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Four Factors Determining Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 By

Every client who schedules a consultation at DuBoff & Associates, Chtd. asks about the value of their car accident case. It has less to do with greed and more to do with wanting stability since high medical bills, lost wages, and uncertain recovery is unsettling. Knowing whether a monetary award will be enough reclaim losses is often reassuring to people.

It is difficult to put exact values on car accident settlements because every case is different. Injuries present unique impacts to every individual too. A hairdresser is more likely to face work limitations from whiplash than a sedentary office worker. When considering distinct circumstances and lifestyles, the following four factors are the most influential when valuing car accident settlements.

Medical Bills

More serious injuries generate higher medical expenses. Whiplash may require chiropractic treatment, massage, and physical therapy which costs less than multiple fractures requiring surgery and long term treatment plans.

Medical expenses do not just show the overall seriousness of an injury but also the impacts to the patient. While a soft tissue injury may not require extensive treatment when suffered by a healthy 28-year-old, it may cause considerable pain to the client who also manages arthritis. Some people require more treatment for certain injuries than others and that is always an important distinction to make during settlement discussions.

This makes medical bills among the first considered when valuing cases. They are a solid dollar amount as to the cost of an injury. However, they can also be a starting point for insurance adjusters to question treatment they consider too expensive or unnecessary.

Lost Wages

Many clients miss work due to car accident injuries. Even if you receive paid sick or vacation time to recover, that can still be reimbursed in a settlement offer. After all, if the accident had not occurred, you would not need the time off.

If you do not have paid sick time, that reduction of pay is documented through time sheets and presented as part of the settlement package. This is not limited to days missed due to pain but also any time off you need for doctor appointments. If you are paid hourly instead of salaried, that missed time can also add up quickly so never discount it.


Serious injuries may result in physical disability. That can limit your employment opportunities and result in longer-term medical expenses.

For example, if you have a job that involves mostly manual labor but sustain a back fracture in a car accident, you can be compensated for not only your lost wages but also loss of future income. Any expenses for being re-trained into a new field could also become part of your settlement award.

The same theory works if you must undergo treatment your entire life or require mobility devices. Your settlement amount includes the amount of money you require to maintain this treatment or even make modifications to make life manageable, such as ramps in your home for a wheelchair.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is the most subjective element in a personal injury case. Stoic types tend to avoid discussing pain and it can be difficult to assess how it affects them. There are also sensitive people for whom a headache is enough to miss work and make them miserable. Just as injuries have different effects on people, so does pain.

This is often documented by explaining limits on beloved activities and overall life impacts. If your car accident injury left you unable to compete in a marathon you trained for during the last year, that is significant and shows you faced substantial pain and suffering. However, if your lifestyle was sedentary before the accident and the pain did not limit your day-to-day activities much, it may be more difficult to prove you suffered greatly.

Records for prescription pain medication may also be considered. If you required a particular pain reliever to sleep or merely function during the day, that is also indicative of significant pain and suffering.

This is not limited to physical pain. If you have nightmares about an accident or develop a fear of driving, for example, those emotional and mental impacts may also be considered in this category.

In many ways, pain and suffering is a catch-all phrase that discusses all possible impacts from an accident. You may discover limitations after a car accident in the form of fatigue, depression or physical abilities. It is not uncommon for clients to hire house cleaners or landscape workers because they simply cannot finish this work on their own.

Proving these damages so you secure a fair settlement amount is often challenging. Even if you are involved in a rear-end collision where liability is obvious, insurance companies will question you throughout this ordeal. That is why hiring a personal injury attorney is essential.

DuBoff & Associates, Chtd. is the law firm that cares. We offer the experience, empathy, and dedication to secure the best result possible in your car accident case.Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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