as possible.
Work with a lawyer
If the other party is at fault for the accident, you have the right to receive financial compensation for the physical, mental, and physical harm that you incur—as well as the damages to your vehicle. However, acquiring the right amount of compensation that you deserve is not always easy; many insurance companies will try to lowball the settlement and make it difficult for you to receive it. In this case, it is best to work with a lawyer that can help you get the maximum compensation that you deserve.
Better yet, hire a lawyer that specializes in the condition of your accident. For example, if you were hit by an 18-wheeler truck, seek a lawyer for accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks that has experience dealing with accidents involving large commercial vehicles.
Talk to your employer
If the accident leaves you unable to work, talk to your employer as soon as possible to discuss what will happen to your job. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your employer may be able to keep you as an employee and wait for you to recover. Until then, you may be eligible for long-term or short-term disability benefits, as well as coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act. If necessary, you can also request to use up your remaining leaves while you recover from your injuries.
Contact your insurance company
For many victims, medical expenses are the major cause of financial strain after the accident. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you can easily end up with thousands of dollars in medical bills, some of which you may have to pay out of your own pocket.
If the accident is not your fault, the other party should be the one responsible for paying for your medical expenses. However, getting money from their insurance company is not always a quick process. While waiting for your settlement, you may have to use your own health insurance coverage to pay for the hospital bills, so be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the accident.
See if you are eligible for SSD
Aside from a personal injury claim and disability benefits, you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as well. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to individuals with qualifying disabilities, and serious injuries caused by car accidents are often part of the list.
However, there are certain conditions that you need to meet before qualifying for SSD benefits. The SSA considers you to be “disabled” if:
- You have serious physical and/or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or longer.
- You cannot perform the work you did previously.
- You do not receive substantial amounts from other gainful activities (based on a defined limit).
- You cannot perform less demanding work.
Keep in mind that you may be eligible to receive SSD benefits even if your injuries are temporary. Also, the application process can take some time, so it is highly advisable to send your application to the SSA as soon as possible.
Cut down your spending
Slashing your current budget may not be the ideal thing to do after such a taxing event, but it is critical to maintain your financial safety net while you are out of work. Limiting your spending is a great way to do this. Based on your current income or the amount of emergency cash you have, rework your existing budget into a new one that will be able to stretch your money across all of your most important needs.
Talk to your creditors
Most creditors will be sympathetic toward your situation, which can help you delay your payments (mortgage, auto loan payments, credit card bills, etc.) or come up with a new payment schedule. In doing so, you can take at least some weight off your shoulders and focus on meeting your most essential expenses.
A serious car accident is not only physically and emotionally taxing—but it can also make a huge impact on your finances as well. Nevertheless, these strategies can help you stay afloat while you recover and, eventually, help you get back on track.