Car accidents are extremely common—especially in Orange County—but for many people, filing a car accident claim is a first. While experiencing a car accident due to another driver’s negligence will always be an inconvenience, getting a fair settlement from their insurance company can help compensate you for the damages, pain, and suffering the wreck causes in your life. Before you begin pursuing this or talking to the insurance companies, it is important to know exactly what a car accident settlement is, how to determine what a fair amount is, and why you should consider working with an attorney to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Included in a Car Accident Settlement?
If you are receiving compensation from a car accident that happened due to another driver’s negligence, the total amount that their insurance pays to you is referred to as the settlement. As part of the settlement, there are two types of damage categories to consider: economic and non-economic. Your settlement will encapsulate everything in these two categories and (should) total a sum that fairly compensates you for all that you have had to endure.
Economic Car Accident Damages
Economic damages after a car accident refer to everything that resulted in an out of pocket cost for you. This includes things such as payments for medical treatments, lost wages for the time spent away from work due to the accident, damages to your vehicle, cost of a rental car, and any medical bills your doctor anticipates you sustaining due to the long-term impact of your injury.
Non-Economic Car Accident Damages
In addition to the damages that have specific dollar amounts tied to them, there are also more abstract damages that can be a result of a car accident, which are considered non-economic damages. This category encapsulates things such as the emotional trauma of the accident, general suffering, and compensation for the pain the accident has caused.
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
Because every car accident is extremely unique, it is difficult to make any concrete determinations on how much your settlement will be worth when it is all said and done. However, we can help you by providing some information on how car accident settlements are calculated, so you can better understand what a fair settlement amount for your claim will be.
First, you will consider the economic damages involved in the accident, including car repairs, medical bills, and any lost wages you have sustained. This will give you the bare minimum amount that your claim is worth, and then to calculate non-economic damages, you will work up from there. Because pain, suffering, and trauma can be so difficult to calculate, many insurance adjusters will use what is referred to as multipliers to determine the total value of your settlement. They will take the concrete economic damage amount and multiply it by a factor to get the total value of your settlement. In some cases, there are policy maximums to consider as well, which is something that your attorney can help you navigate.
Can I Depend on the Insurance Company to Offer Me a Fair Claim?
While it is normal to want to assume that the insurance company is working to provide you with a fair amount regarding your reimbursement amount, that is unfortunately not always the case. The insurance company with the at-fault driver will naturally want to settle for as little as possible and might offer you an amount too low to compensate for the difficulties you have endured as a result of the accident in question. Insurance companies are especially likely to do this if the victim does not have legal representation, as they may assume that those who are not working with an attorney are less likely to fight for what they deserve.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me With a Settlement?
If you have been in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, working with a car accident attorney is one of the best things you can do to ensure you get the fairest claim possible. A car accident attorney can work with accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and police officers to determine the details regarding the accident and how much will be a fair settlement to compensate you both for your current and future economic losses as well as the non-economic impacts the accident has had on your life. A car accident attorney will be able to walk you through every step of the process and fight with the insurance company on your behalf—essentially, they will focus solely on getting you the best settlement possible so you can focus on healing physically and emotionally from the damages the car accident has caused.
If you have been in a car accident and would like to discuss your options with an attorney, please don’t hesitate to call us at (714) 970-4770.