29th October 2020
Are you struggling with your bills after a car accident?
After you get into a car accident, you will probably figure out pretty quickly that bills are going to be an issue. How are you going to pay back your medical debt? What are you going to do about the wages you lose while you are receiving treatment and recovering from your injuries? What if your car was damaged beyond what your insurance covers? There may be many questions like this floating around in your head. And it’s normal to be stressed after an accident occurs. Many people go through this every day, and an experienced attorney can help relieve you of that stress. The claim process can be stressful, but we’re here to help.
According to Driver Knowledge, on average three million people are injured in car accidents in the United States each year. Two million of those people are left with permanent injuries because of car accidents.
The top causes of car accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, not adapting to poor weather conditions, running a red light, inexperienced driving, and aggressive driving. The cause of your car accident plays a role in your claim’s worth, as the cause can often affect how bad your injuries are as well as how much your total damages amount to.
How is the Value of my Car Accident Claim Calculated?
Your car accident value is based on a variety of different factors. However, it can generally be calculated based on the total amount of your damages. This means the combined economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to any damages that have a monetary value associated with them. Economic damages commonly include medical bills, such as hospital visits, ambulance rides, surgery costs, therapy costs, and more, as well as compensation for any lost wages both past and future.
Non-economic damages are harder to determine and are more flexible. Non-economic damages are calculated based on a variety of factors, but are often determined based on how much your life has changed because of the accident. These damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and any compensation for permanent injury or disability.
Medical expenses play a huge part in the compensation that you receive for your claim. The amount you accumulate in medical expenses depends on how severe your injuries are and how much treatment they require.
For example, a traumatic brain injury will require much more treatment for a more extended period than a broken bone would. The more treatment you need, the higher the cost.
Medical expenses include:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance rides
- Surgery costs
- Physical therapy
- Doctor’s visits
Your accumulated medical expenses will be used in part to calculate the economic damages that you’ve incurred.
In a car accident, property damage most often refers to the damage to your vehicle. If your car is damaged or totaled, your personal car insurance will usually cover the costs. You may have to pay for repairs past a certain amount or pay for a new vehicle in some cases. You can receive compensation for these damages as well.
If any other property was damaged because of the car accident, you would be able to claim compensation for any bills associated with further damage as well.
After your accident, you’ll likely have to take time off to recover from your injuries. The more severe your injuries are, the more time off you’ll have to take. Taking even a week off from work can result in a significant loss.
The more severe your injuries are, the more time you’ll have to take off, and the more money you’ll lose from being out of work. You can receive compensation for the wages that you lost while you were out because of your injuries.
Future Lost Income
In the cast that your injuries are severe, you may be looking at an extended period off from work, extending past your case. This will be taken into account when determining your claim’s value.
If you have to continue to miss work in the future, you will receive compensation for the estimated amount of time you’ll be out of work. You can also receive compensation for loss of earning capacity. If you’re unable to return to your same job again because of your injuries, loss of earning capacity compensation can cover you.
Future Medical Expenses
In the same vein, you can also be awarded compensation for any future medical expenses you may require. If your treatment is ongoing, your doctor will provide your attorney with a detailed document showcasing exactly what kind of costs you can expect to pay in the future.
These costs include:
- Specialists or doctor’s visits
- Medical equipment or supplies
What is a multiplier, and how do they affect a car accident claim’s value?
A multiplier is sometimes used by attorneys and insurance companies to calculate how much compensation someone should receive. Multipliers can range from 1.5 to 5. Some attorneys and insurance adjusters will use this multiplier method to determine pain and suffering compensation, as there isn’t a straight-forward used-across-the-board method for determining it.
To determine the multiplier being used (for example, 1.5x vs. 3x), insurance companies will look at how severe your injury is, how long it will last, and how painful your injuries are. If your injury isn’t very severe, won’t last very long, and isn’t too painful, you’ll have a much lower multiplier than someone who has a very severe, long-lasting, and painful injury.
They will then take the multiplier they’ve chosen and multiply your economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages, property damage) by it to receive a general estimation of your non-economic damages.
However, most attorneys and insurance companies do not use this (or any other) method to determine your non-economic damages. Most will look at how your quality of life has changed pre and post-accident and come up with a figure based on that net change.
What Factors Affect my Car Accident Claim?
As previously stated, your car accident claim is determined by a variety of different factors, including:
- how your accident was caused
- if the at-fault party was acting with extreme negligence
- how severe your injuries are because of the accident
- how much your life has changed
There is no exact formula for calculating the exact value of your claim because every case is so different. An experienced attorney will be able to help you figure out exactly how much to expect.
Severity of Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries plays a huge role in determining how much your case is worth. For example, the more severe your injuries, the higher your medical bills are likely to be. And the more you’re likely to have suffered because of those injuries. An injury like a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury can have a much greater effect on one’s life opposed to a broken bone or an injury that has a fast recovery time.
Serious traumatic brain injuries can cause a person to fall into a coma or experience permanent brain damage, like the inability to remember things or perform certain tasks regularly. These changes in one’s life can have a huge impact on their happiness. Because of this, these victims are awarded higher compensation for pain and suffering damages, making their case value much higher.
Difference in the Quality of Your Life
When determining exactly how much a person will get from non-economic damages like pain and suffering, it’s important to look at how much the person’s life has changed before and after the accident. If one person lived a rather sedentary life and experienced injuries that they will fully recover from their case might not be worth as much as someone who lived an active lifestyle and now has a permanent injury or disability.
Other factors to take into consideration are the person’s potential to return to work. If you’ve been so severely injured that you can no longer perform your job, your case will be more valuable. If your injuries caused you to lose an important person in your life like a spouse or long term partner, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Liability and Negligence
Liability and negligence go hand in hand, and both play an important part in determining your case’s value. If you were partially negligent in causing your accident, your case may be worth less than it would be if you weren’t at-fault at all. If the person who was at-fault was acting with gross negligence, your claim may be worth more.
Trial Value vs. Settlement Value
Your claim has a different value depending on whether or not you settle your case or take it to court. The trial value is the full value of your case, the total of your damages. Your settlement value is often lower and is affected by the chance you have at winning your case if it were to go to trial. If you have a high chance of winning your case, your settlement value is higher. If you have a low chance of winning your case, your settlement value is lower.
Many clients are concerned about how long it may take to receive compensation. For these reason, they may be tempted to accept a settlement amount. However, we suggest taking your personal injury claim to trial if necessary to recover more compensation for you.
Why the Insurance Companies Want You to Settle Without a Lawyer
Insurance companies will usually try to get you to settle with them before you hire an attorney. This is why we suggest that you don’t speak to the insurance company at all before speaking with an attorney. They’ll try to get you to give a statement or sign away your right to file a lawsuit by offering you quick cash.
There are a few reasons they do this, but they know that they can easily take advantage of the recently injured by offering them money (knowing how badly they need it). Right after an accident, you’re vulnerable, and they know that.
They don’t want to have to pay a full settlement to you or pay for your medical injuries. By trying to persuade you into settling early and without a lawyer, they’re saving themselves a lot of money.
Not only that, but they’re also saving their reputation. If they don’t go to trial, no one will ever know. When an insurance company is constantly involved in trials and litigation, it’s a bad look for them.
Like most, they also want to avoid a lawsuit. They know that if you hire an attorney, they’ll have to face an entire lawsuit. It’s much easier for them to pay you little money upfront so they can avoid the entire process.
Only An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Explain Your Claim’s Value
While there are many valuable tools out there that can help you estimate just how much you should receive in a settlement or trial win, they’re not accurate. Only an experienced car accident attorney will be able to truly explain your claim’s value to you. As all claims are different, sitting down with an experienced attorney to discuss your claim is the only way to find out just how much it’s worth.
Contact an Experienced North Dakota Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in North Dakota, please contact our experienced attorneys for help. We’re ready and willing to help you get the compensation that you deserve. We’ll help to take the stress off of your plate while you’re focusing on recovering from your injuries. Our years of experience can help you get the high settlement or trial win that you deserve. For more information, contact us online, using our chat option, or by calling us at 701-609-1510.