Calculating A Car Accident Settlement in Rock Hill
When a car accident occurs, the party responsible may need to pay the injured party compensation for their injuries and damages. The amount of the settlement is determined by the extent of the damages. The amount of the settlement is different from case to case based on the amount of damages suffered by that person.
Calculating a car accident settlement in Rock Hill could be difficult without legal help. A knowledgeable car accident attorney could review the facts of the case and help you seek compensation for damages.
How Is the Settlement Calculated?
The settlement amount is calculated based on the amount of damages that the claimant suffers. Once the lawyer has agreed upon a settlement amount, they have to subtract any medical liens that have to be paid, any medical bills that are outstanding, as well as the attorneys’ fees and cost, and then what is left is what the injured claimant receives. The goal is to maximize the amount of money coming into the settlement and minimize what has to be paid out. Often, that means negotiating down medical bills and liens so that the injured claimant’s net out of the settlement is maximized to the fullest extent possible.
The jury does not have any involvement in the way a settlement is calculated. A jury would come into play if a case goes all the way to trial, and they award a judgment. The jury would hear both sides of the case, and they would hear the plaintiff put up the amount of their damages. The common types of recoverable damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
The jury will hear all of those things and then decide of an appropriate amount based on the evidence that they have heard. At that point, the jury will produce a judgment that they think is a fair and reasonable amount to award the claimant or the plaintiff. That would not be counted in terms of being a settlement. That would be an award that occurred after going to trial. A settlement is referring to situations where the parties are able to resolve the claim outside of trial.
One good thing about that is if they are able to resolve a case outside of a trial, they are able to control, to some extent, the amount of the settlement. Once it goes through a jury, it is really out of their hands, and it is no longer their decision.
Shared Negligence in a Car Crash Case
Negligence on the part of the injured person affects the settlement amount. In South Carolina, there is modified comparative negligence, which means the jury is allowed to weigh the plaintiff’s own comparative fault or negligence against the at-fault party.
Often, they will reduce the amount of the damages based on the percentage of fault they ascribed to the injured party. If they determined that the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries due to their own negligence, that would be a complete bar to recovery and that plaintiff would receive nothing.
When considering a settlement, the injured person should definitely take into account the cost of the litigation process. There is a cost to taking a settlement, and there is a cost to not taking a settlement. By rejecting a final settlement offer, they are prepared to fight a lawsuit and move forward.
When determining or considering whether to accept a settlement offer, the claimant should not only consider the extent of their injuries and their own damages but also the cost and time involved with going through the process of collecting those through the litigation process.
Issues When Negotiating a Settlement
When someone is attempting to go to a settlement without the advice and consult of an attorney, they are going to experience issues with an insurance carrier that is much more depth in practice than engaging in those types of negotiations. They will take advantage of the difference in knowledge and skill involved with those negotiations, obviously based on the difference between an adjuster who does it every day and someone who has been in a car wreck. One should never engage in that process without an attorney.
How a Car Accident Attorney Could Help
A Rock Hill car accident attorney can help determine the value of a settlement by looking at these things and handling these types of cases every day. They are aware of the case is coming through the court system, so they are able to determine the value. That is based on the types of damages that are legally compensable, whether or not it is a situation that would involve the probability of a punitive damage award. They would also be able to communicate the degree of pain and suffering in a way that maximizes that amount.
Call Schiller & Hamilton about calculating a car accident settlement in Rock Hill. Call today to get started.