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How Are Missouri Car Accident Settlements Determined?

How Are Missouri Car Accident Settlements Determined?

There is no universal settlement formula. However, insurance companies must determine the value of a claim many times given the millions of car crashes that happen each year in the United States. Unfortunately, in many cases, the amount offered by the insurance company is far below the actual value of a claim. For this reason, anyone hurt in a car wreck should contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What is the difference between special and general damages?

Car accidents have two types of damages, special (economic) and general (non-economic). Special damages are financial losses and can include medical costs, repair cost to damaged property, the cost of not working. General damages are often more subjective and include harm that cannot quantifiably be calculated. The calculation takes a qualitative approach. General damages include pain and suffering, lower quality of life, and emotional distress

Insurance companies use a general settlement formula.

The general formula is this for the settlement amount is:
Special damages * multiple + lost wages.

In this kind of calculation, the adjuster:

  • Calculates the total in the cost of medical bills and additional special damages resulting from the accident
  • Then multiplies that number by a multiple usually between 1.5 and 5 (the multiple represents an estimate for general damages such as emotional distress, or pain and suffering)
  • Then adds amount in income lost and estimation of future income lost

An adjustor may also ask questions such as these to determine the multiple.

  • Did you have a pre-existing condition which may have been exacerbated by injury? Or did you sustain injury as a result of the car accident?
  • Did you visit a doctor immediately after the accident or did you wait until a later date once symptoms worsened?
  • Was treatment within what was needed to recover or did the patient receive more than was necessary?

Answering these questions can impact the multiplier. If it is determined that other factors contributed to the severity of the injury or recovery timeline, then the multiplier may be lower. 

An insurance adjuster will select a multiplier.

A “multiplier” may seem arbitrary, but there are factors that impact the number selected. Naturally, the person filing a claim will want a higher multiplier, while the adjuster will want a low one to keep expenses as low as possible for the insurance company.
Here are some factors that impact the multiplier chosen:

  • The severity of injury (e.g. lower medical bills result in a lower multiplier)
  • Evidence of pain and suffering as documented by a medical provider
  • Proof of liability of other driver for the accident
  • Length of time required for recovery
  • The extent of What is required to make a full recovery

Set up a consultation with a St. Louis car accident attorney today.

If you need help determining the value of your claim, a Missouri car accident attorney can provide an estimate and help negotiate for the settlement you deserve. Contact Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. today for a free consultation–at  314-646-0066 or through our online contact form.