When individuals are injured in a car accident, they often pursue compensation for their injuries. In most cases, this compensation is awarded in the form of a settlement. Settlements are an agreement between an insurance company or a private entity and the injured person. They can be negotiated for an indefinite amount of time before a settlement is actually agreed upon.
Car Accident Settlement Formula
Some businesses and websites have come up with a car accident settlement formula. This can be helpful in giving individuals an idea of what amount of settlement they can expect. However, these online formulas are no substitute for legal advice and are in no way a guarantee of what you will receive.
Figuring out any type of settlement, such as a whiplash injury claim amount, can be made simpler with the use of expert resources.
Figuring out the right amount of economic damages is the most objective figure of the settlement amount. Concrete damages consist of all the documented, actual costs of medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, future lost income, and future medical expenses.
These figures should be supported by actual receipts for expenses, as well as prognosis by a doctor for future medical expenses expected and the ability to work.
Figuring out the amount of non-economic damages is much more difficult to determine. Most commonly referred to as pain and suffering, it is a subjective amount that each individual must determine as appropriate for their situation. These non-economic damages include physical discomfort, mental anxiety, stress, and other such negative effects from the accident that impact daily life.
If the injured person shares fault with the other individual or entity, the amount of an expected settlement will not be as high as if no fault was shared. The state in which the accident occurred will determine how much shared fault will affect a settlement.
Pure Comparative Negligence
In pure comparative negligence states, the amount of the settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault. These states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington.
Individuals in these states should only expect a percentage of the settlement if they have been found at fault. Since fault is assigned by percentages, it is simple to figure out what percentage they are eligible to receive. For example, if an individual is found to be 15% at fault, they will only receive 85% of the settlement.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In modified comparative negligence states, the percentage system is also followed, However, if an individual is found to be equal to or greater than 50 percent at fault, they are ineligible to receive any type of settlement for damages.
The states that follow the modified comparative negligence model include: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In contributory negligence states, if an individual is assigned any percentage of fault, they are ineligible to receive any type of settlement for damages in a court of law. Therefore, a settlement outside of the court system will bring little, if any, compensation.
The states that follow the contributory negligence model are Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Knowing which type of negligence your state follows is important but in order to succeed the best you can in a car accident, consult with a car accident attorney, even if you settle before the case ever goes to court.