Car accidents can result in some pretty big expenses, from medical injuries that require a lot of treatment to car repairs, and other costs.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you may be wondering how much settlement money you should expect. Car accidents can result in some pretty big expenses, from injuries that require a lot of treatment to car repairs, and other costs you may not be able to put a fixed price on, such as pain and suffering.
One option a lot of people opt for in these cases is an online settlement calculator. Some of these are free tools you can use to estimate your settlement, while others cost. However, you may be wondering how accurate are these tools?
How These Calculators Work
Not all online settlement calculators are created equal. Some offer more functionalities than others, allowing you to select specific criteria based on your situation in hopes of getting a more accurate settlement estimation.
Online calculators generally use information from your car crash and your financial history to calculate your settlement worth. These calculators typically use an algorithm that combines a few figures and other factors to estimate your settlement worth. To get an estimate of your settlement worth, the calculator might ask for:
- Expected medical expenses and bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Future medical costs
The calculator will run this information through its algorithm to help you understand what settlement amount you’ll get. Settlement calculators differ, and the settlement amount they show varies depending on the calculator in question.
The golden rule here, no matter how smart or advanced the calculator is, is that it can only provide an estimate. The number you get from this calculator has no real authority in the real world, meaning you can’t take the number to the at-fault insurance company and expect they will pay that exact amount.
Their price estimation greatly depends on the information the calculator allows you to provide, meaning that it’s completely possible to get different estimations from different services.
For instance, let’s say you want to compare Calculator A and Calculator B.
Calculator A asks about the following information:
- Medical expenses
- Car information and repairs
- Lost wages
You put that information, and the calculator estimates your settlement is around $1000.
Calculator B, on the other hand, asks this:
- Medical expenses
- Car information and repairs
- Pain and suffering, where it will apply a multiplier based on the severity of your injury.
This calculator estimates your settlement should be around $2000. However, neither of these calculators account for everything. One disregards lost wages, while the other does not take into account pain and suffering.
Even if they do, the calculator works on an algorithm that will apply a certain multiplier automatically. That multiplier will not be used in the insurance settlement negotiation process as is, and pain and suffering will likely be influenced by how well you argue that the car accident caused more harm than what’s on paper.
Are These Online Settlement Calculators Reliable?
On the surface, online settlement calculators seem to have everything down pat but are they reliable? Well, quite frankly, they’re generally not, and here’s why.
The Pain and Suffering Multiplier
Most settlement calculators ask you to rate your pain from 1 to 10. The calculator will use your rating as a multiplier, multiplying it with other values to calculate economic damages. This makes sense; however, your pain rating is subjective and will play an almost insignificant role in determining your settlement amount.
Online settlement calculators don’t involve all the factors influencing a settlement amount. For example, unlike online calculators, insurance adjusters also consider your type of coverage, liability, and many other factors that affect your settlement amount.
Lack of Agreed Upon Standards
There are often no formal agreed-upon standards for how these online calculators work. We also don’t have an oversight body that oversees and regulates how these calculators work. This means the accuracy and legitimacy of the information depend on the site owner. Some sites will even give arbitrary figures because the owners only care about attracting site visits.
You Generally Shouldn’t Put Your Trust in Online Car Crash Settlement Calculators
Settlement calculators can give you a very rough estimation of how much your claim is worth, but if you want to get a more accurate estimation you should speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. Their estimations will be much more close to the final settlement thanks to their experience – meaning they can use other similar cases and average out your settlement. Additionally, a lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company to get you the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
“My Car Accident Insurance Settlement Is Too Low. Do I Have To Accept It?”
About 95% to 96% of personal injury cases are settled before trial. If you’ve recently been in a serious car accident and the responsible party’s insurance company is offering you a settlement, you may be wondering if you have to accept it.
Do you have to accept the money that the insurer is offering, even if you don’t think the deal is fair?
You Are Under No Obligation To Accept an Unfair Settlement
If you do not think your car accident insurance settlement is fair, you don’t have to accept it. Period. The mistake many people make when dealing with an insurance company is assuming that the insurer has their best interests in mind – and is offering them everything they’re entitled to.
That’s not the case. Insurance companies do not exist to serve you but instead to make a profit. They routinely offer less-than-fair settlements to people who accept them, despite this not being in their best interest. Their intention is generally to limit their liability, boost their bottom line, and make more money.
So if you think that a settlement is unfair, don’t accept it. In fact, we recommend discussing your claim with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Car accident lawyers have lots of experience dealing with insurance companies and can help determine what your case is truly worth.
If your car accident lawyer determines a settlement is unsatisfactory, they can also help you negotiate a better settlement and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If You Accept an Unfair Settlement, There’s Generally No Way To Get More Compensation Later
It’s important to realize that a settlement is, by law, irreversible. Once you have accepted a settlement, the case is “settled.” This generally means it can never be brought to court again, regardless of the situation. That’s the whole point of settling a case.
The only exceptions are for settlements that are fraudulent or are affected by misrepresentation. But even then, it can be challenging to get the court to reverse the settlement.
A settlement is generally final. You can’t accept a settlement and then go back for more compensation in the future. This makes it all the more important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can ensure you are getting what you are fully entitled to for your current and future expenses resulting from the accident.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney ASAP
Negotiating a settlement after a St. Louis car accident usually isn’t easy, especially if you have experienced serious injuries, are paying expensive medical bills, and have lost out on wages and other benefits due to your accident.
The Hoffmann Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today for a FREE case review.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!