If you were in a car accident and have spoken with the insurance companies, you might think that you have a pretty good idea of what your case should be worth. With an appraisal for vehicle repairs and your medical bills in hand and, it might seem like the insurance company has offered to cover everything. In many cases, insurance companies instead work to provide low-ball offers to cut corners and save money on insurance payouts. Fayetteville, AR car accident lawyer Ken Kieklak explains how much your car accident settlement offer should really be and how you might be able to increase your damages by taking your claim to court instead.
Is an Insurance Settlement Enough for a Car Accident in Arkansas?
When the insurance company gives you the insurance offer, you have a choice of whether to accept it or reject it. In many cases, the number might look big, but it might not actually cover everything you need, and it is important to have a lawyer review your case and help you determine whether your car accident settlement is correct or not.
Most car insurance policies that cover car accidents in Arkansas will not pay for everything you need. These insurance policies typically cover vehicle repairs, medical bills, and lost wages, but they might cover any of these at only a percentage of their full value. They will not usually pay for other damages, either.
When you take an insurance settlement from the car insurance company, it will often be lower than the full damages you might have suffered. This happens in part because the policy only covers a percentage of the damages and in part because there are additional areas of damages that the insurance company excludes.
If your settlement offer has come from the driver directly, from a trucking company after a truck accident injury case, or from another individual or company, the settlement offer might include some of these additional damages. However, you should still have a lawyer look over the actual amount to see if it covers all of your injuries and damages.
Calculating Damages in an Arkansas Car Accident Settlement or Trial
When you calculate damages after a car accident injury case, the value should include a few different areas of damages. When calculating the potential damages you could receive at trial, there are additional considerations to take into account – and when calculating damages for a settlement, there might be other reductions that will go into the calculation. Ultimately, a lawyer can help you calculate the damages in your specific case and advise you on the best route to receiving compensation after a serious injury.
Areas of Damages
Car accident claims should cover the cost of any medical care you faced from the accident, including ongoing rehabilitation, medical equipment (e.g., crutches), and other care (such as mental health counseling). If you missed work because of your injuries or cannot go back to work, there should also be damages for your lost wages and ongoing reduced earning capacity. You should also receive compensation for the pain and suffering you faced, as well as other intangible damages. Lastly, your vehicle repairs should be paid in full. If you are suing for a deadly car accident in Fayetteville or anywhere else in Arkansas that killed a loved one, you might face additional damages related to their death, which you can also claim compensation for in a lawsuit.
Calculating Damages at Trial
When your case goes to trial, you can claim the full value of all damages you incurred because of the accident. This often means you will calculate higher damages than you would for an insurance payout, which would only pay a percentage and leave off certain areas of damages.
When you receive damages as an award at the end of a trial, you might also receive punitive damages to punish a seriously dangerous driver or a commercial trucking company that has made repeat mistakes or shows a pattern of negligence. You could also have certain legal fees paid, with some damages set aside for court costs and attorney’s fees. However, you will have some behind the scenes costs of going to trial and paying for your lawyer that might not be paid through the award. These will cut into your damages a bit
Calculating Damages for Settlement
If you settle your case early and do not go to trial, this means that you will save certain expenses. It also means that the defendant will save the time and cost of going to trial, too. It also means you will get your damages faster than you would by going through trial first.
In many cases, this means that settlements are often discounted a bit, with damages paid at a lower rate than after a trial. In some cases, this tradeoff is perfectly worth it, and most cases end in settlement because of this. However, if the settlement offer is unfair or comes out too low for your needs, our attorneys will advise you to reject the offer and continue to fight the case at trial, or we will negotiate for a better settlement.
Call for Help Settling or Fighting a Car Accident Case in Arkansas
If you were injured in a serious car accident and now face the choice of accepting an insurance payout, settling the case out of court, or fighting your case at trial, call our lawyer for help understanding what your case should be worth and how to maximize damages. Our Fayetteville personal injury lawyer, Ken Kieklak, represents injured parties and fights to get them the compensation they need. For a free case consultation, call us today at (479) 316-0438.
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