The first step in filing a car accident compensation claim in Columbus, Ohio is evaluating an adequate amount of money you would approve to resolve your claim. Most insurance companies and injury attorneys depend on one formula or another to get an initiating point for settlement discussions. This is valid for a bodily injury lawsuit in accidents like a car accident case, a slip and fall injury claim, or any other personal injury case.
After a car accident, you may discover yourself confronting a mountain of bills and expenses. Getting your car repaired after an accident is expensive enough, not to mention you may also have growing medical costs and lost wages to speculate. In case your injuries are likely to result in serious or lasting impairment and disability, you may need to factor in future expenditures and deductions in monthly revenue as well. As such, you could require considerably more money than you even recognize at this point, and a Columbus car accident lawyer can help you figure out things better.
An experienced Columbus car accident lawyer from Babin Law can help you figure out a fair estimation of your compensation amount depending on the medical expenses, cost of repairs, loss of income, and other economic and non-economic damages.
Calculating Damages for a Car Accident Compensation Claim
There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages, which you must contemplate for an estimate for compensation from the at-fault driver. Let's take a closer peek at these damages and some specific examples.
Economic Damages in a Compensation Estimate
These damages can be manageable to put into an assessment for the insurance policies. You or an attorney can add up the expenditures you were billed for, like:
- Medical bills for emergency medical treatment, medications, ongoing care, etc.
- Lost income in both the past and future and loss of earning potential
- Lost or damaged possessions
- Other out-of-pocket expenditures associated with the incident
Keep your bills and receipts for these losses so that it's easy for you or your lawyer to prove your expenses when it's time to file your claim.
Non-Economic Damages in Your Car Accident Compensation Estimate
These sorts of damages are challenging to put in your calculation because they do not have a proper financial value and, accordingly, are tough to quantify. It may be beneficial for you to have a proficient attorney evaluate these damages and add them to your final estimate. Non-economic damages usually include:
- Pain, suffering, and/or emotional distress
- Reputational sufferings
- Loss of enjoyment from hobbies or activities
- Loss of the ability to take part in activities
- Worsened prior injuries
- Other losses related to the incident
In a wrongful death lawsuit, there may be excess damages, such as loss of consortium and companionship. Such losses can't be possibly measured for a person. A wrongful death lawyer from an experienced firm can help you calculate these losses for your estimate.
In some cases, the other party may not be able to compensate you fairly. If this happens to you, our lawyers may be able to help you via uninsured motorist claims (if you do have an uninsured motorist insurance policy), health insurance liens, and other financial resources for when a victim's needs exceed insurance limits.
How Do Adjusters Determine the Value of a Car Accident Compensation Claim?
When determining the value of your claim, insurance adjusters will start working instantly. Unfortunately, they constantly look for ways to delay or deny as much compensation as possible. To do this, they look for means to put some of the blame on you or insist that you had a pre-existing injury.
At the beginning of the procedure, the insurance adjuster will start adding up the medical expenses already consumed on your injury. They will multiply medical expenses by a number between 1 and 5 according to how serious they speculate your injuries to be. This is known as the multiplier method. It is this number that the adjuster will utilize as a base for negotiations.
The adjuster may use data from medical records or the lack of any injury photos as an excuse to slash the sum being offered. This is why it can be helpful to hire a Columbus car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance adjuster to help ensure you receive a fair settlement offer.
What is the Multiplier Method?
The multiplier method attempts to make the process of settling after a car accident a little easier. Insurance adjusters take the total value of particular damages and multiply that by a number, typically between 1 and 5. Minor injuries may get a multiplier of just 1, while more severe and lasting injuries and disabilities may receive special damages multiplied by 5. Three is often the most generally used multiplier. The end number is telling of the pain and hardships you experienced due to your accident.
The multiplier will be lower or higher based on several specific facts related to the case, like how bad the injuries are. How much medical treatment have you already received? How much treatment will you require in the future? Are you anticipated to make a full recovery? Will there be permanent or long-lasting effects? How have the accident and your sufferings affected your daily life? The list goes on.
Limitations of the Multiplier Method
As with any process, there are restrictions and drawbacks to using the multiplier method. While it may be moderately straightforward to use, it is inconsistent. An accident victim with a spinal cord injury could find one adjuster using a multiplier of three, while another may use a multiplier of just 2.
Plus, the multiplier method only looks at medical and other tangible bills. It fails to take into account an accident victim's true pain and suffering and their impacts on living circumstances. A victim who owes less in medical expenditures may experience more pain and suffering.
For instance, a surgeon who endures a hand injury may have considerably more pain and suffering as of their incapacity to proceed in their selected profession than a person who works a desk job. Pain and suffering are unusual and should be evaluated to properly evaluate the victims and their suffering.
Another strategy some insurance companies and adjusters practice is the per diem method. This method distributes a daily amount of pain and suffering based on the injuries. They may deduce your injuries are not serious, so a daily per diem of $15 or a certain amount a day may be enough. This method is not preferable either because it fails to fully take into account your certain sufferings and how they may affect your daily life, your relationships, and your future. In addition, a per diem value is incompatible at best.
How Accurate are Car Accident Settlement Calculators?
Many car accident victims want to use online car accident compensation settlement calculators to help determine if the amount for settlement they're collecting is fair. This may not be a valid way to calculate an insurance company's offer. Before deducing whether a settlement offer is fair and worth receiving, you must analyze several factors. Your pain and suffering are unique and cannot be properly calculated by a formula or any kind of online tool.
An experienced Columbus car accident lawyer is a helpful resource you can have for deducing the true value of your claim. A competent and qualified attorney can work with your medical team to infer how certain injuries will affect your future lifestyle. Any settlement you agree to must consider how your injuries affect your life, and the pain and suffering you endured and will proceed to experience.
These calculators may not be able to attain nearly enough data to give you a valid estimate. For instance, calculators aren't very good at obtaining information regarding any non-economic damages. Besides, different calculators obtain distinct information, so they may not be detailed and precise. An attorney can examine your injuries and give you an apparent idea of the compensation you could recover.
An average settlement, if it is fair, must cover severe injuries, incorporate a damage multiplier for non-economic losses, provide compensation for pain, cover fees of health care providers, compensate for mental anguish and memory loss, and more. Usually, the bodily injury liability coverage is enough to fulfill the monetary requirements for settlement ranges in an average car accident settlement. The compensation awarded by a court can be higher if the at-fault party has a poor accident history or if the damages exceed bodily injury liability limits, i.e., for extreme-level injuries and trauma, such as a life-threatening head injury, etc. You can seek legal representation without worrying about lawyer fees since most attorneys operate with contingency fees, meaning you don't pay unless they win a settlement for you.
What Information Do You Need to Calculate Your Compensation?
Before you begin evaluating your car accident compensation, it's essential to first collect crucial information. This data will help shed light on the injuries you suffered and includes:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket medical receipts
- Medication receipts
- Car repair bills
- Reduction in the value of car due to accident
- Future medical bills estimate
- Property damage receipts and assessments for items in the vehicle that were destroyed, such as laptops, cellphones, and car seats
The property value of your vehicle may decrease even after it is renovated. You can reach a dealership or repair shop to get a decent conclusion of what the improvements will cost and whether your trade-in or buy-back price will be decreased.
Do keep in mind that a lot of factors can influence the total value of your fair settlement demand, such as percentage of fault, the extent of accident injury claim, whether or not there is a permanent injury, and whether you used the personal injury settlement calculators correctly (let your Columbus car accident lawyer take care of this), damage to property, punitive damages, vehicle damage, major damage to your organs/limbs, persistent physical pain, diminished value claims, etc. Also, there might be times when you'll have to resort to uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage if the other party is not properly insured and can't pay you in full in any other way.
Reach Out to a Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or your loved one have been in a car accident in Ohio, and want to estimate the total settlement value for your claim, reaching out to a competent Columbus car accident lawyer can be really helpful. At Babin Law, our qualified and experienced personal injury lawyers can help evaluate your car accident compensation amount, adding in even the most complicated non-economic damages.
A car accident lawyer in Columbus, Ohio from our firm will not only devise an estimation but support your claim by taking on the insurance company of the other party and fighting for your fair compensation.
Contact us today to set up a free legal consultation.