There is no exact method in the determination of the precise amount of money you may be awarded as a settlement for a car accident. As a rule of thumb, the average amount of settlement you can get for a car accident is to assume three times the cost of medical bills.
The unknown factor in coming with the final amount, however, is the amount awarded for pain and suffering. Because your insurance will take care of the medical bills and the cost of repairing or replacing the car, pain, and suffering is the only part that will be left for the courts to determine and in doing so, the judge will consider factors such as:
- The loss of income due to time spent in the hospital or in rehabilitation
- The nature and severity of the accident
- Any pre-existing conditions
- Duration of therapy
- The kind and nature of treated received
- The type of injury diagnosed
If the accident was not your fault, then the settlement is likely to be larger. You should, however, know that no settlement will be made before you are finished with your medical treatment, and you should also determine if you have any permanent injuries as a result of the crash.
How the amount of pain and suffering is calculated
Since payment for pain and suffering is the greatest variable in the determination of settlement for accidents, it is worth knowing some of the approaches used to determine this amount. In most cases, the following two methods are used:
The Multiplier Method
This is one of the standard approaches for estimating the damages for pains and suffering. With it, the expenses for medical bills and lost income is multiplied by an arbitrary figure of between 2 and 4.
For example, if you had a car accident and your medical bills were $5000 and income loss was $4000, your expenses will be $9000. Depending on other merits of the case, the final settlement may be between $18,000(2 times cost) and $36,000 (4 times cost). The other factors that might increase the multiplier include:
- The nature of the injury
- The time taken for recovery
- Whether or not the injury is permanent
- The presence of aggravating conditions during the accident such as driving under the influence or drunk driving.
The Per Diem Method
With this approach, the pain and suffering compensation is calculated on a per diem/per day basis. For example, if your medical expenses were $15,000 and income loss was $10,000, and assuming that you got treatment for a total of three months, the amount would be assigned to each day, and this is what would be used in the calculation of pain and suffering.
Settlement for back and neck injuries in car accident
There is no much difference in the determination of settlements for these types of injuries and the other accident injuries. Neck and back injuries always go together, and similar factors such as the nature of the injury, loss of income, severity of the injury, duration of therapy and preexisting conditions amongst other will always be considered.
Since these usually are interlinked, be sure to contact your lawyer so that you know exactly what you are entitled to claim for to increase your chances of getting a reasonable settlement.