If you have suffered personal injury, damage to your vehicle, or damage to other property in a vehicle accident, you may be wondering how much compensation you can get by filing a claim or a lawsuit. If the party at fault for the accident is covered by insurance, that insurance company may offer a settlement amount based on what they decide adequately covers the damages. The damages will typically account for physical and mental harm, as well as the financial cost of medical bills, damaged property, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering encompasses the physical trauma and emotional hardship you undergo as a result of an accident. However, it can be hard to determine if the insurance company is settling for a fair amount.
What Is a Fair Settlement Amount?
The most common way to get a ballpark figure for how much your damages are worth is the multiplier method. You start by adding up all of the costs of the accident, including medical bills (both past and future), vehicle damage, property damage, and lost wages. You then multiply that figure by a multiplier – typically between one and five – that accounts for the egregiousness of the damages. It is this multiplier that accounts for your pain and suffering. For example, if you suffer from mental anguish that impacts your daily activities and quality of life, you would want to apply a larger multiplier.
In addition to the general damages discussed above, you may be eligible to seek punitive damages if the at-fault party engaged in behavior determined to be gross negligence, deceit, or intentional misconduct. Punitive damages are a form a punishment for acting in a repugnant manner that contributed to the cause of the accident. They are awarded independently of the damages to you, as they are meant to punish and deter behavior rather than compensate you for loss. A judge can award punitive damages if the lawsuit proceeds to court.
If you’ve suffered in a car accident, you may be entitled to more than an insurance company offers you. If you believe you are not receiving fair compensation, Attorney Joe Lucé can help you get what you deserve. Request a free consultation online or call the team today at (972) 632-1300.