How Much Can I Get in a Car Accident Settlement?
May 9th, 2019 by McNeely | Stephenson
With millions of car crashes every year in the U.S. — including tens of thousands of deaths and untold numbers of injuries — you’d think there would be an easy-to-use formula to determine how much you can get in a car accident settlement.
The reality is far from simple. Liability, or who is at fault for the wreck, must be determined. The total cost of your injuries and lost wages related to the accident must be tallied. And when the insurance company does offer a settlement, negotiation is essential to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been hurt in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s careless driving, a New Albany car accident lawyer will fight for your interests in negotiations with insurance companies and in court.
Understanding Comparative Liability
Both Indiana and Kentucky are comparative liability states. This means that even if you bear some responsibility for the accident, you may be able to receive damages, or compensation. Under Indiana’s “modified” comparative liability system, you can recover if it’s determined that your fault is less than 51%. In Kentucky, a “pure” comparative liability state, you are eligible for damages even if you are found to be 99% responsible for the accident! In both states, the amount you are awarded may be reduced based on the percentage of your liability.
Determining Damages for How Much You Can Receive in a Car Accident Settlement
If you are injured in a car wreck, your lawyer will be able to help you determine which types of damages are applicable in your situation. Typically, you may receive compensation for:
- Repairs to your vehicle
- Medical bills
- Physical/cognitive therapy
- Ambulance cost
- In-home services
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages due to time spent recovering and loss of ability to earn money in the future
- Pain and suffering: mental, physical, and emotional distress suffered as the result of the accident.
In order to decide how much to offer in a settlement, an insurer may take the actual dollar value of your claim (bills and lost wages) and then, depending on the severity of the injury, multiply that number by one to five to incorporate compensation for pain and suffering. This is known as the “multiplier method.”
Another approach to calculating pain and suffering is called per diem (Latin for “per day”). Using this formula, in addition to the clear-cut costs, insurers will add a certain dollar amount daily from the date of the accident until recovery.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident is a frightening and disorienting experience. You may be in a bit of a panic, worrying about the health of yourself and your passengers and the costs of the medical bills, car repairs, and other expenses.
So when an insurance company comes along and offers what seems like a nice sum of cash, we understand that it’s tempting to take it and move on.
But you need a good attorney to ensure you receive not just a lowball offer, but all of the damages you need for current and future expenses related to the accident. Don’t face Big Insurance alone. Call the New Albany car accident lawyers at McNeely Stephenson for a free initial consultation. We serve those in Indiana and Kentucky.