If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you’re familiar with the financial implications that follow. Besides medical expenses, car accident victims often lose valuable work days and property.
Unfortunately, car accidents are pretty common in South Carolina. In fact, the South Carolina collision fact book estimates that there were over 140,000 car crashes in the state in 2019.
One of the hardest parts of filing a car accident injury claim is calculating the expected compensation because there’s so much to cover. You must consult lawyers at a reputable law firm, such as jeffmorrislawfirm.com, to help get justice and fair compensation. Keep reading to learn how to calculate a car accident injury claim.
What Can Decrease or Increase Your Car Accident Settlement?
Just as every car accident is unique, so are their settlements. There are several factors that affect how much you receive as a settlement after your car accident:
Out of Pocket Expenses
In most cases, car accident victims file injury claims after receiving treatment. Therefore, they include all the out-of-pocket expenses they paid during treatment in the claim.
These expenses include doctors’ consultation fees, private nurses, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.
South Carolina applies comparative fault in car accident cases. This means that even if you’re partially to blame for the accident, you can still claim damages. However, this only applies if you are less than 50% responsible.
If you share blame for causing the accident, you’ll receive less compensation than if it was entirely caused by someone else.
The Severity of The Injuries
Although you deserve compensation for any injury you get from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it wouldn’t be fair to give the same settlement for a broken arm as that for a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Some injuries are more expensive to treat than others, while others might take longer to heal or have life-changing effects. Additionally, some injuries might cause intense pain and suffering.
Ability to Resume Work
Some car accidents have life-changing impacts on the victims. For instance, if you’re a truck driver and lose your limbs in a car accident, you might never be able to return to your former job.
The Car Accident Settlement Formula
While there might not be a universally expected car accident settlement formula, insurance companies often use the multiplier method to calculate a car accident settlement and have a rough figure to start negotiations.
This method typically multiplies your special damages with a factor representing general damages and adds your lost wages.
After an accident, you might suffer some non-economic losses that are hard to quantify with a monetary value. For instance, if you’re amputated in an accident, you might lose your ability to enjoy activities like sports. Similarly, if you have severe injuries, you might have to endure pain and suffering as you heal.
Since these losses are hard to value, they’re given a factor of between 1.4 and 5, depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, insurance companies assume that if the accident caused severe injuries, the pain and suffering would take longer than mild injuries. Therefore, the general damages in such an accident are awarded a higher factor.
This represents the money you’d have earned while nursing your injuries after the accident. For instance, if you were out of work for two months after the accident, the insurance company uses what you’d have potentially earned as your lost wages.
This is the sum of all quantifiable losses, such as ambulance fees, medical bills, medications, special equipment, and damaged property. It’s important to note that loss of future wages is calculated under special damages.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Injury Claim?
It might not always be possible to file an injury claim immediately after an accident. However, in the state of South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing car accident injury claims is three years. Therefore, if you wait longer than three years after the date of the accident, you risk forfeiting your right to compensation.
When Can You Expect to Receive Your Settlement?
Most car accident injury claims in Myrtle Beach are settled by the insurance company before they go to trial. Once you file the claim, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you get fair compensation.
However, if you’re not satisfied with what the insurance company is offering, the case will go to trial, and a judge and jury will make a verdict. Car accident trials can last anywhere from a week to years, depending on their complexity.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you should consider the factors above to calculate your injury claim. You can also talk to an experienced car accident attorney to help you file your claim.
It’s important to remember that you have three years from the accident date to file an injury claim; otherwise, you risk losing your right to compensation.