It is important to take all factors into consideration when determining a fair settlement amount.
DO NOT settle too quickly. Consult with an attorney.
Once the dust settles after a car accident and your wounds begin to heal, the bills start to arrive. Insurance adjusters start to call and you begin to wonder if an attorney is going to be necessary. There are many steps involved in calculating a fair compensation amount. If you miss one, the insurance adjuster is not likely to remind you of it. Not only will the expertise of a car accident lawyer help determine fault in your case, but they will also advocate to get you monetary compensation that covers all of your expenses associated with the accident.
Around 5% of personal injury cases make it to trial. The overwhelming majority of them are settled out of court. Avoiding the additional expense of a jury trial is advantageous to both parties. Insurance companies like to start throwing out low-ball settlement amounts immediately. It’s a tactic to get you to accept a deal before all of your expenses have been calculated. If that doesn’t work then they may try to stall. This is another attempt at getting you to accept a low offer out of fear that time is running out.
How do you know if the amount being offered is fair?
Start simple with the damage to your vehicle.
- Gather all bills pertaining to its repair. If it was totaled then obtain the current blue book value of it. Additionally, include any other transportation costs. You may have had to rent a car temporarily or had to rely on public transportation. These expenses are recoverable.
Make copies of all your medical expenses.
- Do not forget about any out-patient treatments or tests such as CT scans. If an adjuster tries to dispute any of these expenses you will need a physician statement outlining how it related to the injury you sustained in the crash.
Any loss of wages as a result of the accident should also be included.
- If your job salary is commission or tip-based, your car accident attorney can help come to a reasonable amount.
St. Louis Car Accidents
Many lawyers agree that a fair offer for a plaintiff who holds no fault for the accident is 150 to 300 percent of the base amount. If they offer lower, they are attempting to lowball you.
In some cases, an insurance company is set on an amount and will refuse to settle for what the plaintiffs believe to be fair. Trust your lawyer’s judgment and let the claim proceed to trial if that is what is necessary. That strategy certainly paid off for a Missouri motorist who was injured by a work van that entered the flow of traffic without warning. During mediation, the defendant refused to go higher than $250,000 even though the plaintiff was happy to settle for just a $100,000 more. The jury at the trial awarded him $789,000.
Dealing with the insurance company is a job best left to an experienced car accident attorney. They are well aware of all the tactics employed by adjusters and will not allow them to bully you into accepting an unfair offer.