After an accident, dealing with insurance companies can add stress to an already challenging situation. Juggling medical care, transportation, and car repairs is overwhelming enough without someone else determining the value of your experience.
Insurance companies use precise formulas to calculate settlement offers based on factors like the number of people involved, repair estimates for damaged vehicles, and medical reports. However, they might not offer the full amount compared to what a court might award because they want you to accept less. We can help you understand how they arrive at their compensation packages and what to keep in mind when negotiating. Remember that you can always speak to a lawyer for assistance with negotiations.
For a free case evaluation with our Ft. Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, contact the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 751-4258 today.
How Does an Insurance Company Calculate Personal Injury Claims in Florida?
When an insurance company calculates compensation after an accident, it will typically add up injury and vehicle damage costs. However, each case is different, so calculations will vary depending on the severity of the accident. Fortunately, our Miami personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and experience to calculate the value of your claim and can help you recover a settlement that reflects your damages. The following factors are the main considerations made when insurance companies calculate personal injury claims in Florida:
Damage to the Vehicles Involved
When determining the appropriate amount of compensation for a damaged vehicle, several factors must be considered by insurance representatives. These include the original sale value of the car and how much it has depreciated, as well as the condition of the vehicle and its mileage at the time of the accident.
The cost of repairs for different types of damage can vary significantly. More common types of damage might require lower costs for repairs because replacement parts are easier to find. For example, if the damage is simply to a fender, it might be possible to buff it out or replace it with a new one at a relatively low cost. However, if the damage is more severe and affects critical parts of the vehicle, such as the engine or chassis, the cost of repairs could be much higher.
If the cost of repairing the damage is more than the value of the vehicle after depreciation, the insurance company will typically declare the vehicle a total loss and offer to pay its remaining value rather than repair it.
Determining the replacement parts for imported vehicles or those with aftermarket modifications can be challenging and might lead to less favorable outcomes. This is because the insurance company will typically use the market value of needed replacement parts. If the vehicle is rare or an import, finding these parts for sale can be difficult and expensive. Insurance settlements might also only provide compensation for cheaper generic parts rather than the right manufacturer’s official parts, disregarding any additional time and effort spent on aftermarket modifications.
Injuries to the Parties Involved
To determine the compensatory value for injuries resulting from a car accident, insurance companies might consider factors similar to those used for vehicle damages. These factors might include information about the injured person that could either mitigate or exacerbate the injury. For instance, age, activity level, earning potential if affected by the injury, and vulnerability could all play a role in the settlement offer.
For example, consider two people involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence: an elderly retired driver and a highly accomplished track and field athlete. If the elderly driver sustained a broken collarbone, they would be compensated for medical expenses, but not for lost wages or earning potential, as they are no longer working. Conversely, if the athlete suffered the same injury, it could impact their ability to receive scholarships, sponsorships, or opportunities to compete, resulting in a much larger compensation package. Despite having the same injury, their unique circumstances would affect the value of their compensation.
How Does an Insurance Company Determine a Settlement Amount for a Florida Personal Injury Claim?
In Florida, insurance companies use different methods to determine compensation amounts for car accidents depending on the claim being made. If the claimant is seeking payment for medical costs, the insurance company will add up the expenses. However, if the claimant is also claiming damages for pain and suffering, the calculation becomes more complex.
The term “pain and suffering” is a legal term used to describe the emotional and mental impact of an injury caused by a car accident. Many individuals who experience a serious car accident deal with lasting chronic pain and psychological distress. As a settlement is essentially an agreement between the insurance company and the claimant, the insurance company will typically try to include these damages in their compensation package to make it more appealing and reasonable for the claimant.
Insurance companies typically use a method called the “multiplier method” to determine pain and suffering damages. This method is based on the idea that accidents with higher direct costs, such as medical bills and property damage, are likely to have caused more pain and suffering. The formula used for this method will vary based on the nature of the injuries sustained. For example, a high-speed collision might warrant a higher multiplier than a minor fender bender.
If you find yourself dealing with another driver’s insurance agent after a car accident, it’s usually because the other driver was at fault. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the insurance agent’s main goal is to limit their company’s liability. They might try to convince you to agree to a settlement that is much lower than what you could potentially recover in court.
Remember, insurance agents are not on your side. That being said, our team can help you communicate with the insurance company, negotiate a fair settlement, and even take your case to court if necessary to ensure you receive proper compensation for the damages you sustained in the accident.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit If I Can Not Reach a Settlement with an Insurance Company in Florida?
A new law was signed by the governor of Florida in 2023 that has impacted the process of personal injury cases. The “statute of limitations” has been altered, which determines the time limit for filing a lawsuit. Previously, personal injury victims had four years to file a lawsuit, but now in Florida, the time limit has been reduced to two years.
As a result, taking prompt action is crucial. Delaying could result in negative consequences, as there is a limited amount of time to gather evidence and locate witnesses before potentially filing a lawsuit. If you have suffered from an injury, it is possible that you might not have to file a lawsuit. However, if you do, it is important to keep in mind that you only have two years to do so. After this time has passed, the defense can ask the court to dismiss your case, which it will.
Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Contact the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. today at (954) 751-4258 for a free case assessment with our Florida personal injury lawyers.