The reality is that most car accident cases never see a courtroom. The majority of cases are settled well before things have to go before a judge and jury through the process of negotiation. Negotiation is the phase of a car accident where the two parties try to reach a fair settlement price to avoid going to court.
Although in most cases it is best to settle before you have to take someone to court, there are times when you might have to let a judge and jury decide what your car accident is worth.
Calculate your damages to know what you are entitled to
To determine if you are better off suing, the first thing to do is to make sure that you have the necessary documentation to prove both your economic and noneconomic damages. It is best to hire Baltimore car accident attorneys to figure out what those damages are. If you don’t have someone in your corner to defend you, you are almost guaranteed to get less than you deserve.
How to estimate your noneconomic damages to know what you are entitled to
To ensure that you get all that you deserve, you will want to calculate both your economic and noneconomic damages. Your economic damages are simply the sum of all your economic losses like medical bills, hospital bills and lost wages from work. They are concrete and usually indisputable.
The way you calculate noneconomic damages is by either using the multiplier method of the per diem method. Since noneconomic damages are the type of award that is meant to compensate someone for a negative and distressing experience, these types of damages are much more subjective and sometimes harder to prove and collect benefits for.
The multiplier method is a way of rating your noneconomic damages on a scale of severity ranging from one to five, five being the greatest. Your lawyer will look at the extent of your economic damages and determine how extensive your noneconomic damages are. Once your attorney determines where your experience falls on a scale from one to five, they use that number to multiply by the total cost of your economic damages. The result is the value of your noneconomic damages.
The per diem method is when your noneconomic damages are given a set rate per day that you suffer. For instance, if you were mildly hurt and missed a week of work due to a knee injury, your lawyer might ascribe you a daily amount of $100 for your noneconomic suffering. If you were out of work for a week and then had rehabilitation for another week, your lawyer would multiple your per day rate by the number of days that you were affected. In the example above, that would entitle you to $1400 for your noneconomic damages ($100 per day for two weeks).
When you should sue
If you calculate a significantly different settlement cost than the insurance company, then there is a phase before taking them to court where the two parties will try to negotiate a price that is mutually beneficial. If the insurance company and your lawyer can not reach a number that they both think is in their best interest, then it might be possible to initiate a lawsuit.
In most car accidents, the injured driver will be dealing with the insurance company who was responsible for covering the at-fault driver. That does not mean that the insurance company has the injured person’s best interest at heart. Just like any other business, insurance companies exist to make money. They do that by limiting what they pay out for injuries and accidents, not by making sure that everyone gets what they are entitled to. If the insurance company is not willing to pay what they should or the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance at all, it might be necessary to go to trial.
No one wants to take the case further and spend the resources to put on a trial, but if the insurance company is not willing to pay you adequate compensation, then it is in your best interest to proceed to court.
The only way to know for sure if you should settle or sue is to have a car accident attorney both calculate your damages and fight for your compensation. If they can’t get your compensation through a settlement, then it is best to take the other party to court.