When you are involved in an accident in Columbus, there is no set value for your car accident claim. The insurance company might use various tools and pieces of information to determine what it believes your claim is worth, but you are never obligated to accept the settlement it offers you. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they have the right to reject these offers and pursue their legal options.
Before you file a lawsuit involving your car accident injuries, it is helpful to understand how insurance agents might approach your case. With the help of a Columbus car accident lawyer, you could use this information to get the compensation you deserve.
Insurers Rely on Documentary Evidence for Economic Damages
The way insurance companies place a dollar value on economic losses is easy to understand. Your economic losses are the objective, measurable damages you sustained due to your car accident. The ultimate purpose of these damages is to return you to the same financial situation you were in prior to the crash.
Your economic losses are made up of a few specific items. The most prominent among these is the cost of medical care. Your injuries would not have occurred if you were not in an accident, and you would have never been saddled with costly medical bills. It could be possible to recover past and future medical expenses that stem from your collision.
When insurance companies evaluate a claim for economic losses, they rely on documentary evidence to determine the exact amount of money your case is worth. This often includes documents like bills, invoices, and receipts. The insurance company not only looks at what you’ve paid out of pocket but also the debts you have accrued, including medical liens.
Insurance Companies May Use the Multiplier Method for Non-Economic Losses
Non-economic damages can play an important part in your insurance settlement. These losses are subjective in nature and cannot be measured using evidence like receipts or invoices. This subjectiveness can lead to major disagreements between you and the insurance company on what your case is worth.
One of the ways that insurers calculate the non-economic portion of your settlement is through the multiplier method. Insurance companies will often award damages like pain and suffering based on a multiple of your medical bills. For example, with a serious injury, you could receive a pain and suffering offer that is worth twice the value of your medical expenses.
There Are Two Ways Insurance Companies Approach Property Damage Cases
The damage to your personal property is considered to be an economic loss. However, insurance companies have different ways of reaching a value on property damage claims. A settlement offer for your property losses will largely depend on if the vehicle can be repaired or if it is a total loss.
The two options available to insurance companies in these cases are to base the value of your claim on the cost of repairing your vehicle or the cost of replacing it with a comparable model. In some cases, the insurance company will offer to replace a vehicle that could be repaired. This is done in situations where the repair costs are high or the overall value of the vehicle is low.
When it comes to property losses, it is vital to remember that the value that the insurance company assigns to your vehicle is not set in stone. Its estimation of what your car is worth is only an opinion, and you are not required to accept a settlement from the company if you feel it is unfair.
Sharing Fault for an Accident Could Impact Your Recovery
One factor that could impact the value of your insurance claim is the question of shared fault. According to Ohio comparative negligence laws, you could still be entitled to damages even if you were partially to blame for your accident.
Every state takes a different approach to these laws. In Ohio, you have a right to seek compensation if you are 50 percent or less responsible for causing an accident. A higher percentage of fault will leave you without a viable claim for damages.
If you are partially to blame, you may receive a reduced settlement offer. The determination of fault is also subjective, and you are not obligated to accept the insurance company’s view of who caused the crash.
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Insurance Adjusters do Not Work for You
Insurance companies have an obligation to act in good faith when they consider your injury claims, but that does not guarantee you the outcome you want. In fact, there are situations where your interactions with the insurance company could work against you.
One example involves giving a recorded statement to the adjuster after an accident. Unfortunately, anything you say in your statement could be used against you. A misstep during this process could give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim or limit your compensation.
Having an attorney to advocate for you could prevent the kind of mistakes that can complicate a personal injury claim. Your attorney could negotiate on your behalf, allowing you to focus on healing from your injuries instead of the intricacies of a civil suit.
Talk to an Attorney About the Value of Your Columbus Car Accident Claim
If you have questions about how insurance companies determine the value of your Columbus car accident case, The Fitch Law Firm LLC has the answers. During your free consultation, we will listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have about the legal process.
Our team is proud of our track record of success when it comes to car accident injury cases in Columbus. We are ready to negotiate with your insurance company so you don’t have to. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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