In 2020, Texas recorded 12,107 car crashes with 14,656 people suffering severe injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Besides the physical and emotional injuries, accident victims also suffer significant financial losses. In addition, because of the loss of income loss, medical and other bills will start piling up. Many accident victims will ask themselves “how much is my car accident settlement worth in Fort Worth?” Should I hire a personal injury lawyer? If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Fort Worth, it is probably your first time filing a personal injury claim, and you’re probably wondering what your legal rights are and how a car accident attorney can help you.
There is no straightforward answer to that question because every car or truck accident claim is different. Insurance companies use statistical data to calculate the average settlement fee for each car accident claim.
In cases where negotiations between the victim and the insurance company fail to reach an agreement, the answer to that question is determined after the victim has filed a personal injury lawsuit and the jury returns a verdict itemizing the amount of damages suffered.
For that reason, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that the involved parties (attorneys and insurance claims adjusters) use when calculating the compensation amount.
In determining the total damages suffered by a car accident in Fort Worth, insurance adjusters, lawyers, and courts will typically examine three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are awarded to settle any financial losses incurred by the victim or claimant. Calculating these damages can be difficult because it involves determining the medical or hospital bills after payments are made by health insurance or government agencies, rehabilitation, property damage, lost income, and loss of earning capability.
It is critical to understand that medical damages go beyond the expenses you have already covered for the treatment you get immediately after the accident. The court will also consider any subsequent costs, such as surgery, medical attention, physical therapy, and medications you receive. The court also factors in these costs as part of your economic damages.
Non-economic damages are even trickier to calculate because they are intangible. The amount awarded depends on the severity of the injury, how the injury has affected your life, and how long it will last.
Examples of accident-related non-economic damages include
Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are awarded as punishment to the at-fault driver to discourage them and others from indulging in negligence or recklessness that could lead to an accident in the future.
It is not a rule that the judge must award punitive damages. The court and jury use their discretion and do so only if the defendant’s actions are particularly harmful. For instance, if the accident occurred because the defendant was intoxicated or had intentionally neglected to repair the brakes on their vehicle, a court could award exemplary damages.
Usually, an insurance company may use one of the following methods of calculating settlement in a car accident claim. They include:
This is the most commonly used approach to calculating a car crash settlement fee. An insurance adjuster will typically add up all your economic damages and multiply them by a number between 1.5 on the lower side and 5 as the highest limit. For instance, if your total financial loss was $70,000, you may receive non-economic damages of $210,000 after multiplication by three. Adding your economic and non-economic losses would net a total settlement of $280,000.
The factor used to multiply the financial loss is called a multiplier. The choice of which multiplier to use depends on several factors, including:
The multiplier used varies, and there is no direct answer to which multiplier an insurance adjuster uses to calculate the settlement. Generally, the factor is determined based on the extent of injuries and financial losses due to medical costs; the lower the medical expenses, the lower the multiplier. For instance, a $3,000 to $10,000 medical fee warrants a lower multiplier (1.5 to 2), whereas medical costs reaching tens of thousands with serious injuries require a higher multiplier (between 3 to 5).
Also known as “per diem” (Latin for “per day”), the daily rate is calculated based on the idea that the accident victim will require a specific amount of money for every day they live with the pain caused due to the accident until full recovery is reached (as determined by their doctor).
The gray area of the per diem method is determining the daily rate to award the claimant. A reasonable approach to that is equating the amount to your daily earnings. The thought behind this formula is that the pain and suffering the victim suffers can be compared to the effort of going to work daily.
Here’s an example to help you understand the per diem formula: Suppose you were rear-ended and suffered moderate to severe bulging discs in your neck and back. You work in a factory and have to stand, climb, squat, and work all day long. You can no longer do your job. If this continues for one month, you will lose about 22 days of income. If you earn $50,000 per year, it means your daily wage earned is $200 so you have lost approximately $4,400.
Other insurance companies use computer software algorithms.
Our office analyzes up to 62 variable before estimating a range of what we think a Tarrant County jury may award our client and begin negotiating at a number much higher than that amount.
However, these settlement calculation methods often fall short when you suffer long-term injuries or disabilities. That is especially when you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advocate for your settlement and fight for your rights in court based on similar verdicts and settlements in Fort Worth, Dallas, or wherever the lawsuit will be filed based on our venue laws.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are concerned about your accident settlement’s value, it would be best to hire a skilled lawyer immediately after securing medical attention.
An experienced accident attorney knows how to investigate a car accident and deal with insurance companies and medical providers. They know which evidence to gather and how to use it to make the strongest case for trial. They will work with you before your deposition and trial testimony so the jury will best understand how the car crash has affected and possibly ruined your life.
They will advocate for you to maximize the total compensation you’re entitled to.
Berenson Injury Law has successfully represented car and truck accident victims in Fort Worth for the past 41 years. Those are the only cases we handle.
Contact our office today for a free consultation to get started on your case.