Legal Articles
Auto Accidents
Get Started Finding a Local Attorney Now

Simply fill out this form to connect with an Attorney serving your area.

How Attorneys Arrive at Settlements in Auto Accident Cases

How Attorneys Arrive at Settlements in Auto Accident Cases

If you've been injured in an automobile accident and hired a personal injury lawyer, at some point your attorney will probably come to you with a settlement proposal from the other side. You may be wondering how lawyers come up with settlement amounts. Let's look at the factors that go into the equation.

Calculating Automobile Accident Settlements

Litigation is expensive, so it's often in both side's interests to reach an out-of-court settlement. In calculating a settlement, lawyers will look at your accident-related expenses, including:

  • Past and future injury-related medical bills, including hospital costs, doctors' fees, prescriptions, physical therapy and other medical expenses
  • The cost to repair the damage to your motor vehicle or replace it
  • Lost wages from time off of work
  • The cost to hire someone to do household chores that you're unable to do as a result of your injuries

Lawyers will also look at some other costs that are more difficult to quantify. How much is your pain and suffering worth? If the driver who caused the accident was doing something flagrantly illegally—such as traveling at high speeds or driving while intoxicated—should he or she pay punitive damages?

Depending on the laws in the state where the accident occurred, the lawyers may also take fault into account. In some accidents, there's not a black-and-white answer to the question, "Who was to blame?" One party may bear most of the fault for the accident, but the victim may have played a role, too.

Insurance Settlement Calculators

Automobile insurers have three main ways they calculate proposed settlements:

  • A software program called Colussus
  • A calculation that adds up medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, then multiplies by a number between 1.5 and 4 to arrive at a proposed settlement (this calculation is known as multiple of specials)
  • A calculation that looks at your out-of-pocket expenses and then calculates the length of time you'll be in pain (known as a per diem calculation)

Visit LawyerLocator to learn more about automobile accident law or to locate a personal injury attorney in your area.