One of the most difficult parts of a car accident case is determining how much the negligent party’s insurance carrier should pay to settle the case. Different factors influence the value of an accident claim. The at-fault motorist, their insurance carrier, and their legal team will do everything they can to pay out as little as possible. That is why it is important to hire an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney to handle your claim and get you the full compensation that you deserve.
The Important Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Car Accident Claim
Insurance adjusters consider different factors when they evaluate a car accident claim. While these factors are case-specific and may differ with each case, below are some factors that may be common to most car accident claims.
- Liability: The first element most insurance adjusters look at when evaluating a case is who is liable for causing the injury or the underlying accident.
- The extent of the injuries suffered: The next important factor to consider is the extent of the claimant’s injuries. Generally, the more severe the injury, the greater the medical bills will be. And the more medical bills the claimant has incurred, the greater the settlement value may be.
- Whether the injury is permanent: Another major factor in evaluating a motor vehicle claim is whether the claimant’s injuries are short-term or temporary in duration versus long-term and permanent in duration.
- Loss of wages: The income lost due to the claimant’s injuries may also be a potential item in evaluating a personal injury claim. This also includes the claimant’s potential future earning capacity, or the income the claimant would have earned but for the accident.
Evaluating a car accident claim is as much an art as it is a science. In order to get the full extent of the damages that you are entitled to, it is imperative that your Los Angeles car accident attorney knows how to evaluate the nature and extent of your injuries as well. Without understanding the different factors that the insurance adjuster will consider, your attorney will not be able to get you the full damages you deserve.
What Damages Am I Entitled To?
Like any other personal injury claim, you can recover two types of damages as part of your car accident claim: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are generally straightforward to quantify. This type of damage includes anything you can actually prove, including:
- Medical Expenses. You can prove the value of your medical expenses by submitting any and all bills for medical care and treatment you have received as a result of injuries suffered in the car accident. These bills include those from the ambulance and emergency room, treating physicians, specialists, prescription medications, equipment and supplies, procedures, physical therapy and chiropractic care, surgeries, and ongoing treatment.
- Future Medical Treatment. The most effective way to prove bills and costs for future medical treatment is for your Los Angeles car accident attorney to hire expert witnesses.
- Loss of income. You can also get compensation for any loss of income you have suffered as a result of injuries that prevented you from working. You may also be entitled to compensation for any income you lost for days taken off for attending doctor’s appointments or recovering from surgical procedures.
- Property damage. The cost to repair your car and its contents is standard economic damage.
Unlike economic damages, you cannot prove non-economic damages with bills and invoices. This type of damages may be harder to prove, but not impossible. Your Los Angeles car accident attorney may need to interview witnesses, hire more experts, and look at the other facts of your case. Your non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The Multiplier Method Explained
The multiplier method is one of the main ways insurance adjusters calculate the cost of non-economic damages. This method works by applying a multiplier to the sum of total special damages. The multiplier method is premised on the belief that injuries with more quantifiable damages, like surgical bills, often involve more serious car accidents and as such require a multiplier to determine the accident’s true cost.
For example, if your medical bills following a car accident are $10,000 and your injuries led to $2,000 in lost income, insurance companies, and their attorneys will typically multiply the sum of the actual damages ($12,000) by a figure that often falls somewhere between one and five, with three being the most common multiplier. In this case, the total damage amount would be $36,000.
Other factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the amount of time needed for recovery, and any aggravating circumstances, will generally increase or decrease the multiplier.
The Drawbacks of Trying to Settle Your Auto Accident Case Without a Lawyer
Although you are not required to be represented by a Los Angeles car accident attorney in order to settle your claim, it can significantly impact your case if you don’t have one. Below are some mistakes you can make if you try to settle your accident claim without an attorney:
- Settling for too little money. When you are injured in a car accident caused by another party, it won’t be long before the other party’s insurance company contacts you. They will use every trick to get you to say things to undermine your case and make you agree to settle your case for way less than it is worth.
- Settling too soon. You obviously want your car accident claim to be resolved as quickly as possible. But many mistakes are made when accident victims are faced with an insurance company’s offers soon after an accident. For example, what if your injury ends up being worse than you thought? Once you settle your case, it is done, and you cannot ask for more money.
- Not having the confidence to negotiate. The best way to negotiate a car accident claim is to be aggressive. The best way to be aggressive is to be confident. And the best way to be confident is to know your rights and to know the law. Knowing the law and knowing your rights will let the adjuster know that you should not be taken advantage of. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side will make it difficult, and nearly impossible, for the insurance adjuster to take advantage of you and settle your case for anything less than it is worth.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney!
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. You should immediately consult with an experienced Los Angeles auto accident lawyer to help protect your legal rights and get you the full compensation that you deserve. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a car accident lawyer, please call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates at 949-727-9300.
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