If you have been injured in a car accident, you should only settle for an amount that will cover the value of your losses. For instance, if you suffered injuries that required you to be hospitalized, you want to be sure that you are able to recover an amount that will cover these medical costs along with those you might incur in the future. If the accident left you temporarily disabled and unable to work, your possible future earnings should also be factored into the settlement. A fair settlement should include compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages
If you want to know how much you should settle for after a car accident, you must first determine how much your economic and non-economic damages are worth. To do this, you must understand what each of these legal terms means.
Economic damages are financial losses a person suffers as a result of an accident. They have a definitive dollar value attached to them, according to the Legal Information Institute (LII). The following are examples of economic damages:
- Medical expenses: this includes the cost for medical care that was already rendered along with the care that will likely be needed in the future. Typically, the more severe an injury, the more a person will have to pay in medical care.
- Loss of earnings: if a car accident victim suffered physical or psychological injuries as a result of an accident, he or she will likely have to take off from work. Loss of earnings would be the amount of the money the victim would have earned had they been able to continue working. If the accident resulted in a victim losing out on bonuses or promotions, this too can be factored into the total.
- Replacement services: this refers to the services an injured person needs as a result of their inability to perform certain tasks for themselves. Housekeeping, transportation, and meal preparation are a few examples of services a car accident victim might need as a result of the injuries suffered in a car accident.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to value than economic damages. They refer to losses that stem from physical and emotional pain. Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: this non-economic damage is the physical and emotional trauma a person experiences after an accident. For example, a victim might suffer pain in their back and neck, which causes them to experience headaches and dizziness.
- Inconvenience: if the accident has inconvenienced a victim or their loved ones in any way, they may be entitled to recover compensation for this.
- Mental anguish: this loss covers any extreme emotional distress or suffering.
- Disfigurement: disfigurement can have a dramatic psychological effect on a car accident victim as it can alter their image, leaving them struggling with self-esteem issues.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: car crashes are traumatic events that impact a person’s life in more ways than one. If a victim feels as though they are unable to live their life how they desire due to the circumstances they are now forced to live with, they can request that their settlement include compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
It is important to note that some insurance policies may not cover all the victim’s losses. If this is true for you, you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit with the help of one of our personal injury attorneys. When a car accident victim is unable to recover the money they are due from their insurer or the other party’s insurer, a personal injury lawyer can then determine what other forms of action can be taken so that a victim is properly compensated for their injuries/losses.
Elements That Could Impact the Value of Your Settlement
There are many factors that can influence your settlement amount. One factor that could reduce the amount you are entitled to collect is your role in the accident. If you were partially liable for causing a car accident, and it has been determined that you are entitled to receive damages, New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §1411 says that while you are not barred from recovering compensation, the amount of your recovery is reduced by your percentage of fault.
Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to Find Out How Much Your Injuries Might Be Worth
If you are wondering how much you should settle for after a car accident, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at (516) 358-6900 to discuss your case. Our personal injury lawyers are trained to evaluate a victim’s economic and non-economic damages. We can determine if you are entitled to compensation and how much you should accept from the liable party or their insurer.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900