Car accidents can be very expensive. Between damage to your car, hospital bills, time off work, physical therapy, and long-term pain and suffering or disability, the costs add up quickly.
One of the most common questions we, as personal injury lawyers, get is: “How much compensation will I receive?” Every case is different, and there’s no way to say with certainty how much a person will get for their injury. But, in this video, I’ll go over some of the factors we use to estimate how much a victim might get in a settlement.
WHERE DOES ACCIDENT COMPENSATION COME FROM?
In the vast majority of cases, someone injured in a car accident will end up dealing with a car insurance company. New York has a no-fault car insurance system, which means every car insurance policy comes with Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage. PIP covers your injuries no matter who was at fault.
PIP settlements are easier to calculate. PIP only covers what the law calls economic losses, which include medical bills, lost time at work, and physical therapy. So, figuring out what you would get from your PIP policy just involves adding up your medical bills and what you would have made if you’d been able to work instead of being at home or in a medical facility recovering.
WHAT IF PIP ISN’T ENOUGH?
PIP has some limits. The default policy limit is only $50,000, meaning unless you paid for extra coverage, you can never get more than $50,000. Plus, PIP doesn’t cover things like pain and suffering, disability, lifestyle changes, or emotional trauma. This means PIP may not provide you with all the compensation you’ll need.
If PIP isn’t enough to cover your costs, you’ll need to sue the other driver and collect from their car insurance policy’s bodily injury coverage. These sorts of settlements are much harder to estimate than PIP amounts. The main factors in determining how much compensation you can get are how much fault the other driver had in the accident, how severe your injuries are, and the other driver’s insurance policy limit.
Most personal injury cases end in settlements, not trials, so we usually don’t need to prove to a jury the other driver was at fault. However, insurance companies mainly settle because they’re afraid of losing at trial. The more likely it is the other driver was at fault, the bigger the settlement will be.
The other big factor is how severe your injuries are. Usually, insurance companies measure this by medical bills. A settlement will generally be based on the dollar value of your medical bills, multiplied by a number between 2 and 5, to compensate for things like pain and suffering. The more life-changing the injury, the higher the number used as a multiplier. While insurance companies normally use software to calculate the settlements, a good personal injury lawyer can usually negotiate up from there.
Finally, the other driver’s policy limit can limit your compensation. Insurers won’t pay out more than their contract requires them to, and the other driver probably won’t have enough money to pay out of pocket.
WHO SHOULD YOU CONTACT IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
If you’ve been injured in an accident and you need help getting compensated, contact Rosenblum Law for a free consultation today. We’ll walk you through the process and make sure you get as much compensation as possible.