How much is your car accident claim worth? As unsatisfying as the answer may be, the truth is, there’s no way to predict an exact dollar amount. Generally speaking, the worse your injuries are, the higher the settlement amount will be. How much to expect from a car accident settlement really depends on several unique factors, which we discuss below.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Damages?
While there’s no set formula for calculating car accident settlements, you can be pretty sure that the insurance company will try to pay out as little as they can get away with. This is why hiring an injury attorney to negotiate or litigate your case is so important.
Insurance companies have a basic idea of how much they would pay if the case went to trial. They’ll add your lost wages and your medical expenses together, and then multiply that by two. In certain cases, the actual value a jury might award a plaintiff can be much higher. In other cases, it can be lower.
Calculating Economic and Noneconomic Damages
Medical expenses and lost wages — economic damages — are easy to calculate. You get a bill from the hospital, or you miss a certain amount of days from work. As a result, you have tangible evidence of these losses. Pain and suffering damages, on the other hand — noneconomic damages — are much more difficult to calculate.
Generally, juries are of the opinion that the higher your medical expenses are, the more pain you must be in. But that isn’t necessarily the case. You can be in a great deal of pain and have a relatively low hospital bill. Your attorney’s job is to ensure the insurance company and the jury knows how much and what you lost because of the other driver’s negligence.
Noneconomic damages are calculated on a per diem basis. To recover these damages, it’s important to document everything. This includes medical reports from your doctor and even witness testimony from your family.
Types of noneconomic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional pain, anxiety, or trauma;
- Loss of enjoyment;
- Reduced quality of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
For instance, let’s say you broke your finger in a car accident. Your medical expenses may not be very high and you may not even miss any time from work. But now you can’t enjoy your Friday bowling league for the next few months. The insurance company doesn’t care about your bowling league nor do they care that you’re not going to be able to do something you once enjoyed. Your lawyer, on the other hand, does and can use this this point when discussing a fair settlement.
Additionally, claims for emotional trauma will generally be ignored by the insurance company. But if you have difficulty getting back into your car, require others to drive you around, or are now experiencing panic attacks, that information needs to be provided to the insurance company. Not only has your overall quality of life has been reduced, but you now also have to deal with a negative impact on your ability to leave your home, see your friends, or even go to work.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Negotiate a Fair Settlement
You deserve to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and any quality of life issues that you now have to deal with because of someone else’s negligence.
When you hire an attorney to handle your claim, we will go over a full checklist of potential damages related to the injuries you sustained in your car accident. Your attorney will also gather evidence needed to prove your case, handle all interactions with the insurer, and carefully build and present your claim. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we can take the case to trial if necessary.
In other words, when you have a car accident attorney negotiate on your behalf, you can expect to recover much more money than you would otherwise.
Contact Brylak Law Today
If you’ve been involved in an accident, don’t settle for less than your claim is worth. An experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer can help you recover full compensation for your losses and make sure that you protect your rights. To learn more about how much to expect from a car accident settlement, and how an attorney can help, call Brylak Law today.