How Are Car Accident Settlements Figured Out?

You've probably seen the advertisements on television and on billboards where accident victims brag about being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their losses. On the other hand, some people walk away from an accident with about $20,000. When an accident happens to you, it's only natural to wonder how much money you can receive, but what determines your compensation? To find out the answer, read below.

Seek Legal Help

It's going to be difficult to determine how much money you may be entitled to without speaking to a lawyer. That's partially due to wild expectations and accident victims who miscalculate their compensation. Compensation is based on your losses, and those losses include:

  • Medical treatment expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost or damaged personal property
  • Pain and suffering

These losses can be calculated using several methods. A personal injury lawyer will calculate your losses based on a commonly used method in your area or the one used by specific insurance carriers. The method used may not be as important as determining a ballpark figure for a settlement. It's important to know how much to expect. The following methods may seem rather complicated, but your attorney will be doing the math for you. It might be interesting to see how it's done, though.

Using Factors or Multipliers

Some expenses are fixed and known, but others have to be calculated. You can add up things like your wrecked car, lost wages, and medical expenses, but pain and suffering are a different issue. This method uses the medical expenses category to determine the payment for pain and suffering. The dollar amount of your medical expenses is multiplied by a factor from 1.5 to 5. That gives you your pain and suffering losses, which is added to the other fixed expenses. The total forms the settlement.

Account for all Losses

Accident victims should be prepared to look ahead in addition to seeking compensation for past accident losses. Not all physical injuries can be addressed in the time right after the accident. Since all personal injury cases must abide by the statute of limitations, you must take action before time runs out. In some cases, legal action must go forward even when the victim has not reached full healing, and that is where future medical expenses come in. It's important that accident victims, their doctors, and their lawyers stay in communication about what may be needed in the future. That sum should be part of your settlement.

To find out more about what you might be receiving in a settlement, speak to an auto accident attorney.