Being involved in a car accident, even a minor one, can be frightening. But, the aftermath of the crash is often far more stressful than the collision itself. You may be dealing with severe physical and mental injuries—and costly property damage.
And it may take a long time to recover, or even get back to work. With bills mounting up, it’s easy to take the first offer that insurance company makes. But be careful—it’s often only a fraction of what you’re entitled to. You need to talk to a Buford personal injury lawyer.
At John Foy & Associates, we have over 20 years of experience dealing with insurance companies. We know the tactics they use and we know how to beat them. Don’t settle for less than you deserve—especially when you have medical costs. Let us give you a FREE consultation. We charge nothing unless we get you money.
How Much Should My Car Accident Claim Pay Me?
It depends. We have seen car accident claims for anywhere from $5,000 or $10,000 to as much as a million dollars or more. As a general rule, a minor accident is likely to get far less than a more serious case, but even that rule of thumb may not apply to every situation.
Even though it’s difficult to predict, many insurance companies will use a “multiplier” method to put a rough value on your case. That means they total up all of your medical expenses, and multiply that amount by a particular number.
The number is usually between one and five, depending on the severity of your case. In situations that involve the potential for long-term health problems or disfigurement, the number is likely to be higher. They then add on in your other costs, such as your lost wages while you were recovering.
Here’s an example. Imagine you were T-boned because the other driver ran through a stop sign, and it’s clear that the other driver is at fault. Although most of your injuries were minor, you hurt your neck and back and may require surgery in the future. And you already have $10,000 in medical costs from the treatment you received so far.
In addition, you were off work for two weeks right after the accident, so you’re down about $1,000 in lost income, and you have about $1,500 in damage to your car.
In this example, the insurance company may use the following calculation:
- $10,000 in medical expenses x 3 for a moderate injury = $30,000
- Plus $1,000 lost wages for two weeks
- Plus $1,500 property damage
- Plus $4,000 as an additional amount to account for some pain and suffering
- Total: $36,500
This example is oversimplified, but this really is what insurance companies try to do with each case.
No matter what amount they first offer you, remember: it is nothing more than a starting point. The insurance company is making a rough guess about how much your claim is “worth,” and they’re hoping you’ll take it at face value—but you have the right to bargain.
Get the strong arm
Should I Take the First Offer the Insurance Company Provides?
No. Insurance companies don’t base their first offer just on what they think you deserve. Instead, they have to set “reserves” for every potential case.
This is basically a budgeted amount that helps their profitability—not necessarily you as a victim. They try not to go over this reserve number, but the amount may be adjusted as the case goes on. In many situations, the reserve number is low at the outset because you have not had much medical care yet.
As your medical bills increase, your reserve number often increases as well. If a doctor tells you that you are likely to have long-term health problems, your multiplier may go up, too.
Because of this process, it’s important not to jump at the first offer from the insurance company. In many cases, you may not realize how much medical care you are going to need in the future until months or even years down the road. This information will be vital to how much the insurance company is willing to pay for your claim.
Having an attorney gives you an advantage. Your attorney will be able to do their own analysis on how much money you need, as well as what your case would be worth in court. While roughly 90% of cases never make it to the courthouse, it is essential to consider how your situation would be presented to a jury or judge. This often creates leverage to get the insurance company to negotiate.
What Type of Evidence to I Need to Prove My Car Accident Case?
In Buford and across Georgia, victims often shoulder the burden of proving that the other driver was legally liable. They also need to set out particular information to prove their losses associated with the accident. This sounds intimidating—but it doesn’t have t be.
Your lawyer can perform their own investigation of the accident to get much of the evidence you’ll need. They can also help gather crucial documents, testimony, and other information to show that you should get money damages. Many car accident cases will involve the following evidence:
- Medical bills
- Witness testimony (including yours)
- Wage records
- Information regarding time away from work
Severe cases may also affect your long-term health and ability to work. You may need expert information regarding these factors as well. Medical professionals and others may be involved in those more in-depth cases. Ultimately, the goal of working with these experts is to make sure you get every penny you deserve.
Talk to a Buford Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Even what seems like a simple car accident case can quickly be complicated. Make sure that you’re getting the best legal advice possible—and recovering all the money you deserve. John Foy & Associates is here for you.
We offer a FREE consultation with some of the most respected car accident lawyers in the state, and we never charge a dime unless you win money. Contact us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.