Newport Beach is a great place to live, visit, or even go for a drive through on a beautiful day. However, not every drive through Newport Beach is safe, and you may find yourself in an accident with someone who is distracted while driving, operating their motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, speeding, or some reckless or negligent actions that put other drivers at risk.
If you have been in a car accident in Newport Beach that someone else caused, you may be entitled to seek damages for your personal injuries that will far exceed the amount that the insurance company will initially try to offer you. You can learn more about this process below, as well as how a personal injury attorney will calculate the amount that you truly deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney, and get a better idea of what your path forward could look like while working with the team at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates. This free consultation is a great opportunity to get more insight into your injuries and legal options with someone who has a history of successful car accident cases.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
When you are working with an insurance representative, keep in mind that their main job is to save their employer as much money as possible. They work with you to determine the amount it will cost in order to settle your case for as little as possible while avoiding any future legal issues, not to give you the amount that you are legally entitled to. Hiring an attorney is the best way to work through these negotiations with a clear idea of your rights.
When an insurance company makes you an offer after reviewing your situation, this is not the best they can do, no matter how much they want you to think that it's your only chance. This is just the beginning of negotiations for an attorney. If the negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company are unable to reach an agreement, then your lawyer will work with you to build a case and pursue your case in the California courts.
Never accept an offer from an insurance company without at least consulting an attorney first. In exchange for this one-time payment, you will waive your rights to seek any additional compensation or legal recourse if any problems were to arise in the future. This is not to say that a full court case is necessary in every situation, but it is essential that you have explored all options and know that you are getting the best offer given the circumstances.
How Are Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuit Amounts Determined?
No two accidents are the same, and the injuries and damages that occur after each accident is unique to the situation and the victims involved. This is why there is no simple way to determine the actual amount owed, and why so many negotiations end up in civil court as a full lawsuit. In a personal injury case, there are two different types of damages that are considered, each of which has their own criteria and requirements for calculating.
Economic damages are the simpler of the two damages to calculate, because they require repaying the victim (or their insurance company) for expenses and costs associated with the accident and the accompanying injuries. This includes things like medical bills, hospital expenses, surgical procedures, and recovery costs, and anything else directly related to the treatment of the injury. In addition, economic damages include payments for lost wages if the victim had to miss work, as well as the cost of any services that the victim needed to pay for because of their injuries.
These payments are the easier damages to calculate because they simply require collecting all of the invoices, expenses, and income statements that prove the amounts that have either been paid out or missed as earnings since the accident.
The other damages that your personal injury attorney will fight for are the more complex of the two, because they seek compensation for issues that do not have simple, agreed-upon monetary values associated with them. Just because there is no set dollar value attached to these damages does not make them any less important. These damages include things like the pain and suffering a victim endures after an accident, as well as their loss of enjoyment and diminished quality of life as they deal with their injuries and recovery, and depression and sadness that may come with the situation.
The most common way to determine non-economic damage amounts involves using a “multiplier,” which is a way to indicate the severity of these economic damages to the judge and jury. You and your attorney will work closely to quantify all of the non-economic damages that you have suffered before applying a multiplier to your case, so that you are confident you are being compensated for all of the important issues.
For example: if you and your attorney determined a multiplier of 5x, then you would apply that to your economic damages in order to determine the amount you are seeking. If your economic damages were $100,000, and you were to apply a 4x multiplier, then you would seek $400,000 in non-economic damages, in addition to the $100,000 of economic damages for a total of $500,000.
In certain personal injury cases, the jury decides to award the victim with punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages mentioned above. These are not intended to repay the victim for any specific portion of their injuries, but are meant instead to punish the party who caused the injuries for their egregious or particularly reckless actions. You are not able to request punitive damages or include them in your case, so these damages will not be calculated in the amount you and your attorney are working towards.
Contact Us Today
Before you proceed any further with the insurance company after a car accident, contact Timothy J. Ryan & Associates to get the professional help that will get you the money you rightfully deserve. There is a lot more to your situation than is immediately apparent, and an insurance company will do everything they can to keep you from realizing how much you actually deserve, and how little they are offering you.
When you are working with a car accident attorney in Newport Beach, you can focus on rebuilding your life instead of dealing with endless frustrations and details about your case. Stress is proven to impact recovery processes, meaning that your attorney is not only fighting for your financial interests, but is also assisting your recovery process by taking on the majority of your legal issues.