When you’re injured in a car accident caused by someone’s negligence, it’s understandable if you’re reeling in the aftermath. Your car might be inoperable, injuries could keep you from working, and bills pile up. Determining your car accident claim’s value can be tricky. There are several methods touted online, but are they accurate?
Learn more about calculating your damages before you accept a personal injury settlement after a car accident.
What Factors Contribute to Accident Claims?
Not every injury accident is the same. That means your damages will be unique, and you’ll need to carefully examine everything to ensure you account for all your losses. Ohio is an at-fault state: if someone else caused your injuries, you are entitled to compensation.
When you file an accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance, you seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. These damages were caused by your car accident, and the person responsible for your accident is responsible for paying them.
Some factors that can contribute to your settlement offer include:
- The at-fault party’s insurance policy limits
- The county where your case could be tried
- The strength of your evidence
- Your approach to getting an offer
Comparative Negligence in Ohio
Under personal injury law, you can pursue compensation if you’re hurt because of someone else’s negligence. This is true in Ohio, provided you don’t share more than 50% of the blame for the accident. This concept, called comparative negligence, protects people from getting wrongfully sued. If you’re hurt in an accident, you could see your settlement reduced by your percentage of blame if you are partially responsible for the accident.
Say you were hurt in a car crash where another driver t-boned you. They are likely at fault, but if you were distracted at the time of the accident, like using your phone, the at-fault driver might argue you share some blame. If a judge finds you were 20% responsible for your damages, your settlement will be reduced by 20%. If you were awarded $1 million, you’d only receive $800,000. An attorney can help you avoid losing too much of your settlement after a car accident.
How Do I Calculate My Damages?
When you file an accident claim with an insurance company, their adjusters will assess your losses. They’ll look at the damage to your property and examine your claim to calculate what the company owes you.
They want to reduce the total because they work for the insurance company. They wouldn’t make much money if they gave out settlements every time a claim was brought to them. So an insurance company is going to look for ways to value your losses without taking an accurate total into account.
Methods of Calculating Loss After an Accident
A company may tell you there is a formula for calculating the value of your claim. However, these formulas often overlook details that could increase the true value of your losses. You should be cautious when calculating your losses, as they may attempt to give you a lowball settlement. This offer may seem like it will cover your damages, but in reality, it’s far less than you truly need. If you accept it, you may not be able to get adequate coverage for all your past and future expenses.
Insurance companies may use a “multiplier” method to calculate your claim. They’ll multiply your medical bills or “actual damages” by a certain number. This multiplier isn’t consistent and is likely less than what you need.
Any method an insurance company uses may fall short, or they may not include all your losses. The most reliable way to get an accurate accounting of your losses is to work with an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with Ohio’s laws.
What Evidence Can I Use to Prove My Claim?
To prove to an insurance company you have an accurate calculation of the damages caused by their driver, you’ll need to show your economic and non-economic losses. Proof could include any:
- Repair bills
- Medical documents
- Doctors’ notes
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Video or photographic evidence
Any evidence that supports your claim is essential, especially if you must take a lawsuit to court. The evidence can show how you calculated your claim’s total and why the at-fault party must pay you that total.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Although you can process an accident claim alone, hiring a knowledgeable attorney is key to getting the most from your claim. They can help you with the legal aspects of your case while you recover. Your attorney can investigate your case, find proof to support your claim, and help you accurately calculate your damages. You’ll be best served by an attorney who has previously dealt with insurance companies, who recognizes their tactics and can get you results.
Get Help Securing Maximum Compensation
When you’re injured in a car accident because someone else was recklessly driving, you deserve compensation, even if your injuries appear minor. You could face lifelong consequences and shouldn’t be fiscally responsible for their actions. The car accident attorneys at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA are here for you. Ohio car accident attorney Kyle Wright is prepared to hear your story and help you get the maximum compensation for your damages.
We offer a free, no-risk consultation. Call (419) 625-7770 or use our online form to get started.