Following a car accident someone else caused in Florida, you may obtain compensation for your injuries, losses, and other damages. Since insurance covers virtually all car accident claims, you will have an attorney file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiate to get the highest amount possible.
However, determining how much you should ask for in your car accident settlement is a complex process that depends on numerous factors specific to your case.
During your initial consultation with your attorney, they can assess the strength of your case and offer a realistic and objective opinion about your options for obtaining compensation. As they work on your case, your attorney should then work to carefully and accurately calculate the compensation you could pursue.
For a free review of your case and advice regarding your options, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.
What Factors Can Affect My Car Accident Settlement?
Insurance companies, courts, and attorneys consider several factors when determining the appropriate compensation after a car accident that can influence the settlement amount. They include:
You must establish liability before determining the settlement amount. If the other party clearly caused the accident, it strengthens your position to negotiate for a higher settlement, and the insurance company may settle your claim quicker.
However, if you share any fault for the accident, it may affect the final settlement amount. The amount of compensation you could receive will depend on the percentage of fault you bear for the accident. If you bear more than 50 percent liability for the crash, you cannot collect compensation.
Your attorney can discuss this with you and let you know whether comparative negligence plays a role in your case. Regardless, your lawyer should work diligently to hold the other driver responsible and advocate for you if the insurance company tries to blame you for your injuries.
Severity of Your Injuries
The extent and severity of your injuries play a significant role in determining the settlement. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation, or those that result in permanent disabilities, generally result in higher settlements. Your attorney may use your medical records and expert opinions to assess the impact of the injuries on your life and future.
Your attorney will include all the medical expenses you have incurred because of the accident in the settlement calculation. This includes hospital bills, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and prescription medications. It also includes any ongoing or future medical treatment you may need, as well as medical devices, mobility aids, and other accommodations for your injury.
Lost Income and Earning Capacity
If your injuries caused you to miss work or affect your future ability to earn income, you may receive compensation for lost income. Your attorney will account for the duration of your recovery, the impact on your career, and any diminished earning capacity that may result from a permanent disability or other chronic medical condition.
Your lawyer will also include the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle and any other property the accident broke. These factors can affect your compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Along with compensation for economic damages, you may also obtain compensation for the non-economic damages your injuries have had and will continue to have on your life. For example, if you experienced severe psychological trauma along with intense pain, you could pursue compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Your lawyer can evaluate the severity and duration of physical and emotional pain and the impact on your daily activities. How your injuries affect the overall quality of life can determine a large percentage of your damages and compensation.
No matter the types and amounts of compensation you may receive, the insurance policy limits of both parties in the accident can affect your car accident settlement. If the responsible party has limited insurance coverage, it may reduce the amount you recover.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that car accident victims must file claims with their own insurance providers first and then recover any remaining amount from the at-fault party, if necessary. Consult an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate the specific details of your case, gather necessary evidence, and negotiate to secure you a fair settlement.
How Does an Attorney Calculate a Settlement Amount?
No laws or specific formulas exist for calculating a settlement amount after a car accident. Your attorney will likely identify all the economic (special) and non-economic (general) damages you incurred by collecting evidence like:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Any ongoing treatment or therapy you will need
To get a general idea of how much compensation to demand in a settlement, your attorney may take the total amount of damages and multiply it by a number.
What Is the Settlement Process?
When they file a car accident claim with the insurance company, your lawyer may include a total dollar figure as a settlement to cover all your injuries and losses. Many times, insurance companies respond with lower settlement offers because they do not want to pay more on claims than necessary. If the insurance company responds with a lower settlement, you need not accept it. Your attorney can negotiate for a higher amount.
Settlement negotiations can take time, but it will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Once you accept a settlement, you may not pursue additional compensation for your injuries later on. Therefore, wait until your doctors have determined you reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before accepting a settlement. That’s when physicians believe that no further medical treatment will improve your condition. It doesn’t mean you won’t need ongoing care, but you have recovered as much as you probably will from your injury.
If you accept a settlement before determining your MMI, you may miss out on the compensation you will need in the future, and you will have virtually no legal recourse to get it. That’s why you must work with an attorney who will completely evaluate your injuries and their potential impact on your life.
What Should I Consider a Fair Settlement?
You and your attorney should carefully discuss what you consider a fair settlement. Your lawyer cannot accept a settlement offer without your approval. If they have a hard time negotiating a fair settlement with the insurer, your lawyer can file suit against them in court and sue to get the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me Get a Fair Settlement?
An experienced car accident attorney can get a fair settlement by always placing your rights and best interests first and dealing with the insurance company so you don’t have to worry about it. A lawyer can negotiate tenaciously with the insurer to get them to honor all aspects of your claim and give you the full amount you deserve. A lawyer can also remain a steadfast advocate throughout the process and fight for your rights and future.
Contact an experienced personal injury law firm in New Port Richey today for a free consultation on how you can get a fair settlement from your car accident injury claim.