Insurance adjusters usually take your special damages and multiple it by the severity of your general damages, and then add in lost wages.
Calculating damages can be a complicated and confusing process. However, knowing a little bit about the process used to find damages can help you evaluate your own case, and be aware of what settlement you may receive in your case.
What is the Auto Accident Settlement Formula?
The general formula most insurers use to measure settlement worth is the following:
(Special damages x multiplier reflecting general damages) + lost wages = settlement amount.
What are Special Damages?
Special damages include any damages that can be assigned a monetary value, with the exception of lost wages that originated from missed work. Special damages can include loss of future wages due to an inability to work, medical expenses both past and present, and any property damages that occurred.
What are General Damages?
General damages are those damages that cannot be assigned a specific monetary value. Emotional damages, and the loss of ability to do enjoyable activities are some examples of these damages. These damages are generally assigned a total number of one to five, based on their severity. The special damages are then multiplied by the general damages.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages due to being unable to go to the job the victim worked at before the accident are generally just added to the total after the multiplication has taken place.
The total number that results from this formula is generally how much an adjuster will utilize as a range for what they will negotiate a settlement for.
When Do You Settle an Auto Accident?
How fast an auto accident settles depends on the facts of your case. Most insurance companies will want to wait a while to settle, in an attempt to find some fact that they can use against you to lower the total settlement amount.
Remember, this is why you need a reputable personal injury attorney to fight for you.
Personal injury attorneys know how insurance companies work, and what the law is. They will have a much more effective time navigating the insurance claim process and will be able to redress any issues in the legal system if the insurance company does not hold up their end of the bargain.
Still, there are some issues that can make your settlement time longer than normal:
1. When liability is questioned
If liability is legitimately in question, there could be a legal issue as to what percentage of damages a driver actually owes you. This is further complicated because claims are not black and white in Florida.
The comparative damages system means that damages are proportioned based on a person’s responsibility for damages. So, if there is a grey area of liability, a person could be responsible for only 10% of the damages, another could be responsible for 90%. Safe to say, this causes complications.
2. The number of eyewitnesses on your side
If there are many eyewitnesses that you have at your accident that all are willing to testify in your favor, you are going to have an easier time settling. In comparison, if you do not have many eyewitnesses, you may have trouble proving your case, and a slower time getting a settlement.
3. The amount of time left to treat initial injuries
While you may have been injured permanently and will likely ask for money to pay for lifelong treatments, a personal injury attorney will usually want to wait for your initial injuries to be properly treated before demanding a settlement from an insurance company.
Waiting in this way allows the attorney to make sure they have concrete evidence to support their request for settlement. Still, if your initial injuries take a long time to heal, it could be a while before the settlement comes back.
How Do Insurance Adjusters Collect Information to Make Their Settlement Decision?
An insurance adjuster may contact you earlier to collect information about your claim. They may ask for your damages, as well as what happened during your accident.
It is important to remember, however, that your adjuster works for the insurance company and is looking to help them, not you.
They may misrepresent certain things about your right to settlement, and may ask for facts they do not have a legal right to have, just to find a reason to lower their offer. M
ore importantly, you can say no when they ask to record you, and you have no obligation to allow them to record your statements, as they may attempt to use your statements against you in the future if you do allow them to record you.
Finding the worth of your settlement and moving through the settlement process can be complicated. That’s why you need a reputable personal injury attorney on your side.
Bulluck Law Group has years of experience fighting against insurance companies to get the justice our clients deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.