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.
How Does One Calculate the Value of a Car Crash Settlement?
Calculating the value of injuries from a car crash may occur in several steps. Certain factors come into play including:
- Identifying insurance policies that apply to the car crash;
- Determining whose insurance policy should pay for damages;
- Determining which losses applicable insurance policies cover;
- Identifying coverage limits on applicable insurance policies;
- If there is not enough insurance, determining whether the at-fault party hasassets worth pursuing,
- Totaling the injured person’s damages including not only vehicle damage, but more importantly medical expenses and lost income.
Ideally, insurance policies will cover the full cost of your crash-related losses. If insurance does not cover your losses, the gap between insurance coverage and your losses will hopefully be minimal and covered by the at-fault party’s personal assets.
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.
Though both sides should complete an objective and accurate calculation of losses, this does not always happen. Insurance companies generally aim to pay as little as possible to injured parties while our attorneys will even the playing field and secure a fair recovery for our clients. These two opposing motives typically collide following a car crash.
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.
Your attorney can advise a course of action and conduct all calculations for you. People typically far underestimate their losses when they try to calculate them without the help of a lawyer.
Your lawyer may suggest that you wait to negotiate a settlement until your losses become clearer. If it is likely that your losses will not be realized soon (in the case of a long-term disability, for example), your lawyer can compose a projection for your future losses and then seek a settlement.
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.
Hiring an attorney may be the easiest route for people injured in a car crash who wish to be fairly compensated.
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.
You do not need a specific reason to hire a lawyer. You can simply hire one because you want to. Regardless of why you choose to hire a lawyer, they will have a clear mandate: To get the compensation you deserve through one means or another.
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.
Injury attorneys generally lead the entire legal process for their clients. From major aspects of the case (like negotiations) to the smallest details (like fact-checking a document), a lawyer will add significant value to your claim.
Can I Afford a Lawyer After a Car Crash?
Car crash lawyers work for contingency fees. Their fee is contingent on winning for the client, so the client owes nothing up front or out of their own pocket. So yes, you can afford a personal injury lawyer after a car crash.
Call a Qualified Bohn & Fletcher Lawyer Today to Discuss Seeking a Settlement for Your Car Accident
Do not wait to get a lawyer. Time can be your enemy and extinguish your claims. Your personal injury attorney may have a brief time to file your case and will want to maintain leverage with insurers by being able to file a car crash injury lawsuit. Complete a free consultation with our firm today. We will explain the next steps in your case.