When you are about to file a car accident claim, it helps to know what can impact the value of your settlement. One thing is for sure, and that is the insurance company knows how much it would need to pay you for your car accident claim.
For the insurance company, the best claimant is an uneducated one because they are trying to pay you less than you deserve in a settlement. Thus, it helps to know what factors could influence the value of your auto accident case.
The first thing that you should know are the two categories of damages. The first is economic damages, and this represents either money that has come out of your pocket because of the accident or that you are prevented from earnings.
The second is non-economic damages, which are subjective dollar measures of how the accident has impacted you.
With that in mind, here are the explanation of five factors that answer the common questions about your auto accident case value:
If you are talking about payment for the time that you have missed from work, it is not that difficult to calculate, provided that the injury was severe enough to cause you to miss time. Where car accident cases can get contentious is when you are seeking payment for future earnings lost. This is almost always where there is a dispute between the two sides in a personal injury claim.
The insurance company or the defendant will almost always argue that you are not unable to work because of your injury. Alternatively, they may claim that, as an injured party, you are able to work in a lower paying job without any regard to your current job training.
This is where you would need some expert testimony and convincing documentation of this element of your insurance claim because the other side will not simply concede that you are entitled to what could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more unless you have suffered serious injury.
Pain and Suffering
When you are a plaintiff, this element of damages is very subjective, although it is usually determined according to a formula. This is one of the biggest factors that affects the value of a car accident case.
In many states, there are laws that put a cap on pain and suffering damages. Illinois tried that in the past, but in the case of Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down damage caps in medical malpractice cases that would have limited pain and suffering. Thus, there are no constraints on pain and suffering damages for all cases in Illinois.
Here, what will influence the insurer or the jury is both the type of injury that you suffered as well as the documentation that you can provide. They will be using their feeling to decide the multiplier for your pain and suffering award. It is important to remember that pain and suffering does not just cover what you have experienced, but it also pays you for what you will suffer in the future.
Severe injuries will lead to higher pain and suffering awards.
Some of your damages award may be used to pay back your health insurance provider for the cost of your medical treatment. They have the right of subrogation to be paid back what they have already paid out on your behalf. Of course, if you have any out-of-pocket expenses, these will also be reimbursed in your car accident case.
Medical expenses are not just limited to the cost of medical care. You may also have long-term costs of care that include rehabilitation and other medical bills. If your accident injuries are severe enough, you may even require some home health care and more extensive care. You would need to detail and document what your medical costs are expected to be in the future.
Your Responsibility for the Car Accident
Once the total value of your claim is established, your role in the events that led to the accident will be examined. Illinois Statutes Chapter 735 Civil Procedure §-1116 sets forth the limitations on recovery in a personal injury case in the state.
You may receive a settlement or a jury award so long as you are less than 50% responsible for the accident. This is the Illinois version of a contributory negligence statute.
However, the value of your claim will be reduced by the percentage of the blame that you bear for the accident. In other words, you are not rewarded for your own negligence. For example, if a car ran a red light and hit you, but you were not wearing a seatbelt, you bear a proportion of the fault for what happens to you in the car crash.
Let’s say that the insurance company thinks that 20% of your injuries were caused by the lack of a seatbelt, it will reduce your amount of recovery by that amount. This happens because the law recognizes that it is not fair to make someone pay for the part of the damage that they did not cause.
The Documentation that You Provide
Even if you have been injured, you will only receive financial compensation for what you can show that you have suffered. This means that you will need to provide evidence of the accident.
You will also need to provide documentation of your damages in the form of medical records and other proof of your injuries. When it comes to pain and suffering, you can also provide evidence of psychological damage and the loss of your lifestyle.
When it comes to lost wages, you should provide earning statements and other evidence of your earning power. The insurance company is generally very strict about what they pay, and they usually need to be pushed in order to pay the full value of the claim.
Providing them with extensive documentation takes from them their first line of defense when they try to deny you what you are owed.
You should start by giving all of the available evidence that you have to the insurance adjuster so you can establish the value of your car accident case. This could include a police report and witness statements. Your personal injury attorney can help you deal with the insurance adjuster.
As a car accident victim, your personal injury lawyer can help you establish the value of your case. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is the law firm that you hire when you need an experienced car accident attorney.