It is important to understand how compensation from your car accident settlement is calculated.
The two factors which influence the amount of compensation you receive are – the strength of the liability claim that you have filed and the extent of bodily damages caused by the injuries you have sustained.
There are twelve states where you cannot file for damages from the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident unless you prove that the liability exists. In these states, if you have have failed to prove liability or negligence, you would be compensated only for your out-of-pocket medical expenses by your insurance company. The other driver cannot be sued in such a case. For filing a claim against the other driver you have to establish that he or she had been negligent and had caused the car accident. Some examples of negligence are:
- Following a vehicle too closely.
- Failing to see another vehicle when clearly it should have been visible.
- Driving faster than safe speeds during inclement weather, like rain, snow, etc.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals.
- Making reckless or unsafe turns.
- Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving.
The driver of the rear car, in most cases, may be deemed negligent. However, if you have also been negligent then there are chances that your case may be dismissed or your compensation amount may be considerably reduced.
Calculating Compensation for Bodily Damages
After you have established that liability exists, you need to know how much compensation you are entitled to. There are three methods that are generally used by insurance companies to calculate the compensation based on the extent of damages.
- Colossus software: An ‘injury valuation software’ being used by many large insurance companies to calculate the compensation value for car accident cases.
- Multiple of specials: This method calculates the settlement amount by adding the following facets of damage – medical bills, income lost due to injury, and the pain and suffering endured by the victim. Generally, the insurance company will add the first two factors to calculate the loss incurred and then multiply it with a factor ranging from 1.5 to 14 times, depending on the circumstances and severity of damages.
- Per diem method: The element of ‘pain and suffering’ is calculated by assigning a ‘per day’ value to it. This may be per week or per month. This per diem value is added to the sum of medical bills and income lost to calculate the final settlement amount.
Legal assistance from an experienced Northern California car accident attorney is extremely important if you want to receive your rightful compensation. Call the Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley at (916) 457-5022 for a free case evaluation.