How Much is My Auto Accident Case Worth?

People who have been in a car accident are often hard-pressed to come up with the funds to pay for medical costs, vehicle repair, and so on. This naturally begs the question, “How much will my auto accident claim be worth?” Will filing a claim and accepting a settlement really get you enough money to cover all of your expenses?

Unfortunately, there is no formula to calculate the absolute value of a car accident claim with guaranteed accuracy. There can be a variety of factors that change the final total, so any calculation you do complete will only be a rough estimate that could be undervalued or overvalued by a considerable margin by the end of your case. There is, however, a generalized “settlement calculation” that you can use if your curiosity is getting the better of you, or if you have already been offered a settlement and you aren’t sure if it is even close to fair.

Here’s how the basic car accident claim calculator works:

  1. Collect your medical bills and total up all of the costs you have experienced so far.
  2. Speak to your doctor to get the expected cost of all of your medical treatments from now until you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), or the point at which you are no longer expected to recover from your injuries no matter the treatment options available to you.
  3. Use bills from mechanics or dealerships to total the costs of vehicle repair and replacement – don’t forget other related expenses like towing from the car accident site.
  4. You might next need your employer’s help to determine how much of your earnings and wages you have lost already plus how much paid time-off (PTO) you have used.
  5. Just like with your medical costs, you must also know how much income you will lose in total throughout all the years due to your injuries and debilitations.
  6. Add up all of the amounts you previously collected – called actual damages – and multiply that total by your “pain and suffering index.”

What is a pain and suffering index, though? This is where calculating the value of your car accident claim becomes difficult. If you were not liable for your accident, then you can most likely pursue damages to pay the emotional and physical trauma you have experienced. These “pain and suffering” costs are usually equal to your total actual damages multiplied by any number between 1.5 and 5, or even up to 10. The more you have suffered, the higher the multiplication.

For example: A motorist is blindsided by a drunk driver and suffers injuries that lead to total paralysis of his legs. Due to the trauma of losing the ability to walk and the excruciating pain of the injuries, his actual damages are multiplied by 5 when pursuing compensation. In another case, a woman slips and falls on a puddle in a grocery store – the same general calculation works for all personal injury claims – and suffers a concussion. She is hospitalized and misses two weeks of work to ensure she recovers fully. Her actual damages are only multiplied by 1.5 due to the comparative lack of trauma from her fall.

Insurance Caps & Professional Representation

Keep in mind that the general “formula” for estimating your auto accident claim’s value is not guaranteed to be accurate. Insurance caps must also be considered when thinking about settling a claim. In many cases, no matter how extensive the actual damages and emotional trauma caused by an accident, the petitioner can only collect an amount that does not exceed the insurance cap set by the liable party’s insurance provider.

This is where retaining a car accident lawyer becomes even more important. At The Warren Firm, PLLC, our Charlottesville personal injury attorneys can back your claim with more than 15 years of legal experience and a history of successful case results to pursue a maximum compensation amount, and not a penny less. We can also help you estimate what your claim’s value should be if you have been presented a settlement offer from the liable party – you should not agree to any amount without first letting a lawyer examine the claim.

Want to know more about our services? Call toll-free 888.709.9869 or email us today.