Assigning a dollar amount to a car accident claim is riddled with challenges. Not only are legal proceedings inherently unpredictable, but there are also a dozen or so variables that can influence the value of any given claim. As if that weren’t complicated enough, each party will undoubtedly apply their own unique formula when it comes time to quantify the non-economic damages.
Despite these issues, though, the parties involved are more likely than not to come to an agreement. Most valid car accident claims are settled because neither the victim nor the insurer wants to deal with the hassle of going to court. As such, they’re usually inclined to cooperate during the negotiations and ultimately meet in the middle.
As for determining a starting point for these negotiations, your car accident lawyer will evaluate a number of factors and then gather the evidence needed to justify the calculations they apply. Such factors include:
1. The Role You Played in the Wreck
Under California’s pure comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s own negligence will offset the defendant’s liability. Put another way, if you’re deemed 25 percent responsible for the collision, you can only pursue compensation for 75 percent of the damages you incur, because that’s the portion for which the other party is liable.
2. The Severity of Your Injuries
More severe injuries inevitably result in more extensive losses and, consequently, warrant more compensation. If you suffer a permanent disability, for example, and you’re unable to return to the workforce, your legal team will include lost earning capacity in the settlement negotiations. Depending on your anticipated career trajectory prior to the crash, such losses could easily amount to six- or even seven-figures.
More severe injuries also cost more to stabilize and rehabilitate. Those who sustain damage to their brain or spinal cord, for example, often need ongoing physical therapy and home care.
3. The Total Available Insurance Coverage
It’s an unfortunate reality, but the liable party’s total available insurance coverage could limit the amount of compensation you’re able to recover. This is why it’s imperative that you identify everyone who contributed to the collision. Their total available combined coverage will hopefully be enough to make up for the losses you incur.
In California, each individual motorist driving a private passenger vehicle is required to carry at least the following in liability insurance:
- $5,000 in property damage,
- $15,000 in bodily injury per person, and
- $30,000 in bodily injury per accident.
Speak with a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Are you recovering from serious injuries that you sustained in a wreck someone else caused? For help holding the at-fault party accountable, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks.
A compassionate personal injury lawyer, Michael D. Waks is well-versed in motor-vehicle collisions. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out the Contact Form on our website to set up a free, no obligation consultation with a car accident attorney in Long Beach.
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The scene of a wreck is always chaotic. To ensure you record the details needed to put together a strong claim later, refer to our comprehensive checklist. Download it HERE for free, and print a copy for your glovebox, so you always have it on hand.
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