When we represent a client in a car accident claim they often wonder what the settlement will be. Since every car accident has a unique set of circumstances, estimating the value of the claim at the beginning can be difficult. As we put together pieces of the case, we certainly will have a better idea of the value of the claim.
This outline is designed to give you an idea of how our Bakersfield car accident attorneys assess the value of a car accident claim.
Damage to the Vehicle
The car insurance company will assess the vehicle’s damage. They will use this information to determine if there is an injury claim value.
The medical expenses incurred (i.e., treatment for car accident injuries) relating to the car accident will be part of the damages. Generally, people who receive medical services at the accident site tend to receive more than four times the average settlement or award. On the other hand, those who were treated at a later date (i.e., for chiropractic care) tend to receive payments that are lower than the average.
Pain and Suffering
Compensation can include physical pain and suffering as a result of the accident as well as mental and psychological effects (i.e., fear, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of sleep). Since it can be hard to place a dollar amount on an individual’s pain and suffering, insurance companies tend to use a “multiplier” to calculate the damages. It is usually a number between 1.5 and 5 or 6 (1.5 for minor injuries, 5 or 6 for permanent disability) which is multiplied by the injured person’s total medical bills incurred.
Any current and future income loss is taken into account to help determine the value of the claim.
Loss of Enjoyment / Loss of Consortium
If the injuries from a car accident prevent or affect the person from enjoying daily activities, such as hobbies that they enjoyed prior to the accident, they may be entitled to compensation. Along the same lines, if a partner of an injured spouse loses physical companionship and support, known as “loss of consortium”, the partner may be awarded compensation (only if the injured person is successful in the main claim).
Liability in the Accident
If the person filing the claim is considered partially responsible for the auto accident, the settlement offer can be substantially lower or the jury can reduce the award in proportion to the person’s fault in the car accident.
Car accidents can and will impact your life. If you or a loved one has had a serious injury or loss in a motor vehicle accident, our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys have decades of experience helping people on the journey to putting their lives back on track.