What is a Reasonable Settlement for a Car Accident?

If you or somebody you love sustains an injury or property damage in a car accident caused by another driver in Washington, you need to know what steps to take to recover compensation for your losses. However, it can be challenging to know what a “reasonable settlement” should look like. Determining what is reasonable or not reasonable may require assistance from a skilled Seattle car accident lawyer who can handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf. 

Determining Economic Compensation for a Car Accident

After a vehicle accident occurs in Washington, it is crucial to adequately calculate all economic damages a person sustains. These are also referred to as “special damages,” and these are the losses an individual sustains for which they will likely receive bills and receipts that can be used to calculate totals. Some of the most common economic damages an individual sustains after a Washington car accident include the following:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • All follow-up doctor visits
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Lost income if a crash victim cannot work
  • Loss of future earnings if a disability occurs
  • Property damage expenses
  • Out-of-pocket losses

When working to calculate economic losses, insurance carriers will ask for proof of every expense before they agree to pay. It is crucial to work with a skilled attorney who can help you gather your medical records, medical bills, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and other proof of these expenses.

Calculating Non-Economic Compensation After a Car Accident

Adequately calculating non-economic damages after a car accident in Washington is more challenging. These losses are often referred to as “general damages,” and they are more immeasurable than the economic losses we discussed above. They are more immeasurable because these types of losses are not as easily seen, as they do not necessarily come with receipts or bills. Some of the most common non-economic damages after a Washington car accident include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering losses
  • Emotional and mental distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

In order to calculate fair non-economic compensation, an attorney might use a “multiplier method.” This includes adding up all of the economic expenses and then multiplying them by a particular number (usually a number ranging from 2 to 4). For example, if an individual sustains $300,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages after a traumatic brain injury, an attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic total of $900,000. Overall, an attorney would ask for $1,200,000 on behalf of their client, which is a combination of the economic damages and the non-economic damages.

An alternative method for calculating non-economic damages is the “per diem” route. Using this method, an attorney would assign a dollar value to a person’s daily pain and suffering and then multiply this amount by the total amount of days the injury victim is expected to experience their suffering. For example, if an attorney assigns a dollar value of $500 and it is expected to take a year for a person to recover, then the total non-economic damages for the claim would be $182,500 (365 X $500).

It is imperative to work with a skilled Washington car accident lawyer before deciding to take a settlement offer from an insurance carrier. An attorney will work with trusted medical and economic experts to help you adequately calculate your total expected losses.