Unfortunately, car crashes happen often and frequently lead to injuries, property damage, and other related issues. Many people look for compensation to help with these expenses. However, victims should realize that finalizing a car accident settlement can be a drawn-out process. Individuals who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents may find it helpful to understand the processes insurance companies use to calculate compensation amounts, as well as the elements that can contribute to settlement delays. A New Hampshire car accident attorney with Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, may be able to help you learn more about this process. Call (603) 707-4800 to schedule a consultation.
How Much Are Most Car Accident Settlements?
Car accident settlements are a form of compensation paid to accident victims, typically by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Determining who is at fault in a car accident can sometimes be difficult. In many cases, one or both parties involved in the accident may have acted negligently, as when one or both parties has been driving while distracted. In others, one driver may even have caused the accident intentionally.
The sum awarded for a car accident settlement can differ significantly based on a number of variables, such as:
- The severity of the accident
- The extent of injuries
- Insurance coverage
- The percentage of fault each party bears
While these factors can help drivers to calculate a rough estimate, there is no fixed amount for most car accident settlements.
How Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Calculated?
In some instances, an at-fault driver’s car insurance may process a claim for compensation to cover the costs of vehicle repairs or replacements, or medical care to treat injuries sustained in the crash, without challenge, even if the payout does not arrive as rapidly as the accident victim might wish. In others, it may be necessary for a car accident victim to pursue their claim more aggressively, perhaps even taking the insurance company to court. In these instances, an individual wins their case, they may recover damages from the liable party, according to the American Bar Association. These damages may include the costs of pain and suffering, as well as the more tangible bills associated with medical treatments and vehicle repairs. However, determining the extent of pain and suffering in a car accident settlement is a nuanced process.
While there is not a fixed formula for quantifying pain and suffering, the legal system relies on several common methods. These methods combine a blend of objective and subjective criteria to evaluate the intangible costs incurred by accident victims. With that, it tries to ensure that the victim receives a fair and equitable compensation award.
This method involves multiplying the total economic losses, such as lost income, by a factor from 1.5 to 5. The choice of multiplier is calibrated to the severity of injuries and their lasting impact on the victim. Per Diem Method
A daily rate is assigned to the victim’s pain and suffering. The number is multiplied by the number of days the victim endured distress due to the accident.
In some instances, experts will provide professional testimony about the extent of the victim’s pain and suffering. Medical practitioners, therapists, or psychologists are some of the professionals who could offer a qualified perspective on the psychological and physical impacts of the accident.
Legal professionals and insurance adjusters analyze previous court cases. Reviewing the history of similar cases can help to establish a precedent for calculating pain and suffering. These past cases will help gauge the appropriate compensation amount.
Emotional distress plays a role in the assessment of pain and suffering. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other emotional factors may be considered when determining the final compensation amount. If you need assistance in negotiating with an insurance company regarding your personal injury claim, or would like to learn more about the settlement process, an experienced personal injury attorney at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC may be able to assist you.
How Long Does a Whiplash Claim Take?
Whiplash claims are a common type of injury claim. According to John Hopkins Medicine, they occur with the sudden back-and-forth motion of the head and neck. Reaching a settlement in a whiplash claim can vary widely and depends on multiple factors.
Injury Severity and Associated Medical Costs
The severity of the injury is one of the biggest influences on how long the claim process takes to reach a conclusion. Mild cases may resolve quickly. However, more severe cases might require ongoing medical treatment and evaluation. In turn, that leads to more expenses and a higher potential settlement award. The claim process can be prolonged if the victim needs ongoing therapy, rehabilitation, or consultations with specialists.
Cooperation from the involved insurance companies can expedite the claim process. If there are delays in communication or disputes, these can extend the time it takes to resolve a claim. Since car accident injury claims can be complicated, some people opt to hire a personal injury attorney to assist them. A skilled lawyer may be able to negotiate with the insurance company and, hopefully, reach a quicker resolution. When the negotiation process is not successful, the victim may decide to seek remedy in the courtroom. Any type of legal case will extend the time to finalize the settlement.
Why Do Insurance Companies Take So Long To Pay Out?
Many accident victims wonder why insurance companies take so long to pay out settlements. There are various reasons behind these delays.
Insurance companies often conduct extensive inquiries to confirm the legitimacy of a claim. The insurance company investigation may entail reviewing accident reports, compiling information, and identifying the responsible party. Complex claims with complicated elements may take longer to resolve.
Insurance companies want medical examinations in injury situations in order to assess the degree of damage and associated treatment expenses. Delays may result if the victim is still receiving treatment.
The insurance process may take a long time if there is disagreement about who caused the accident. Additionally, New Hampshire is a comparative fault state, which means that even if both parties are found liable, if one party is 50% or less at fault, they may still be able to recover damages, reduced by their percentage of fault. To address this issue, a closer examination of the investigation’s recommendations, witness accounts, and court cases might be necessary.
Negotiating a settlement can take time. Insurance adjusters often engage in back-and-forth negotiations with claimants or their legal representatives, if the claimant has chosen to hire representation.
The procedures used by insurance companies may cause delays. The car accident settlement process may take some time to complete because it depends on finished documentation, approvals, and departmental collaboration.
Legal measures might cause additional holdups when conflicts cannot be addressed through negotiation. These cases can take time to go through the judicial system as other cases may have been filed ahead of them or there may be delays waiting for evidence or for witnesses or experts to be available to testify.
Do You Have Other Questions Regarding a Car Accident Claim?
Each car accident case is unique. Many factors can influence the outcomes of these claims. With the proper evidence, you can build a strong case that may make your car accident settlement easier to navigate. To learn more about your car accident claim, please reach out to the New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC. Schedule a consultation by calling (603) 707-4800 today.