Despite some cheesy TV lawyers’ claims, there is no accurate way to quickly accurately project how much money one might get from a car crash settlement. Each collision is different and each case value depends on many variables. Rather than relying on averages, you may have a car accident attorney review the specific and unique details of your case to identify the important variables and to determine their values.
Who Calculates the Value of a Car Crash Settlement?Two primary parties will determine the value of a settlement for injuries of a car crash:
- Your attorney - The attorney who represents you will conduct his or her own calculation of your losses.
- Insurance company - Usually, the insurance company (or companies) covering drivers involved in car crashes evaluate crash-related losses. You may not be surprised to find out that your attorney’s calculation of losses can differ from the insurance company’s calculation of losses and should be more realistic as well.
What Losses Should Your Settlement Cover?When you pursue compensation through insurance, you should seek compensation for economic losses including the damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, and lost income. In addition, we will need to determine your non-economic damages, or the value of your pain and suffering, inconvenience, anxiety, etc. You should also consider any future losses you might suffer. You may need to project the value of future losses if:
- You are not sure about each of the injuries you sustained;
- Your injury symptoms are still present and you are not sure how long they may last;
- You have other losses which are currently unsettled.
How Do I Seek a Settlement After a Car Crash?Insurance companies may offer a settlement after your crash. The big question is whether the insurance company’s offer will cover all your damages. If an insurance company’s settlement offer does not cover all of your losses, you may:
- Present your own counteroffer (not recommended without first hiring counsel);
- Hire an attorney to lead negotiations with insurers;
- File a lawsuit to raise the stakes of negotiation;
- Try the case in court to have others (judge or jury) decide the value.
Why Do People Injured in Car Crashes Hire Attorneys to Help Get a Settlement?Most car crash cases settle, but that does not mean that settlements come easily nor that all cases should settle. You will probably experience significant resistance from insurance companies before receiving a fair offer. Even then, a truly fair offer may never come. In this case, you may need to file a lawsuit to pursue the fair compensation. For many injured in car crashes, the prospect of successfully negotiating with an insurance company is unrealistic. You may choose a lawyer to handle negotiations on your behalf because:
- Auto insurance companies take in about $240 billion annually from policyholders and those premiums afford insurers substantial resources to fight claims;
- Insurance companies employ experienced negotiators and software who may have the upper hand over inexperienced negotiators;
- You have injuries that require you to receive proper treatment;
- You believe that an attorney’s prior experience negotiating insurance settlements is a benefit to your own case.
How Do Attorneys Help People Injured in Car Crashes?An injury lawyer may assist you by helping you to:
- Identify exactly how much money you may receive for your injuries;
- Gather evidence related to your crash and your losses;
- Document your losses with medical records, medical bills, invoices for vehicle repairs, and other relevant documentation;
- Handle negotiations with insurance companies;
- File your lawsuit;
- Try your case if necessary.