There is no exact formula that determines how much money you will get after an accident claim in Texas, because each case is different. However, there is a way to determine an estimate of how much you can get.
1. How to estimate an injury settlement
For the average settlement of a car accident, a general rule that people use is to assume a multiple of the cost of their medical bills.
To determine the exact amount, the insurance company during settlement negotiations, or a jury (or judge) in a trial, analyzes the type of injury diagnosed, the type of treatment, the duration of therapy, the pre-existing conditions, the severity of the injuries, and the loss of salary due to the time spent in the hospital including rehabilitation.
You must determine if the injuries caused by the accident will be permanent before agreeing to a settlement offer. No settlement arrangement will usually be offered or made until you have finished your medical treatment. If one is made, it may not be fair since total medical bills, and therefore not all damages, can be taken into account in any settlement offered.
Make sure all your expenses are detailed and save all your receipts and invoices so you can present them during the process. Some of the answers that you will be required to provide are:
– What type of treatment did you have? Was it just doctor visits? Or was there also some physical therapy, diagnostic tests to detect conditions, x-rays, etc.
– How long was the treatment?
-How much did you have to pay out of pocket?
-How much time did you miss from work?
-Do you have any previous injuries in your affected area?
-The unknown factor is always how much you will get for pain and suffering.
Since medical bills and car repairs are usually a fixed amount that can be estimated and paid by you or your health insurance, pain and suffering is usually the only part of your claim that will be determined by the other party’s insurance company in the settlement, or by a judge or jury in a trial.
How to calculate pain and suffering
A) The Multiplier Method
A standard method for estimating your total damages (which would include pain and suffering) is to multiply your expenses by medical bills and lost income by a number between 1.5 on the low end, and 4 or 5 on the high end. This number is called “the multiplier”.
Depending on the other factors in the case, the settlement value of your claim will depend on the multiplier used. Some factors that increase the multiplier are:
-If there are aggravating conditions in the accident, such as driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs
-The severity of your injuries
-The length of recovery
-If the damage is permanent or simply temporary
Take a common-sense approach when looking at the case. The general idea here is the more severe injury you sustained, and the more relevant and prompt medical care (with related bills) you received, the higher your multiple will be. But, the less severe injury or not seeking medical care early enough (regardless of how severe the injury) will likely reduce your multiplier.
B) The “per diem” method
Another way to determine your pain and suffering monetary value is by giving it a rate per diem (per day) and adding it to your expenses. Let’s use an example.
You had medical bills of $15,000 and a work-related income loss of $10,000, for a total of $25,000. Suppose you received treatment for a neck injury for three months, and you still had neck pain for two months after that.
Using the per diem method, you are assigned an amount for each day that you suffered injuries. In this case, it would be five months.
2. Choose a lawyer
If your negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company is not getting you to a settlement amount you think is fair, or the negotiations have dragged on for several months, you may have to take further action. The resolution of an auto accident can take days, months, or even years. The amount of time depends on the settlement amount sought and the circumstances of each case.
A Texas auto, motorcycle or truck lawyer can try and help speed up your accident case negotiations. The lawyer may be able to write a settlement demand letter to push the insurance company to work faster on your claim in the face of the threat of legal action. A Texas lawyer can fight for your car, motorcycle, or truck accident case and will advise you when to end negotiations and file a lawsuit. Further, even after filing a lawsuit, a lawyer can advise you when a settlement offer is fair to accept or whether a trial is necessary to try and get the compensation you deserve.
If you do not use a lawyer, you can try to settle your claims with the insurance company, but do remember that insurance company employees work for the insurance company and have an interest in looking out for the insurance company first, which means they will attempt to pay you less than you are entitled to. They may try to argue that your medical bills are too high because you received unnecessary treatment or that you were healthy enough to go back to work, among other things.
Fight for Your Rights
When it comes to getting the most out of your personal injury claim, there’s no substitute for standing up for your rights and fighting for the best result. For many drivers, that means putting their case in the hands of a lawyer rather than leave thousands of dollars on the negotiating table. If you’re thinking about making a personal injury claim, consider sitting down and discussing your situation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Houston, Texas.
The Advantage of Legal Representation
A 2018 survey by Nolo.com showed that hiring a personal injury lawyer is the most important step you can take to increase your chances of getting compensation for your harm. More than nine out of ten readers who had legal representation received a settlement or award, compared to about half of those who proceeded on their own.
Please refer to the table below for a comparison of the average settlement amounts, with and without a personal injury attorney:
Please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case.
Injured in a car accident?
Contact our auto accident lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.
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