Arizona is known to be one of the most dangerous states for automobile accidents according to a nationally known insurance company. There are far worst cities for traffic, however, rush hour is still rush hour in the wild, wild west and tailgating, construction and speed demons contribute to Arizona car accidents. It helps to know and understand the basics of automobile accident settlements, what to do after a car accident, and the process and timelines used to calculate them. In the event you should be involved in an automobile accident here is a car accident action list that you should immediately perform.
Minimum Liability Coverage
In Arizona, the minimum liability coverage is the payment for injuries or damage for which you are entitled if you are the victim of an accident. To legally operate an automobile, drivers are required to carry these minimum amounts of coverage:
$15,000 per person for bodily injury liability.
$10,000 for property damage
$30,000 per accident when more than one person suffers injuries.
When you have been in an accident, these Arizona coverages pay for your damages. Another portion of car liability insurance policy is for the legal defense coverage. If you must sue the driver causing the accident, this helps pay for his or her legal defense in causing the accident.
If you have been involved in an accident that and suffered damages, what you will attempt to recover for your damages is known as the settlement. The settlement is a remedy to the damages that is negotiated and mutually agreed upon between the parties involved. How the settlement is calculated can be a complicated matter.
How a Car Accident Settlement is Calculated
Car accidents can vary widely in scope and expense. Damages are so different depending on hundreds of factors that may or may not be a part of your accident. Among the factors considered to arrive at a starting figure for a settlement hinge heavily but are not limited to five key factors:
- Insurance coverage
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical Bills
- Car Repairs
- Lost wages
Factors such as Pain and Suffering and Medical Bills are both subjective; how they will be calculated depends on the severity of the accident. Insurance adjustors often use calculators to help them arrive at figures when weighing a potential settlement. For medical bills, the adjustor may add up all current medical bills and if the injury was minor, use a 1 or 1.5 multiplier. For example, if bills totaled $2500, the insurance may offer $2500 with a 1 factor, or $3750 if 1.5 is used as a factor. If the injury is more serious, the multiplier used might be set at 4 or 4.5.
When calculating Pain and Suffering damages, you may seek compensation to help offset any past and future discomfort associated with the injury sustained in the accident. After completing medical treatment and receiving a release from the doctor, it is time to prepare the personal injury claim which will be submitted to the insurance company including pain and suffering damages. If the doctor has certified that the person’s health is permanent and stationary, meaning the person has reached a point where no more improvement in recovery is expected, a finite amount can be set.
However, if your doctor decides that your injuries require future treatment, you will need to include a calculation of the future medical treatment you believe you will need to continue to improve your health post-accident.
Keep in mind that you only receive one settlement or award from the insurance company. Submitting and settling your claim before all treatment has been completed waives your right to any future compensation. After you have agreed to a settlement, you can’t go to the insurance company later and request more money. It is very important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure the proposed settlement amount is appropriate and correct so that mistakes are not made. If the proposal is too high, it may not be taken seriously. If the proposal is too low, it may not provide the needed funds for future treatment or care.
Regardless of which side of the accident you find yourself, remember that any settlement formula is merely a start. These amounts can be negotiated by a qualified, experienced attorney. Insurance companies are protected by many experienced, savvy attorneys who are trained to offer the least amount of money possible in any settlement negotiation. Securing representation that is prepared to fight on your behalf can mean the difference between a settlement that is far too low and one that is fair.
Call our firm today to learn how we can help you plan your case strategy.