As you might expect, there’s nothing straightforward about calculating a car accident settlement. Still, there must be some type of formula insurance companies use to figure out how much money you’re owed after an accident, right? While every case is different, it’s possible to get a rough estimate of what you might be offered by an insurance company, and there are a few things they will take into consideration before offering you any type of settlement.
Your Injuries and Medical Expenses
The first things an insurance company will look at are your injuries and your medical expenses. It’s important for you to take into account everything that’s happening now, as well as what problems you might face in the future. This is a step many people forget. Perhaps now you only have some minor discomfort in your back, with the occasional twinge of pain. A few years down the road, however, you might end up needing back surgery. Your car accident settlement should include money to cover everything.
Vehicle and Property Damage
Secondly, the insurance company will look at the amount of damage that has been done to your vehicle and/or personal property as a result of the accident. If your car wasn’t totaled, you’ll have to take it to a shop for an estimate. Once they have this estimate, this number will be added into the total they offer you in your car accident settlement.
Loss of Income
If you work, a car accident almost always results in a loss of income for one reason or another. Perhaps you were hit while you were on your way to work, or maybe you have to take time off to have medical tests done. You may even lose a longer period of time at work because you had to be hospitalized or you needed surgery. You will need documentation to prove how much income you have lost since the accident, as well as how much you expect to lose in the future.
Non-Economic Damages are more difficult to prove because they don’t carry any definite numbers with them. That means they’re not easy to calculate. Things like pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional trauma and mental anguish are all non-economic damages that should and can be compensated for. An attorney will understand the need for this type of compensation, so it’s important for you to talk with one rather than communicating with the insurance company yourself.
The most important thing you need to remember is that insurance companies are not interested in providing you with a “fair” settlement, at least not in their eyes. They hope you’ll agree to a low number so that they can keep their investors happy. Your best course of action is to hire an attorney. Only a qualified, experienced attorney will be able to fight to get you the amount of money that’s really fair for your particular situation. If you decide to battle the insurance company on your own, you will certainly lose out on the wealth of legal knowledge and information an attorney can offer you.