How Philadelphia Accident Lawyers Calculate Car Accident Settlements in PA
A car accident can mean a total upheaval of your life. Not only is your car damaged and you have to figure out how to get it fixed, whether or not you’ll need a new one, and how much that will cost, but you are probably suffering injuries and pain that will last for quite a while, depending on the severity of the accident. One of the first things you should do (if you haven’t already) is to hire Philadelphia Accident Lawyers who will be able to bring your case to a close quickly and efficiently while getting you the justice and compensation that you deserve.
You need to have your vehicle bills covered as well as your medical bills, but if you are just at the beginning of this process, you might still be healing! That means that you might not know how much pain and suffering you’ll have to endure (or the costs associated with those things) for a while yet.
A well-practiced, seasoned Philadelphia Accident Lawyers—will be able to look at every aspect of your case and determine a settlement amount that covers everything you lost, everything you suffered, and what might be a struggle in the future. They won’t allow the guilty party’s insurance adjuster to lowball you with a settlement amount that doesn’t nearly cover what you need. You need someone who will fight for you until the end.
How Settlement Amounts Are Decided Upon
Many insurance companies have their own formulas to determine how much someone should be offered for a car accident (or other personal injury) claim. These usually take into account all the medical expenses times a multiplier, which equals an amount for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are those things that can’t actually be added up, often called “pain and suffering.” That’s why they take a certain amount and multiply it by a number on a scale of 1.5−5, depending on the severity of the injuries and the lasting effects. In extreme cases, multipliers up to seven are even used.
These non-economic, or intangible, losses are then added to the actual monetary damages from the accident. These include medical expenses (even ones you didn’t pay out of pocket), property damage, lost wages (including days for paid time off), future loss of income (if your injuries will prevent you from going back to work for any amount of time), and any estimated medical expenses that will come about. (All of this together will help decide the multiplier for the non-economic damages.)
If you were any amount at fault for the accident, though, that needs to be taken into consideration, too. Let’s say someone t-boned you at an intersection by running a red light, but you were speeding. Sure, the accident was their fault, but it might not have been quite as serious if you weren’t going as fast as you were. Or, if they rear-ended you on the highway, but you didn’t have your blinker on for the fully required amount of time, then it’s not so cut and dry as “it was just their fault.” In Pennsylvania, if you were 50% or more at fault for an accident, then you are banned from suing another driver for any fault of theirs.
If you think your multiplier should be higher than the usual cap of five, it should be something extreme that makes your case an outlier. For example, the case could be without a doubt, 100% the other driver’s fault, and include extreme negligence or reckless driving. Your injuries or medical problems could be unquestionable, permanent, or debilitating, without anyone second-guessing them. The diagnoses and/or treatment of these injuries should be backed up by professionals, and not just self-assessed. If your recovery from the accident takes longer than six months, then a higher multiplier is usually justified.
We all look at our own situations through subjective lenses. We think that our own pain and suffering is of the utmost level. Your lawyer will be able to take that into consideration while also using their knowledge and expertise of what insurance companies look for and deal with so that you can get what you deserve without putting up red flags that you are trying to milk the system.
What the Other Side Looks At
Insurance companies, and the adjusters who work for them, are out to serve only one party: themselves. They don’t want to pay you a penny more than they have to, so they are going to try everything they can to undercut your case. This is one of the many reasons why you want some experienced Philadelphia Accident Lawyers who will be able to fight tooth and nail for your case. You might not know the right things to say or the right way to say them in order to get that insurance company to pay up, but your attorney sure does. If the adjuster says that your multiplier is too high, your lawyer will be able to back up your claims with the reasons you truly are suffering to that degree. If they say that your injuries won’t last as long as you are claiming, your lawyer will be able to reach into their network of resources to get testimony from experts that have seen injuries just like yours and know just how long they’ll last and the costs associated with them.
The insurance adjuster is going to want to get your side of the story, as well as the other drivers (who they insure). If you are reaching out to that insurance company yourself (or through your lawyer), you are considered a “third-party.” They will compare your story to that of any police or accident report associated with your claim. (If a person or property was injured as a result of the accident, it is required for it to be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT] within five days.)
Then, the insurance adjuster will investigate you as a claimant. There are databases that hold all the information of anyone who has ever made a claim against another person for personal injuries. This is important because if a person “causes” little accidents here and there simply to be able to sue the other person for damages and rake in the money, the other side wants to be aware of that to prevent dishonest claims. The insurance adjuster will probably also try to dig up any negative history or priors on you, so if there is anything your attorney should know (especially regarding your driving history), make sure to bring it up so that it doesn’t come as a surprise.
The insurance company has a right to request and see all the paperwork and documentation that you are giving to your lawyer to determine your settlement amount. So if you have medical, doctor, and prescription bills totaling $1,700 and you want to just round up to an even $2,000, the insurance adjuster is going to call you out and give you an offer that is only for what you have proven your injuries cost. They will also look for evidence of pre-existing conditions or injuries that you might be adding on to this particular claim. Better to be honest from the get-go, and if you feel that you need to ask for more money, it can be in the non-tangible losses section of your claim.
Many insurance companies will also push back against certain types of medical treatment that they deem unnecessary or “holistic,” such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, or extended amounts of physical therapy. It is in your best interest to get a diagnosis from a mainstream medical provider and have them prescribe a course of treatment, even if that treatment is from a different type of healthcare professional.
You of course have the right to ask for what you think you deserve. A good attorney will not only fight for what you’re asking, but they will also be honest with you if they think that what you are reaching for is unattainable. If you refuse to settle for what your lawyer is telling you is a fair and decent offer, and you choose to go to trial (which is well within your rights), you might simply be stretching out the timeline to recover damages, and costing yourself more in the long run. There’s always a balance, so make sure that you chose an attorney who you trust and who has your best interests at heart.
If the Case Doesn’t Settle in Philadelphia
As long as everyone can agree on an amount that is fair, settling a car accident case in Philadelphia is usually the best option all around. An insurance adjuster is going to look at your chances of winning if you go to trial and the amount that juries typically award cases such as yours. If it seems that it is more beneficial for the insurance company to simply give you what you are asking for rather than take the time, resources, and risk of going to trial, they will probably do so.
Call Today For A Free Case Evaluation From An Experienced Philadelphia Accident Lawyers
The process of recovering from a car accident can be lengthy and stressful. You don’t want to have to go through it alone. The Philadelphia Accident Lawyers at Mattiaci Law have settled countless car accident cases and they know how to do so in a way that gets the job done quickly while getting victims the highest amount of compensation possible.