A car accident is no small matter, and it’s fortunate if no serious injury results. With an injury, though, the concept of “fortune” takes on a whole new meaning. It’s important to ensure that you have the most competent personal injury law firm to handle your car accident settlement if you wish to find a remedy that restores you (and your finances) to the level of health and freedom you enjoyed before the accident.
Before the Car Accident Settlement Process
Before anything else, it’s important to receive immediate treatment for injuries, and the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act requires hospitals to admit any patient facing a life-threatening emergency regardless of immediate ability to pay. Do not delay any such treatments, even if you feel your injuries are minor. It’s necessary for not only your well-being but the veracity of your claim as well.
During this time, a dedicated car accident attorney can begin handling the administrative headache for you by:
- Filing reports
- Communicating with the parties involved
- Assisting with the insurance claim
- Compiling the appropriate forms and contact addresses
- Providing legal counsel
- Gathering medical records and bills
- Gathering evidence to prove liability against the other driver
With forward movement on these matters, your legal team can compile the costs already involved and use them to foresee which costs are likely to occur in the future. These all must be included in the true bill that will be served on the insurer of the one responsible for the car accident if they do not honorably respond to your initial demand for payment.
During the Car Accident Settlement Process
The true value of a car accident claim involves compiling all the financial hardships to be included in the claim, such as:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Current wages lost
- Future wages lost
- Past pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
There is necessarily some estimation involved; however, this doesn’t leave the door open to writing one’s own blank check. Any future financial damages must be calculated in a logical, justifiable way. A personal injury lawyer experienced in car accident claims and settlements can help ensure damage calculations are done in alignment with the most recent court orders related to car accident claims in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.
Insurance companies are notorious for lowballing initial settlement offers. They are hoping to entice you with fast money in a lump sum but have the ultimate goal of securing the lowest possible payout. Working with a skilled car accident attorney means that you can rest assured that all possible means of compensation will be included in your claim.
Calculating the economic damages is as simple as summing them into a single number. The final figure should include:
- Medical expenses—both out-of-pocket and what’s covered by insurance
- Property damage
- Lost earnings (including PTO or vacation days, if used)
- A future lost income estimate
- A future medical treatment estimate
Itemize these calculations in addition to summing them up, especially if you are seeking non-economic damages as well. The more backing documentation you have for each of these separate calculations, the harder it will be for your opponent to negotiate them downward.
Calculating the non-economic damages requires some legal research. The closest you can get to an exact, reasonable calculation for pain and suffering is to study the historical and most recent judgments on car-accident-related pain and suffering. There are two common methods:
- Multiplier: 1.5–10 times the past and future medical expense calculations, depending on they type of injury
- Daily rate: As reasonably deduced from the daily earnings you make at your present job
Being a “pure comparative negligence” state, drivers are able to collect even if they are partially at fault. In such cases, the settlement calculation can be granted in proportion to the percent of fault (e.g., being 25% at fault means only 75% of your damages can be obtained).
In distinction to economic and non-economic compensation, punitive damages are rare. You can fight for punitive damages in situations of gross negligence, intentional misconduct, and/or provable malice. This can apply to the conduct of the driver, auto manufacturer, or repair shop (e.g., defective automotive parts or repairs). Punitive damages are determined wholly by a jury or judge.
A Louisville Car Accident Attorney With Your Best Interests in Mind
It can be astonishing how many different institutions a single car accident will involve, including:
- First responders
- Kentucky state patrol
- Louisville officers
- Medical professionals
- Insurance companies
- Other administrative agencies
- Arbitration services
The more severe a car accident is, the more involved it all becomes. Handling this on your own is almost the last thing you need when dealing with the fallout of a severe car accident. Find a car accident lawyer you can trust and who will keep you apprised of everything they are doing and why.
If you or your loved one has been in a car accident, reach out today to learn more and share your story. We’ll help you obtain the highest car accident settlement possible in Louisville and ensure that you have the financial remedy you deserve. Get started with a free case review.