Car Accident Settlement Calculators: How Much is Your Case Worth?
Car Accident Settlement Calculators: How Much is a Fair Settlement?
Columbus GA Car Accident Lawyer Mark Jones Discusses Settlement Calculators and Four Tips For Determining a Car Accident Case’s Value
There are many websites on Google that discuss calculating your car accident settlement’s value. These sites may use the terms “car accident settlement calculator” or “pain and suffering calculator” and promise to calculate how much your settlement is worth.
The problem with these sites is that there is really is no such thing as a car accident settlement calculator because each case is different and depends on its own facts. With that said, Columbus GA Car Accident Attorney Mark P. Jones has identified several factors that insurance companies use in calculating your car accident settlement based on his years of experience in handling these claims.
(1) The Vehicle Property Damage Amount is Extremely Important in Valuing Your Car Accident Settlement.
Most insurance companies and, indeed, most jurors despise claims involving low impact/minor impact wrecks, which are oftentimes closely associated with low property damage between the vehicles. Insurance companies and their defense attorneys love to argue that injury claims stemming from low property damage wrecks mean that it is impossible that the claimant could have suffered significant injury.
What these arguments fail to consider is the egg-shell plaintiff rule, i.e., the rule of law that holds that the defendant who injures another is a wreck takes his victim as he/she finds him. See generally, AT Sys. Se., Inc. v. Carnes, 272 Ga. App. 671, 673, 613 S.E.2d 150, 153 (2005). They also fail to consider the need for expert testimony. See Davis v. Maute, 770 A.2d 36 (Del 2001).
Thus, if a person who has many pre-existing injuries is hit in a motor vehicle wreck, even though the property damage is low, that person was more prone to injury and therefore should be compensated nonetheless. Generally speaking, if the property damage to either vehicle involved in the car wreck is over $2,000.00, the insurance company will value your claim significantly higher than one with property damage below that amount.
(2) Your Medical Treatment and the Amount of Your Medical Bills Are Key to Estimating Your Car Accident Settlement Amount.
The second most important factor in calculating your car accident settlement amount is the quality of your medical care and the amount of your medical bills.
There is a major difference between a case where someone has a lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, or a shoulder arthroscopy due to a motor vehicle wreck and a case where someone merely has to undergo basic physical therapy or some chiropractic adjustments.
Car accident cases involving orthopedic surgical procedures or extended pain management will have significantly higher bills than a case involving simple physical therapy and chiropractic care.
(3) The Amount of Insurance Coverage Available Plays a Role in Evaluating How Much Your Case is Worth.
The vast majority of Defendants who cause car wrecks are driving around with the state minimum amount in coverage, which is $25,000 per person and $50,000.00 per accident (for all people making an insurance claim). This is oftentimes represented to defendants as “full coverage.”
If you are hit by a Defendant who has higher policy limits or if the defendant that hit you in the wreck was an employee of a major corporation (which will surely have more insurance coverage than the state minimum), then your case is potentially worth more than one where only the state minimum is available.
However, one way you can protect yourself is by purchasing a substantial amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in case you are hit by an underinsured driver.
(4) The Presence of Heat Increases the Value of Your Claim.
“Heat” on the file means that the facts of your automobile accident case may warrant the imposition of punitive damages. If punitive damages are applicable to your case due to being hit by a defendant who was DUI, texting, or engaging in some conduct that constitutes wantonness, such as a hit and run, then your case is worth more.
Many factors go in to evaluating your car accident claim. There is no such thing as a car accident settlement calculator or pain and suffering calculator. It all comes down to the facts on a case-by-case basis. With that said, certain factors are extremely relevant to properly evaluating the value of your case including: (1) the property damage amount for any vehicle involved in the wreck; (2) the medical treatment and medical bills; (3) the amount of insurance coverage involved; and (4) the presence or absence of punitive damages.
If you have been hurt in a car wreck, call Lawyer Mark Jones now at 706-225-2555 for a free consultation regarding your case. You can also email Mark with any questions about whether your settlement offer from the insurance company is fair.
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