How Are Damages Calculated in a Motor Vehicle Accident | Law Blog
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How Are Damages Calculated in a Motor Vehicle Accident

motor vehicle accident

When a motor vehicle accident happens, the severity of the accident depends on many factors, including the point of impact, the force involved in the crash, whether or not seatbelts were used, and even the victims’ own bodies and resiliency.

Because car accidents can differ so greatly in severity and the amount of damages that result, understanding how damages are calculated in a motor vehicle accident is important. If you’ve been in a crash, here’s a look at how an insurance adjuster may valuate your claim–

Calculating Economic Damages

Economic damages are the actual economic losses that a person has suffered, and this damage type is the easiest to calculate. There are various types of economic damages, including:

  • Property damage. Nearly all car accidents result in some sort of property damage, however minor. Property damage costs are typically determined by the assessment of an auto body shop, and are based on the costs of vehicle repairs or replacement.
  • Medical expenses. If you are injured in a crash, you will likely incur medical expenses for the treatment you receive. Some injuries are obviously more serious–and therefore more expensive–than others. You are entitled to the full value of all of your medical expenses, both present and future, related to your car accident.
  • Lost wages. A person who is involved in a crash may suffer an injury that prevents them from returning to work for a few weeks, and sometimes permanently inhibits their ability to earn and income and make a living. When this is the case, the value of lost wages and expected future lost wages will be calculated.

If there are any other economic damages that a party acquires, such as the cost of travel to and from medical appointments, costs of renovations to a home to make it more disabled person-friendly, etc., these damages may be sought.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages are much more difficult to determine, as these are damages for things that are intangible, such as a person’s pain, suffering, and emotional distress. There are two standard methods for calculating noneconomic damages:

  • Multiplier method. When the multiplier method is used to calculate noneconomic damages, an injured party is assigned a number between one and five, with the severity of the injury determining the number (less severe injuries are assigned a number closer to one; more severe injuries are assigned a number closer to five). Then, this number is multiplied by the total value of the claimant’s economic damages. For example, if a claimant suffers $100,000 in economic damages and is assigned a multiplier of 1.5, then they would receive $150,000 in noneconomic damages.
  • Per diem method. Another option for calculating damages for pain and suffering may be the per diem (per day) method, in which a sum of money per day is associated with a car accident victim’s pain and suffering, and then this amount is multiplied by the number of days the victim experienced the pain and suffering. For example, if $100 per day is assigned and the person experiences pain and suffering for three months, or 90 days, then the value of pain and suffering would be $9,000.

Working with an Experienced Attorney in Florida

The more serious your damages are, the more complicated determining the value of your damages may become. To help you understand exactly what your claim is worth and present this to an insurance adjuster after a crash, as well as to negotiate on your behalf to reach a fair settlement, consider working with an experienced attorney.

At the law offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A., our talented Florida car accident lawyers know how to advocate for you and improve the chances of your recovering your full settlement amount. Please contact us today for your free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 1-888-219-4561, or request to be contacted by providing us with your information online.


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