When you’re seriously injured, for example, following a car accident, it can turn your life upside down. You may have to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time, and even after that, you might need rehab and different types of therapy.
For a lot of people, there are not only physical consequences of an injury but also very serious financial ones.
After an accident, you may not be able to work. Even if you file a personal injury lawsuit for your expenses, those can take time.
So how do you financially recover while you’re also working to recover physically?
The following are some important financial considerations and tips following an injury.
Seek Compensation If You Haven’t Already
First and foremost, if you are injured especially in a situation that wasn’t your fault, such as in a car accident where someone else is at fault, and you haven’t spoken to an attorney, you should.
The majority of car accident cases, to continue with that example, do end up settling. That means you can receive money from the party at fault or their insurance company without going to court.
Some of the many factors that may play a role in your settlement amount include:
• The severity of your injuries
• Whether or not your injuries affected your ability to work
• Whether your injuries limit your income earning potential
• If you require medical equipment, care or devices because of your injuries
• If you can’t do the activities you use to enjoy before the injury
If you were injured at work, similarly, you should think about seeking compensation. Your employer may be liable for some of your lost wages and medical bills.
Keep Track of All of Your Expenses
If you are impacted by an injury, you should keep careful notes and records of all of your expenses.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, you may need those records if you are seeking compensation.
Second, it can help you better budget and understand what’s going out versus coming in if you’re having financial difficulties.
You need to be honest with yourself about what you’re spending if you’re going to be able to make important changes that will help you regain your financial footing.
Nearly every one of us has expenses among what we pay for each month that we could reduce or cut out entirely.
Along with tracking expenses, it’s important to get organized with your finances overall. For example, you want to collect all of your medical bills and then make sure you know what the due dates are for each. Once you get organized, you may be able to get in touch with medical providers and see if they will work with you on some of your bills.
Medical companies are often flexible as long as you’re proactive and attempt to work with them.
You want to keep up with all of your insurance paperwork, and outside of medical bills, you need to ensure your other bills are being paid on-time as well. You may be overwhelmed if you were recently injured, and if so, consider having a loved one or friend help you organize your finances.
You can also think about using an app or software for budgeting.
Mint is one option that lets you combine all of your credit card and bank accounts in one interface, as well as your monthly bills. You can set it up so that it tells you when bills are due, and you can track your spending.
Get Creative with How You Earn Money
If you’re injured, and you can’t do your previous job or you’re dealing with financial issues because of medical bills, you can get creative with how you earn money.
For example, consider becoming a freelancer and using a site like Upwork to find jobs. This will allow you to work from home and to do so on a flexible basis.
While you’re physically recovering, you might even want to start revamping your career and professional life. For example, is now a good time to think about rewriting your resume to change careers?
Be Careful with Savings
If you have savings set aside, you may have to use it following an injury, but be strategic in doing so.
For example, if your savings is in certain investments and you take that money out too soon, you may have to pay a penalty.
Social Security Disability
If you’re injured, and that leads to permanent disability, you may consider applying for Social Security disability. For someone approved, you would receive a monthly payment.
You will need your medical records to go along with your claim.
What to Do with a Payout
If you do get a payout, for example, from an insurance company, this is also an important financial consideration. You don’t want to take it all and spend it wildly, because this has the potential to turn into a lifelong financial regret.
You should look at a payout for an injury as what it is—a reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost income, and future income declines.
Then, once you’ve planned accordingly, you might use your payout to do things like investing.
Finally, there are some things you should do to take care of yourself overall and not just financially. First, ask for help whenever possible. Your loved ones are there for you, so don’t feel ashamed to ask them for any help you might need if you’re seriously injured.
Beyond that, understand that any changes in your life can be difficult to cope with, particularly if they stem from an injury. Be kind to yourself as you navigate the situation, and know that whether you’re making general lifestyle changes or you have to cut your budget, that you will come out of the current situation.
It may be a tough short-term journey but much more manageable over the long term.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you could be compensated for your injuries, the best thing you can do is speak with a personal injury attorney.