It is not uncommon for car accident victims to wonder what settlement they can expect for their car accident claim. But, without a thorough evaluation of your case, there can be no clear-cut answer to this question.
However, there are several things to consider that will provide insight into how car accident settlements are calculated, what factors are considered, and how an experienced car accident attorney, like those at eAccidents, can increase your chances of getting the highest settlement possible for your claim.
Auto Insurance Coverage in California
One of the main factors that will influence your California car accident settlement is the amount of insurance coverage available. The value of a personal injury claim depends on the amount of insurance coverage available to cover the claim.
California requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. The value of your claim will be greatly influenced by the maximum value of the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy.
If your damages exceed the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, you may have to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. An experienced California car accident attorney will be prepared to take your case to trial if need be.
What is Included in a Car Accident Settlement?
If you have been injured in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, you are entitled to be compensated for the damages you have suffered. These damages are separated into two main categories:
1. Economic damages; and
2. Noneconomic damages
Economic damages usually have a fixed dollar amount already associated with them, and are easy to calculate. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, do not have a fixed dollar amount associated with them, and are much more difficult to calculate. These include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Current and Future Medical Expenses
When discussing a settlement amount for your California car accident claim, you must keep in mind that not only do you need to be compensated for your current medical expenses, but your future medical expenses as well.
More often than not, the other driver’s insurance company will offer you a quick settlement before the full extent of your injuries has been determined. If you accept such a settlement, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.
Accepting a settlement too soon after a car accident and without knowing the full extent of your injuries, could leave you having to pay for all of your future medical expenses out of your own pockets. This is because, once you accept a settlement, you cannot go back to court and ask for more money to cover additional medical expenses that you weren’t aware of when you accepted the settlement.
An experienced California car accident attorney will consult with your medical doctors to understand the extent of your injuries, and to estimate the cost of any future medical treatment, rehabilitation, or care you might need in the future, before he or she advises you to accept a settlement offer.
Your Ability To Return to Work
Aside from your medical expenses, another component of a car accident settlement is compensation for past and future lost wages and income. This includes wages and income you have already lost due to your injuries, as well as, wages and income you anticipate losing in the future.
For example, if you can’t return to work, or if you can return to work but not in the same position as before the accident, you must take into account how that will hurt your earning capacity. These potential losses should be discussed between you, your attorney, your doctors, and vocational experts when establishing the value of your case.
Your settlement may also include compensation for certain non-economic damages, such as:
• Pain and suffering;
• Embarrassment and humiliation;
• Loss of consortium; and
• Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
This will often times require the assistance of a noneconomic damages expert to define and calculate the various noneconomic losses you have suffered as a result of your car accident injuries.
Finally, there are various out-of-pocket expenses you can claim during car accident settlement negotiations, such as:
• The cost of a rental car;
• The cost to repair or replace your car;
• Transportation to and from medical appointments;
• Necessary modifications to your home to accommodate your condition, like a wheelchair ramp;
• The cost of a wheelchair, prosthetic limb, or other necessary medical devices;
• The cost of in-home care; and
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Settlement Amounts?
These days, insurance companies rely on computer software to calculate settlement amounts. The problem with this is that these software programs cannot accurately factor in a person’s pain and suffering. Nor can they foresee future expenses caused by complications with injuries, or account for the fact that the same type of accident and resulting injuries can affect two individuals in vastly different ways.
The good news is that you do not have to accept the settlement amount that these programs calculate for your car accident claim. With the assistance of an experienced California car accident attorney, you may be able to negotiate a settlement that is substantially greater than the amount that was first calculated for your claim.
Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact eAccidents today at (844) 400-0123 for a free, no-obligation consultation today. We can help you obtain the maximum settlement amount possible for your injuries and handle your case from beginning to end. For assistance with negotiating a settlement for your California car accident claim, contact an experienced California car accident attorney from eAccidents today.