You know you are owed compensation for your recent car accident, but how much? If you've been the victim of a careless driver, the financial ramifications of the wreck can add up fast. Even though the other driver is insured, you know you are entitled to more than what they are offering you. There are ways to predict how much money you could end up receiving because of the wreck, so read on to find out more.
Separate Your Damages
Before you can estimate your settlement, you should keep in mind that every case is different and the estimation guidelines below can only provide you with a ballpark figure. To truly know what you might deserve, you must have your case evaluated by a personal injury lawyer. Accident costs are known as damages and there are two types: special and general.
This category refers to damages with a specific dollar amount attached to them. This category of damages is easily calculated and proven using tangible items like receipts and medical bills. Your specials include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Personal property losses
It's important to count all medical expenses, no matter who is paying them. Assemble the receipts, statements, repair estimates, explanation of benefits, pay information for missed work, etc. from all sources and add them up to arrive at the total for special damages.
This category can be difficult to monetize. There are no receipts to explain the emotional damage caused by a car accident. Also known as pain and suffering, this damage category includes:
- Emotional issues like anxiety and depression.
- The difficulties of dealing with injuries and the effect on your day-to-day existence.
- The effect of the accident and the injuries on the rest of the family (loss of consortium).
The Severity of the Injuries
This area of the estimation can be a bit tricky since what is severe to some is not severe to others. For minor injuries in which you were not hospitalized or not hospitalized for long, your general damage award might be one or two times the special damages. To estimate the full settlement, add the totals for the specials to the product of the calculations. For example, if your specials totaled $25,000, you might be paid anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 on top of the dollar figure for the specials.
If your injuries were more serious and you needed surgery, long-term care, or if you have been left with a permanent injury, you should multiply your specials by a factor of three to arrive at a settlement figure.
This way of estimating a settlement depends on several facts:
- Liability – You should not be in any way at fault for the wreck.
- Legal help – You must speak to a personal injury attorney to help you negotiate for the best possible settlement.
- Location – settlements vary depending on the area.
To find out more, speak to a car accident lawyer in your area.