How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
When you start the process of a car accident claim with the help of your trusted personal injury lawyer you might be wondering what your settlement will be worth at the end of the line. Calculating car accident settlements is no easy matter, even more so when there are many determining factors that go into how much the case is worth as a whole.
When a car accident claiming process starts, both your insurance and your car accident lawyer will use certain formulas to determine the possible value of your settlement, and while its monetary value isn’t set in stone from the beginning, these preliminary calculations will help you average the value of your case through the car accident injury claiming process.
In car accident cases, the settlement values are calculated by the number of damages that will be awarded to the victim (plaintiff) and their worth. These damages will normally be paid by the fault driver or party (defendant) and their insurance. It is good to know that while it might be tempting to deal with the claiming process on your own, the defendant’s insurance will most likely try to lowball your settlement.
It is known that hiring a professional lawyer to handle your case will get you a settlement offer that is worth 4 times or more of what the defendant’s insurance offers. Not only that, but insurance companies will most likely try to compensate you as quickly as possible, not caring about your well-being nor the consequences of an accident.
When hiring Farahi Law Firm as your attorneys, we will hold the insurance’s hands to the fire and will make them pay for the true value of your settlement. Our attorneys will fight for your rights and get you the maximum compensation you deserve, not only for the present but also for future consequences that come from you being involved in an accident because of other’s negligent behavior and actions.
What Is the Average Car Settlement Amount?
Wanting to know the average amount of compensation one could get in a car accident claim is a common question, and certainly, everyone is eager to know when they start their claiming process. But sadly, there’s no real amount that can be used as an average.
Why is that? Because all car accidents are different and have many factors to them that can maximize or lower the settlement account. Medical bills, property damage repairs, insurance claim limits, subjective damages and more, contribute to the monetary compensation you’ll receive at the end of the claiming process.
With the help of an attorney, all these damages can be worth more, while letting just the insurance adjusters handle your claim will give you pennies on the dollar for your settlement.
What Kind of Damages Are Awarded in a Car Accident Settlement?
In a personal injury claim case relating to a car accident, the awarded damages for the victims are called Compensatory damages. As their name states, these are awarded to compensate the losses, both economic and non-economic that the plaintiff would have from the accident episode. There’s a third type that can be awarded under special circumstances called Punitive damages, these are awarded to punish the party at fault for particular grievous or underhanded behavior towards the victim.
The compensatory damages are categorized as follows.
Economic Damages– These are awarded to help the victim return to their financial situation before the accident and normally deal with:
- Medical Bills: In a personal injury case, there are bound to be medical expenses to be paid for the treatment you would receive, like physical therapy, these economic damages are awarded to do just that. Covering your medical costs both present and future is of utmost importance to us for you to have a healthy recovery from a car accident.
- Loss of Income and Earning Capacity: Because of the accident you are bound to miss work due to medical procedures, property damages, and pain and suffering from the accident, both physical and psychological which could severely affect your income and finances. When you are also affected to the point when your capacity to earn your future wages is diminished, you will also be awarded compensation for loss of earning capacity
- Property Damage or Loss: The material losses because of the accident, be it your vehicle or any other items that were lost due to the accident, are commonplace. Because of this, you’ll be awarded compensation for the repairs and recovery of the property at a fair market value over the price of your losses.
Non-Economic Damages:Non-economic damages or subjective damages, are awarded to the victims of accidents for losses that cannot be readily assigned a clear monetary value. While it can be a broad category subjective damages normally deal with:
- Pain and Suffering: The bodily pain and suffering that can come from an accident is no simple matter, same with the psychological scars that can appear from the event. While difficult to calculate, your attorney can help you make an estimate based on your particular circumstances and the repercussions from your car accident.
- Emotional Distress: One of the hardest types of damages to estimate, emotional distress varies from person to person. Let’s say an office manager and a professional jazz piano player get in an accident and both break their dominant hand and forearm.
The office manager can return to work and continue his life in a normal way quicker than the jazz piano player, who won’t be able to professionally do his job due to muscle memory loss and atrophy that comes from having their hand and arm in a cast for an extended period plus the rehabilitation time for him to play piano as he once did. This can cause severe emotional distress and even PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) to the victims of an accident.
- Reduction of enjoyment and Quality of life: This is intrinsically tied to the previous points, going by our previous example of the office manager and the jazz piano player. The Office manager might have done wood carving as a hobby, so having their dominant hand broken will certainly enjoy his favorite pastime from not being able to partake in the activity. This is called Quality of Life reduction and will be taken into account during the legal procedures and hearings to determine your settlement value.
Factors to Take into Account for Settlement Calculation
There are different factors used to calculate the worth of your settlement from a car accident. A wide array of things will affect the calculations made both by your insurance adjuster and your personal injury attorney.
You have to bear in mind that settlements vary from accident to accident as we said before. A serious accident that involved multiple injured parties and even wrongful death will be worth more than a fender-bender.
Still, the most important factors to calculate your settlement amount are:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Circumstances of the accident
- Insurance Policy limits
- Degree of fault in the accident
- Statute of limitations
Although insurance policy limits play a big part, if you want to handle the claim without an attorney, the insurance company of the party at fault will always try to lower your compensation as much as they can without even batting an eye at your needs. We offer to level the playing by making them pay for what you are owed after the car accident.
The degree of fault is another contributing factor. Because California rules itself under Comparative Negligence, this means that if you had any percentage of fault in the accident it will reduce your settlement by the same percentage. For example, if you had 20% of the fault, you would still receive 80% of the settlement.
How is a Car Accident Settlement Calculated?
There are many ways to calculate the value of your settlement after an accident, and while they aren’t totally precise these formulas serve as a tool to make an approximation to the total compensation you can receive.
The most common method of calculation is called the multiplier method and is commonly used by insurance adjusters to judge the severity of your damage as well as account for your pain and suffering.
With the multiplier method, the adjusters would take the economic damages, the subjective ones, the consequential expenses from the accident and add a multiplier number depending on the nature of these factors.
For example, if you accumulated $50,000 in medical expenses, the adjusters would deduce that you had surgery or an extended amount of time at the hospital as well as recurring treatment for your injuries, lost wages, etc. they would add a multiplier between 0.5 and 5 and use that to create an estimate. Let’s say your total expenses and damages go to $100,000 and we use a multiplier of 2, your settlement would technically be worth $200,000.
But always bear in mind that insurance companies are not your friends, they are in the business to make money, not take your well-being into account, and will use all the plays in the book to try to lower your settlement amount as much as possible.
Why You Should Hire a Car Accident Attorney to Help You?
When dealing with insurance adjusters, claims, and all the expenses that come from your car accident, a professional Car Accident Attorney will help you navigate through this process with ease, with us taking charge of all the paperwork and math that goes into determining your settlement amount.
Our expert personal injury attorneys specialized in car accidents are trained to navigate the claiming process and fight against the low-ball offers and tactics from insurance companies to lower your compensation amount.
We will get you the medical treatment you need and the money you deserve! There’s nothing more important to us than your well-being.
Our car accident lawyers would be extremely happy to help you in case you ever get into an accident. The best thing is that you don’t have to pay a cent out of pocket. That’s right, no attorney fees until we win!
If you ever get in an accident don’t hesitate to call your expert personal injury attorneys at Farahi Law Firm, APC at (844) 824 – 2955 for a free consultation and review of your case. Your Justice is Our Cause!