How to Determine What Your Iowa Car Accident Claim is Worth
If you were injured in a car accident in Southeast Iowa, you may be wondering if you can file a car accident claim for damages, and if so, how much your claim might be worth. Calculating a personal injury settlement is often a complex process, one that requires the insurance adjusters and possibly a judge to consider numerous factors, including medical expenses, lost wages, extent of injuries, permanency of injuries, loss of enjoyment of life, and other such damages. If you want to know what type of settlement to expect from your car accident claim, reach out to an Iowa personal injury lawyer, one who is familiar with car accident cases and who can give you can give you an accurate estimate of what your case might worth.
Each insurance policy comes with a limit for how much the insurance company will pay out in damages. Most car accident settlements are never more than that limit. However, if you believe that your damages are costlier than what the insurance policy can compensate you for, you may have to sue the other driver, in which case, your case would go to trial. If it does, and if the judge does end awarding an amount that exceeds the at-fault driver’s policy limits, there is no guarantee that you will see the excess money. The judge can order a person to pay a portion of the settlement, but if the at-fault driver’s financial situation does not allow it, there is not much that the judge can do to enforce it.
Typically, the amount of money you spent out of pocket to cover your medical expenses will be included in the settlement. If your injuries are ongoing, your attorney may negotiate for future medical costs.
Unfortunately, the insurance adjuster will use the condition of your vehicle post-accident to determine what the extent of your injuries should have been. If you claim to have been badly injured but the vehicle says otherwise, the insurer may use that as evidence of you “fibbing” about your injuries in order to try and negotiate a lower settlement.
Lost Income or Earning Capacity
If you were unable to work because of your injuries, or if a serious injury hindered your ability to perform your job at all, you may be able to recover compensation for lost income and future lost income (earning capacity).
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering encompasses the obvious pain and suffering stemming from physical injuries and any uncomfortable medical treatment, but it also covers the mental and psychological effects that result after an accident, such as fear, anxiety, loss of sleep, or, in extreme instances, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because it is difficult for anyone but the person suffering to know the extent of pain and suffering that he or she is going through, it can be challenging to put a dollar amount on a person’s suffering. However, pain and suffering damages often make up the biggest category of compensation in car accident cases, especially in ones where injuries were severe and required extensive medical treatment. In an attempt to make pain and suffering damages more “standard,” insurance companies implemented a multiplier system in which they multiply a person’s total medical bills by anywhere between 1.5 and 6 times. 1.5 is for injuries that were minor, while 6 is used for injuries that result in permanent disability.
Consider Comparative Fault
Iowa operates under a modified comparative fault law, meaning that you could be held partially liable for your own injuries, in which case, your settlement would be reduced accordingly. For instance, if your damages totaled $10,000 but you were determined to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, your settlement would be reduced by 25 percent to $75,000.
If you are curious about what your case is worth, contact one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys here at Noyes Law Office, P.C. We can assess your case free, estimate what it is worth and advice you on how to proceed from here. Get started with your claim today and call our Southeast Iowa firm today.