When you file initially, it is difficult to know how much your accident claim is worth. By understanding how an attorney evaluates and comes to a settlement number, you can better anticipate what your settlement might be.
One of the most common questions our law firm receives is how much a case is worth, and when the settlement value will be determined. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest question to answer for our clients.
There is no set formula for calculating damages, and no two cases are alike, either. Therefore, what someone else gets may not be the amount you get and vice-versa. Likewise, it is hard for an attorney to tell you a value immediately. Instead, they need to gather evidence and fit the pieces of the puzzle together first before they can say how much your case is worth.
Your Damages Play a Role in the Calculation Ft. Lauderdale Attorneys Use
You have three damages that your attorney considers for your settlement value:
Economic damages are your out-of-pocket expenses that were a direct loss from your car accident. These can include everything from medical expenses to lost wages to hiring people to do the household task that you were once able to do.
Economic damages are the easiest for your attorney to calculate. All you need are your medical records, receipts, and other documents that prove your costs. These are something you should bring to your initial consultation so your attorney can get an idea of these costs.
Note that the damages you have under economic are not the only type of damages. Therefore, your attorney would only be able to discuss how much you would receive for economic damages if you were to succeed in your case.
Non-economic damages are not easily calculated, because they do not come in the form of a receipt, bill, or invoice. You do not have insurance statements to show your losses; instead, you need to put a dollar value on things that have no price tag and are highly subjective.
Non-economic damages tend to include things like pain and suffering and also may include loss of companionship when a death occurs after a car accident. These damages are always difficult to calculate, but generally they are based on what juries award for similar cases.
Punitive damages are not compensation. While you receive the money awarded to you, they are not designed to compensate for your financial losses. Instead, punitive damages have one purpose: to punish the defendant and serve as a public announcement that anyone who acts in a similarly negligent manner would also face similar results.
Other Factors That Will Increase or Decrease the Amount of Your Settlement
Determining how much your car accident case is worth is more than just looking at the numbers. While the numbers for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages are used frequently, there are outside factors that can change the settlement value.
These factors include:
- Your legal representation. The caliber of representation you have at the time of your case is critical, especially when negotiating with insurance companies and defense attorneys. If you do not have an attorney or you are working with one that is inexperienced in the area of car accident claims, you may not get the settlement you deserve. Insurance companies take advantage of plaintiffs who are working without an attorney or working with an inexperienced lawyer, because they know that you will not know how the system works, your rights, or what your case is worth.
- The evidence collected to prove your case. Unfortunately, the evidence is what matters the most. You could have proof that you were injured. But if you do not have enough proof showing the defendant was at-fault or that your injuries are as severe as you claim, your value drops considerably. Evidence starts the moment the accident occurs and continues until settlement. Everything from photographs to witness statements to a physician’s testimony will play a role. Gather as much evidence as you can, including taking pictures at the scene of the accident, documenting your injuries, and even creating a pain journal. Then, keep copies of medical records, statements, and receipts for your out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- The limits of the policy and your UM insurance. As a general rule, you are limited to the maximum insurance coverage available by the other party’s car insurance – this, in fact, may not be enough to compensate you for your injuries fully. In that case, your attorney will look for other assets the defendant might have to compensate. But in most cases, when a defendant has too little insurance, they also have few assets. In addition, the attorney will also look towards your onw insurance insurance policy to see if you have uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance coverage. In this way, there may be another place for you to receive additional funds for recovery.
Speak with an Accident Attorney for an Accurate Estimate
The only way to know how much your case is worth is to speak with an accident attorney.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. can assist you with your accident case. We have helped countless clients just like you when they have serious injuries and are facing insurance companies and do not have the funds they need to pay for their losses. A serious car accident can cost thousands of dollars, and you deserve compensation for your losses, including medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical pain, mental suffering, and more.
To get started, schedule a consultation with our team of passionate, aggressive attorneys. We stand up for our clients’ right to compensation, and we do not back down. Get in contact with us by scheduling a free, no-obligation case evaluation by calling us or request more information about our legal services online.