Car accidents are a common occurrence on our roads, and they can have a significant impact on the lives of those involved. When you’re in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses.
What’s your accident claim actually worth, however? The answer can be complicated because each situation is unique.
Putting a value on a claim
No fixed formula determines the exact value of a car accident claim. In fact, valuing a claim properly may be more of an art than a science. Compensation generally falls into the following categories:
- Economic damages: Economic damages are those that have a tangible and calculable value, such as the medical bills associated with injuries incurred in the wreck, lost wages related to recovery time, property damage associated with your vehicle and any belongings inside (like laptops and phones) and other out-of-pocket expenses. These damages are typically straightforward to calculate and they often serve as a starting point for negotiations over a claim.
- Non-Economic damages: Non-economic damages are losses that – while very real – are much harder to value. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress and the loss of your enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries and the more permanent the harm you’ve suffered, the more the non-economic part of your claim may be worth.
- Punitive damages: These are not commonly awarded in a car accident claim, but they do happen in rare situations. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the at-fault party’s conduct is deemed to be outrageously reckless or downright intentional. These damages are intended solely to punish the wrongdoer (and discourage others from following suit.)
Valuing a car accident claim isn’t an easy process. It takes legal acumen and a lot of experience, as well as an insider’s viewpoint of what is typically paid in your area for similar losses. Obtaining experienced legal guidance can help you to make certain that you don’t overvalue your claim and make it harder to collect – or undervalue your claim and leave money behind.