Car accidents happen all the time. In fact, it’s estimated that you’ll probably be involved in somewhere between three and four car accidents in your lifetime, whether that’s nothing more than a few fender-benders or some kind of significant wreck.
When you’re injured in a wreck that isn’t your fault, it’s only natural to expect the other party (or their insurer) to pay up – but how do you know what your claim is worth?
It isn’t easy to put an accurate value on any given accident claim
There are all kinds of variables in play when a car accident claim is being valued, but compensation is divided into three main categories:
- Actual economic losses: These are quantifiable losses that can be (more or less) easily calculated, such as medical expenses related to your injuries, lost wages during your recovery period and property damage to your vehicle and belongings.
- Non-economic losses: These are real losses, but they’re harder to calculate because they include things like your pain and suffering from your injuries, the emotional distress of the wreck and the recovery period and any issues with diminished quality of life. Generally, the more severe or permanent the injuries, the higher the non-economic value of a claim.
- Punitive damages: These are rarely awarded because they don’t reflect the victim’s losses in any way. Instead, they’re meant to serve as financial punishment when an at-fault party’s actions were shockingly callous, reckless or intentional.
One thing is for certain: The true value of a car accident claim isn’t easy to figure. It’s also not likely to be reflected in the first offer you receive from an insurance company, either. Since it’s very difficult for a layperson to understand what fair compensation looks like after a wreck, it’s wise to seek experienced legal assistance with your negotiations.