Calculating the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
It’s important to have a fair estimate of the value of your car accident claim when deciding whether or not to sign any settlement offers, or deciding what type of legal action to take.
Most insurance companies and courts use a general formula when calculating the value of claim, but the formula changes depending upon the severity of the injuries. Estimating the value of a claim consists of two basic steps, discussed below. Note that the following tips will only provide you with a very general estimate; for a more accurate figure, consult a car accident attorney for a case assessment.
Step 1: Totaling Your Monetary Damages
The first step in estimating the value of your car accident claim is to tally all the monetary losses you’ve accumulated. These types of damages, referred to as special damages, are relatively straightforward to calculate using bills, financial statements, receipts, and pay stubs. Below are some of the items you’ll want to include when you calculate your monetary damages.
- Emergency room and hospital bills
- Diagnostic tests, treatments, and physician’s bills
- Receipts for prescriptions and any medical devices you’ve purchased for your injury
- Receipts for your medical-related transportation costs
- Your lost wages
- Visits to a mental health specialist for accident-related conditions
- Repair estimates for your vehicle
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident and your injuries
Also include any expected future damages related to your injuries.
Step 2: Calculating Your Non-Physical Damages
The value of your car accident claim should also include pain and suffering damages. These non-tangible damages, often referred to as non-economic or general damages, are generally calculated by using a multiplier.
Step two is to estimate a dollar amount for your non-economic damages. To do this, multiply your monetary damages by a figure, often between 1.5 and five.
The specific multiplier for each case is somewhat discretionary and based on several factors, such as those listed below.
- The extent of your injuries
- Your age (younger people with catastrophic injuries may qualify for more compensation)
- Whether or not there was disfigurement and disability
- How much your injuries have affected your life and your relationships
For example, if you were severely injured but your injuries aren’t catastrophic, you might multiply your special damages by two or three. So, if your special damages totaled $200,000, you could multiply that amount by three, for example, to estimate the total value of your claim ($200,000 x 3 = $600,000).
Note: Fault Affects Your Total Settlement
It’s important to note that your degree of fault in the accident affects your final settlement amount. Florida adheres to the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule stipulates that your total settlement is reduced by your degree of fault.
For instance, if you were 50 percent at fault for your accident and your total damages were $600,000, your settlement would be reduced to $300,000.
Chalik & Chalik Can Help Estimate the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
If you have recently been involved in a car accident in Florida, we invite you to call Chalik & Chalik for a free consultation. We can review your case, discuss your legal options, and help you estimate the value of your car accident claim. Contact our car accident attorneys today at 855-529-0269.