There are many different factors that can influence the time it takes to settle after a car accident. A general rule is to expect longer and more drawn out cases with severe injury. If you are dealing with an accident that resulted in death, permanent injury, disfiguration, or traumatic brain injury, you will want to carefully navigate your case. Your attorney will spend more time ensuring they are able to get you the amount of money you will need for ongoing care. No amount of money can correct an injury or loss of life, but the compensation can help you to get the treatment you need to move forward.
Another factor that will influence the time it takes to settle your car accident claim is how long it takes to collect the necessary evidence. In some cases, even if you believe it is a simple black and white case, there may be more to the evidence than immediately meets the eye. For instance, maybe a reckless driver caused your accident, but in some scenarios the vehicle they were driving may have also been faulty. In cases like this, your attorney may choose to pursue compensation from the car manufacturer as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Proving liability will also be something that in some cases may be more involved than it seems. The legal basis most often used for liability is negligence. To establish negligence in your case you must prove the at-fault driver did not take the action they owed you to ensure they were operating in a safe manner. In some cases, your attorney may need more time than others to develop a case against another driver.
Finally, one of the most important factors that goes into determining the timeline for your car settlement is how much money are you requesting for your injury? Small dollar settlements will be finalized faster than high end cases. Your attorney will advise you on how much they believe you are owed and work from here.
The “Multiplier” Method
Given the insurance industry’s obsession with statistics, and the fact that there were approximately 6,756,000 traffic crashes in 2019, you might assume that there’s a universal formula to determine the value of a car accident claim. But no two car accident claims are exactly the same. So, instead of a universal formula, insurance adjusters rely on the multiplier method to estimate the value of a claim and kick off settlement negotiations.
The Multiplier Method Formula
In this kind of calculation, the adjuster:
- totals up the car accident claimant’s medical bills stemming from the accident (sometimes called “medical special damages”)
- multiplies that number by a certain factor (typically between 1 and 5) to get an estimated value of the claimant’s harder-to-quantify general damages (like pain and suffering), and
- adds the medical special damages, estimated general damages, and any lost earnings and future lost income together to arrive at an overall estimate of the car accident claim.
Factors That Can Raise or Lower the Multiplier
As you can imagine, deciding which multiplier is right for your case will likely be a point of contention between you and the insurance adjuster. You’ll argue for a higher multiplier (like a 4 or 5), while the adjuster is likely to push for a lower multiplier.
- Factors that can raise or lower the multiplier in a car accident claim, include:
- the seriousness of your injuries (low medical bills tend to lead to a lower multiplier)
- clear evidence of pain and suffering documented by a medical professional
- the amount of proof that the other driver was at fault for the accident, and
- the length (and extent) of your recovery.
Adjusters will also ask:
- Was your injury completely new as a result of the car accident, or did the car accident merely aggravate a condition for which you were already being treated?
- Did you seek medical attention immediately after the car accident? Or did you first complain to your doctor about your symptoms three months after the accident?
- Was your treatment excessive? Insurance companies rarely attach the full value of medical expenses in the areas of chiropractic treatment or physical therapy if the adjuster believes the length of treatment might be excessive.
Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!