Determining the Settlement Value in a Car Crash Claim

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Personal Injury Attorney

Auto Accident AttorneyIn a serious injury car crash, especially if the victim sustains a head injury, medical bills often exceed $100,000. An experienced Rockford vehicle collision attorney can defer payment on these bills for several months, but eventually, hard-working medical providers deserve payment.

Despite the enormity of these expenses, a lightning-fast settlement may not be in the victim’s best interests. Head injuries, and other car crash injuries, are difficult to diagnose and treat. Sometimes, the full extent of the victim’s injuries does not appear for several months. If a Rockford vehicle collision attorney settles the case too quickly, there may be no money available for these additional medical expenses.

Therefore, determining the proper settlement value is critical to the case. This process is partly science and partly art.

Economic Damages and Objective Determinations

The economic damages in a car crash claim are usually straightforward. But the process is often time-consuming.

Generally, the property damage component settles rather quickly. However, the insurance company’s initial settlement offer does not always consider a vehicle’s full value. Many times, a family car has an emotional value that may exceed the financial value. Car crash victims are entitled to compensation for all these losses.

Personal property issues may arise as well. Most people have cell phones and other personal property items in their vehicles. If these items are lost, victims deserve compensation for both the financial and emotional value.

Medical bills are usually straightforward as well. However, the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process usually takes lots of time. As mentioned earlier, if an attorney settles the claim too quickly, there may not be enough money for all these expenses. Out-of-court settlements usually include liability waivers. Once the victim signs the paperwork, it’s almost impossible to reopen the case.

Finally, lost wages are not always easy to determine. Simply calculating the days of missed work usually only tells part of the story. Some victims miss performance and attendance bonuses because they miss work. Other victims do not get salary increases as quickly, or they must miss work in the future because of their injury. These future and potential lost wages must also be calculated.

Non-economic Damages and Subjective Determinations

Similarly, the pain and suffering component is a partially objective process. But, it’s mostly subjective.

Typically, to establish a starting point for settlement negotiations, an attorney multiplies the economic damages by two, three or four. The multiplier partially depends on the facts of the case, as well as any legal defenses the insurance company may have. This calculation must also account for some intangible factors, such as the potential makeup of the jury and the victim’s need for a fast settlement.

Generally, both the economic and non-economic positions of a financial settlement are tax-free. Income tax may apply to any award for punitive damages.

Contact Tenacious Attorneys

Settlement value calculation is an important component of a car crash case. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. After-hours visits are available.