In 2016 alone, there were over 23,000 fatalities or reported injuries from car accidents in Orange County. If you have been involved in a car accident and injured, or you have unfortunately lost a loved one in a car accident that someone else caused, an Irvine personal injury lawyer is available to help you get the financial compensation that you deserve for your suffering. Before you begin to deal directly with insurance companies, or if you are unsure of your options, contact us now to speak with a personal injury attorney in Irvine who will be able to help you understand your rights and the best possible paths forward from this situation.
If the car accident that you or your loved one was involved in was caused by another driver's actions, recklessness, or negligence, then you may be entitled to additional damages in a personal injury lawsuit, if not through a direct settlement agreement with the driver's insurance company. This amount will go beyond your property damage and medical expenses and will seek to recover money for issues that are not immediately addressed during negotiations with an insurance company.
Read more below about how a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex and overwhelming process of getting the money you deserve after a car accident, and contact us immediately for a free consultation. The following information is only an overview, and may not address your situation exactly — this does not mean you will not get the help you need. Contact us now to get started on your case today.
Collecting Damages After a Car Accident
After you are involved in a car accident, and it is determined that the other driver is at fault, you will begin dealing directly with their insurance company (or your own insurance company, if they were underinsured or uninsured). When you are dealing with an insurance representative, it is essential that you keep in mind their primary responsibility as an employee: to save the company as much money as possible, while settling all claims and avoiding future issues or legal problems. What this means is that they will work to reach a settlement agreement with you for as little money as possible, and in exchange will require that you waive your rights for any future legal action.
Never Accept an Insurance Company's First Offer
The first offer that the insurance company will make to you is not the best they can do, although they will lead you to believe that your only option is to take the money. If you accept this offer, you will need to sign an agreement that waives your ability to seek any future damages that stem from this car accident. This means that if you have any future medical issues or anything else that impacts your life, you are unable to get additional assistance.
Instead, we will use this offer as a starting point for negotiations. We will include future possible expenses, decreases to your income, and a variety of other factors that the insurance company would never voluntarily include.
If negotiations are successful, then we will accept a settlement that is fair. If not, we will move to a full lawsuit.
How Much Are Car Accident Lawsuits or Settlements For?
There is no easy answer to how much you will be able to collect following your car accident because there are many different factors that each dictate a different piece of the overall amount. However, we have listed a few major factors that we include in the amount of money we will seek for you based on your specific situation.
Economic damages are the foundation of a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for the measurable expenses associated with your car accident. This includes things like medical bills, hospital costs, surgical bills, recovery costs, and anything else associated with your injuries and treatment. In addition, it includes things like lost wages, diminished wages due to injuries, and any sick time or paid leave that you had to use in order to subsidize your time away from work.
Essentially, economic damages are calculated by adding up all of the expenses paid and the income lost as a result of your injuries, whether they are for services you needed to pay for in order to assist you in activities you would have been able to do had you not been injured, or the aforementioned expenses and losses.
Non-economic damages are not as simple to quantify as simply totaling the amounts of invoices and earning statements — they are intended to compensate victims for the “intangible” aspects of an injury. For example, the pain associated with an injury is very real, and very prevalent after an accident, but does not have a financially-measurable cost. Other non-economic damages include depression, lack of enjoyment, suffering, inability to pursue hobbies, and other things that impact victims following a serious injury.
Since there is no exact method of measuring the financial value of non-economic damages, one common way to quantify these damages is by using a “multiplier.” This multiplier is intended to provide the judge and jury with a number that acts as an easy way to understand the severity of these issues. Once we have determined a fair multiplier, we will apply it to the economic damages in order to determine the final amount we are seeking.
For example, if you have suffered $100,000 of economic damages, and we have determined that a multiplier of 5x is fair, then the final amount we seek will be $100,000 + (5 * $100,000) = $600,000. However, it is important to remember that both numbers — the economic damage amount as well as the non-economic multiplier — are unique in each case.
Contact Us Today
Before you begin working on your situation alone, know that Timothy J. Ryan & Associates is here to help. It is widely accepted that stress plays a major impact on recovery, and when you are working with a team of professionals you can focus on keeping your stress low and your recovery prioritized. You can focus on getting your life back in order with the confidence that your case is being handled by a trustworthy and experienced attorney who is fighting for your best interests every step of the way.