How Is a Car Accident Settlement Calculated in Coral Springs?
How much is your car accident settlement worth? In Broward County, there have been over 41,000 accidents per year in three of the last four years, with the exception of 2020. In each of those three years, over 23,000 of those accidents resulted in injuries and over 200 deaths according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Many of these accidents occur in Coral Springs.
Every accident is different. Calculating a settlement amount depends on multiple factors and is best handled with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies often try to offer a low-ball settlement that is worth far less than what you deserve.
Understanding Pure Comparative Fault
Florida’s civil court system allows for four years to file a lawsuit for a car accident. The state follows pure comparative fault, which means that damages can be sought even if the person is partly responsible for the accident.
However, settlements will consider this fault into the total, too.
For example, let’s say that you were 40% at fault in an accident, and you had $100,000 in bills to cover. In a trial, you would receive $60,000 in the best-case scenario. Even when you don’t go to trial (a trial isn’t in your best interest), hashing out a settlement will consider your responsibility in the accident.
With an understanding of fault, it’s time to move into main compensation factors.
Factors in a Car Accident Settlement
There are three main types of damages that are factored into damage calculations:
- Economic damages: Also known as special damages, these damages relate to financial losses, such as lost wages, property damage, medical treatment costs, medical expenses and lost earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages: Due to the difficulty of valuing loss of enjoyment of life, companionship, and pain and suffering, these damages come with less concrete estimates.
- Punitive damages: If the defendant purposely caused the accident, punitive damages could be awarded. While rare, these damages may be added if there was gross negligence or intent to cause the accident.
Many of these damages may be difficult to calculate. However, they all factor into the equation. The economic damages are often the easiest to calculate because they involve adding up the expenses caused by the accident, such as:
- Value of the damage or to replace the vehicle
- Current medical expenses
- Lost wages based on days lost during recovery
Lost earning capacity is difficult to determine in many cases. For example, if a person’s injuries led to complete disability, this figure would consider the remaining time a person could work, including raises, and calculating total lost earning capacity.
However, if the injuries do not impact long-term work ability, this figure may be worth very little, if anything.
Future medical treatment may also be difficult to determine. A skilled car accident attorney may bring in a doctor to understand the extent of the person’s injuries and what treatment they will need in the future. Lawyers will then work to put a figure on the loss of life enjoyment, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.
Most non-economic damages in car accident settlements are based on a multiplier of 1.5 to 5. The victim’s economic damages are multiplied by a factor in this range in order to calculate how much they should receive in non-economic damages. The higher the multiplier, the more severe the injuries are. The economic damages and non-economic damages are then added together to determine the total car accident settlement.
Punitive damages may or may not be considered. Typically, the amount of damages that can be sought is $500,000 or three times the amount of the non-economic and economic damages sum.
Tort Thresholds to Consider
In Florida, non-economic damages are calculated only if the tort threshold is exceeded. Injuries that fall into this category include scarring and disfigurement, permanent injuries, significant loss of vital bodily function, or wrongful death.
Calculating Compensation for a Loved One’s Death
If a wrongful death occurs, this will also factor into the settlement talks. Experts are often brought into the calculation process because these cases are notoriously challenging to calculate. Lawyers will usually need to bring in experts, such as:
- Financial professionals
Wrongful death can spread beyond the accident and may also include doctors or medical professionals. Factors in a loved one’s death will consist of many of the factors in the last section. Economic damages will be calculated, loss of future earnings, financial needs of surviving spouses or children, compensation for the loss of companionship, and more. Additionally, funeral costs, pain, grief, and other factors will be used to determine the compensation amount for a loved one’s death.
A car accident settlement is always best resolved outside of trial. If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, you deserve compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Working without the help of a car accident lawyer to calculate compensation can lead to accepting less than you deserve for your injuries.
Insurance companies and the defendant’s lawyer will try to get you to accept a lower settlement amount than you deserve. Your knowledgeable lawyer will fight to seek the highest settlement for your Coral Springs car accident.
Call us today to resolve your case without going to trial. Let’s get started with a free case review.