Many of our clients come to us with the idea that they’ll get a settlement worth three times their medical bills if their car accident claim is successful. We’re not sure where this notion started or how it took root, but like just about everything else that concerns the law, it’s not that simple.
You may very well get three times your medical expenses. But you may get less - or you might even get more. There are many factors involved.
Factors In Determining Your Car Accident Settlement
Let's look at the three components of any settlement determination:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Past and future medical bills
This part of the equation is pretty straightforward:
- What’s the sum total of your medical expenses to date,
- How much longer will treatment be needed, and
- How much will that treatment cost?
This generally includes emergency room treatment, prescriptions and any medical appliances you might need, as well as hospital and laboratory expenses.
Past and future lost wages or earning capacity
Your injury may have forced you to take time off work - and if you're like most Americans, you can't afford to miss more than a couple of paychecks before you find yourself in a huge financial hole. Even worse, your injury might be so severe that you are unable to return to your job, or even work at all.
Past and future pain and suffering
Pain and suffering is harder to estimate in advance because it's so subjective, and there's really no way to predict how persuasive a claim will be. It's also pretty broadly-defined: the phrase "pain and suffering" can mean more than just the physical pain and discomfort you experience as a result of your injuries.
For example, it can include
- The loss of your ability to participate in social and recreational activities
- Emotional distress like depression or anxiety
- Negative impacts your injury has on your relationship with your spouse
In some cases, other factors also can play a role in determining the size of a settlement or award.
- Is either party directly at fault?
- Have you taken any steps to minimize the financial impacts of your injury?
Questions like these aren’t always relevant, but you never know when an award will turn on the answers.
Because no two situations are alike, it's very difficult to give a one-size-fits-all answer when a client asks about the potential value of a claim. Instead, it's usually best to speak to an attorney about the details of your accident and injury.
So, if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the Andriotis Law Firm today at (727) 937-1400 to schedule a free consultation. We’ve helped victims of auto accidents receive the justice and settlement they deserve.