We often meet with personal injury accident victims who ask us to help them calculate the value their auto accident claims. We don’t just pull figures out of the air. There are a number of factors that will impact the ultimate value of your auto accident case.
- The initial settlement offer
If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are that you’ve already been contacted by the insurance company of the at-fault party. This often happens soon after the accident. The insurance company may even offer to pay all of your property damage and your medical expenses as a settlement.
You should be aware that the initial offer from the insurance company will usually be a low ball offer. For that reason, we typically advise against taking the insurance company’s initial offer. Such initial offers typically don’t cover other losses such as your lost income or future medical expenses, let alone your pain and suffering. However, an opening offer is a good starting point in determining how much your case is worth and in subsequent negotiations with the insurance company.
- Your medical expenses including anticipated future expenses
Medical bills can add up to significant expenses following accidents. In some cases, the medical needs of a victim may continue well past what would be considered the initial recovery. You may need physical or occupational therapy not to mention future surgeries or treatments down the road. In addition, there are various other related costs that you may have to pay for out of your own pocket.
All these costs should be considered in determining the value of your case. We will also consider any future costs and include them in any counter-offer we propose to the insurance company.
- Lost wages
If you were working, chances are that you will miss work in order to recover from your injuries. If the accident resulted in a disability that makes it impossible for you work, you may never be able to resume work or that you may not be able to earn the same level of income as before. This doesn’t mean your bills won’t stop coming.
Missing work can cost you a lot of money and even put your financial future at risk. For that reason we always consider the amount of money you would have earned during your recovery period as well as any lost income in the future in negotiating your settlement.
- Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering is the most difficult aspect of your claim to quantify. It is an estimate of the psychological and physical pain you and your family members have suffered as a result of the accident and your injuries. In many cases, the severity of your injuries is used as a starting point in determining how much this should be. If your case goes to trial, the jury will determine just how much you get as pain and suffering compensation.
- Repairs and other property damage
The insurance company will also have to compensate you for damage to your car. This may mean replacing your car if it is totaled as well as paying the cost of a rental while your car is in the shop.
When you retain an experienced personal injury attorney like Andrew J. Cates, he can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the full value of your auto accident case as part of any settlement.