There are many car accident settlement calculators available online, but they should only be used to provide an estimate of your eventual settlement.
This article will shed light on some of the key variables that can only be determined by examining the details of the case.
Two Primary Factors When Determining Your Settlement
The value of your settlement will ultimately depend on proof of liability and the severity of your injuries.
1. Proof of Liability
The majority of car accidents are the result of negligence, either the negligence of one or more drivers to drive safely, or negligence to implement safe road design. In some states, if you were even a little bit responsible for the accident you won’t be able to recoup any of your associated expenses. California follows the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence” which means that you may recover costs in direct proportion to the negligence of the other driver. So if you were hit by a car and and were 80% at fault, you would be entitled to recover 80% of your costs.
Police reports are a strong indicator to insurance companies of who was at fault during the accident. If you were hit from behind or hit by a driver who was making a left turn, the other driver will almost always be found liable for the accident.
2. Severity of Injuries
It’s simple: the worse your injuries are, and the longer your life will be debilitated by them, the more money you’re likely to get. And there is such a wide spectrum of injuries possible to sustain in a car accident that what you think is severe may not seem so bad to an insurance adjuster. You must validate your case with medical records from professional medical treatment facilities, and be able to show that you followed your doctor’s recommended course of treatment. (Don’t seek unnecessary treatment; it’s unlikely that you will be reimbursed for a visit to an herbalist.)
Try to imagine that you are a member of a jury and view your case objectively. Did you follow proper procedure after the accident? How much proof do you have?
Negotiation in Car Accident Settlements
While it’s easy enough to provide proof of economic damages, there is usually some “wiggle room” in proving the value of noneconomic damages. This is why getting a lawyer who can negotiate well is key to your settlement. A skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to persuade an insurance adjuster that your noneconomic damages are worth more than they originally offer. A lawyer can also be very resourceful in finding more types of evidence than you may think of on your own.
So instead of trusting an online car accident settlement calculator, consider contacting a trusted personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.