You may have seen on TV or heard about people who were paid millions of dollars in car accident claims across the United States, but how true is this? How is the value of your claim determined?
Well, settlements are based on the old insurance principle that no one should benefit from a misfortune. A payout is given with the aim to return you to your economic state immediately before the accident happened. A number of factors go into determining this.
In Washington State, whether you are filing a car accident claim with your own insurer or another driver’s, the insurance company through an adjuster will almost certainly use some formula to determine how much your case is worth. You can use a Kent car accident lawyer to determine if the settlement offer is representative of the damages and injuries the accident caused you. They can also check if the right criterion was used in calculating your claims worth. Read on for factors to consider when calculating damages following a car accident in Washington.
Compensation for damages to your vehicle is based on repair costs and value of replacing the car if it is totaled. Many policies do not have a vehicle replacement value, so you may not get the exact amount of money required to replace the damaged car with a new one.
Property damage claims and bodily claims are usually handled separately and the latter is more likely to make up for the bulk of your settlement in total. It is also more complicated as it may require all medical documents associated with the accident and any previous injuries that may have contributed to the severity of the current injury.
While some injuries are only trivial and do not necessitate prolonged hospital stays, some can be life-altering and may affect the victim’s ability to work for a certain period of time and hence indirectly lead to loss of income. That has to be paid for by your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance. Doctor reports usually give an extensive insight into the severity of the victim’s injury and its downtime.
Pain and suffering
The above damages are all considered “economic” as they have a direct or indirect connection with actual loss of money. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage and may not provide a way of attaching a price tag to it. The insurance company may use multiplier of up to 5 to come up with the value of this loss, depending on the severity of your injuries.
So, basically, the adjuster will calculate your economic damages, determine a suitable multiplier and then multiply the two to determine your non-economic damages. A good attorney will strive to ensure you get a fair multiplier.
Insurance adjusters always come up with the lowest settlement offers possible, so do not blindly agree to whatever you are presented with. Hire a car accident lawyer to help you with the calculations and ensure you are not paid a penny less than you deserve.