This is a common question, but it’s one that has no easy answer. The reason is that there are so many variables in every accident case. The settlement you could receive may vary based on your injuries, your damages, your income, your daily life, and much more.
What we can tell you are some of the factors that come into play when we make an estimate on how much your case is worth. These are what we use to come to a settlement estimate for your car accident.
The Insurance Companies
The first thing we’ll look at is your insurance policy and the policy of the other drivers involved. The policies, along with the law, set the ground rules for any negotiation of a settlement, as well what the insurance company is responsible for paying under the policy.
The quickest solution in any claim is for the insurance company to agree to pay what you’re owed in full and have that money cover all your needs. However, it’s rarely that simple, especially if your coverage isn’t enough.
Were You Partially at Fault?
Under California law, your compensation can be reduced if the accident was partially your fault. Part of the court’s role is to decide if you contributed to your accident in some way, and it’s usually phrased as a percentage of fault.
That percentage reduces your total compensation by that amount. Thus, if you are awarded $100,000 for your accident, but you’re deemed to be 20% at fault, you’ll only be rewarded $80,000. That’s why we try to maximize your possible compensation, just in case.
What Could I Be Compensated For?
Compensation is the money you receive after you win your claim or your lawsuit. Part of our job is to show what kinds of compensation you deserve in your unique situation. Your car accident settlement could include compensation for:
Immediate Medical Expenses
Your medical bills depend on where you are treated and the severity of your injuries. Medical expenses can result from emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, treatments, hospitalizations, ambulance transport, and much more.
Future Medical Expenses
You may need future medical treatment due to your injuries, and we could ask for compensation for this treatment. These costs could include future surgeries, hospital stays, the time you need off work, physical therapy, or any other treatment you could need to get back to full health
If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, you could be compensated for its repairs or for the replacement value of the vehicle. This is easy to prove through vehicle photographs and a statement of diagnosis from a mechanic.
Loss of Income
When you are injured, you might have to take time off work to recover or go to a doctor’s appointment. This may cause you to lose money. In order to prove loss of income, you can provide your most recent pay stubs along with proof of the time you missed.
Changes in Salary
If your injuries were severe enough, you might have to switch careers to keep working, which could make you lose potential salary. In the worst case, you may have to go on permanent disability. You could get compensation for this loss of potential income.
If you live alone and get injured, you may not be able to take care of your household duties. If you are unable to complete daily tasks due to your injury, you could receive compensation for domestic assistance.
Many forms of compensation can be tied to a dollar amount, but not all of them. The law recognizes many forms of non-economic compensation. Here are two kinds:
A Decrease in Your Quality of Life
Being injured affects the way you live your daily life. When you are in pain, you may not get as much enjoyment out of life. While this compensation is difficult to put a dollar amount on, the decrease in your quality of life could be considered when determining compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is any physical or mental pain you have gone through as a result of your car accident. This is hard to quantify, but it can be backed up through testimony and records of how you felt before and after your accident.
These are just a few examples of the possible compensation you could receive. Now you see why finding the average settlement for a car accident is no easy task. Instead, we will find the proper settlement amount for your unique situation.
In extreme or egregious cases that go to trial, the court may also decide to award you punitive damages. This is a financial penalty meant to punish the people who hurt you. Many of the large trial awards you’ve heard about have punitive damages as part of the package.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Boost Your Compensation
Finally, just having a LA car accident attorney on your side can greatly boost the possible compensation you can get, even after legal fees. Even in a free consultation, you can talk about any settlement offers you’ve received and your chances of getting a certain amount.
You can also ask them for references for similar cases they’ve handled and how they turned out. While every case is different, their past experience will show you that your lawyer has achieved results for other clients.
What If The Insurance Company Won’t Settle?
There is always the chance that the insurance company will not pay a fair amount. If this happens, we are prepared to take the case to court to get you the compensation you truly deserve.
Going to trial means it will take much longer for you to get your settlement. Depending on your circumstances, that may not be in your best interest. Your lawyer will advise you on the pros and cons of going to trial, but the choice is up to you.
Find Out Your Settlement Estimate for Your Car Accident
Never take a settlement offer at first glance, even if the insurance company claims it’s the average amount or the maximum they can give under the policy. Let a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles take a look at it first.
Jacoby & Meyers is ready to assist you. Find out how much your claim is really worth and show the insurance companies you won’t take an unfair offer. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.