If you own a car in San Francisco, you’ll likely become familiar with an auto accident settlement sooner or later. The city is widely known as one of the most walkable cities in America, with many neighborhoods packed with restaurants, shops, and people.
However, drivers face high rates of car accidents due to its hilly terrain and heavy traffic during peak hours. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), San Francisco drivers are involved in more crashes than drivers in other large U.S. cities.
Legal limits vary from state to state regarding who qualifies as a third-party victim after a car accident and whether or not they can receive compensation for damages. Living in San Francisco, you should understand how auto accident settlements are determined. This could help you financially recover from your injuries and losses.
This guide will discuss everything from standard questions about auto accident settlements to resources where you can learn more about them if applicable in your case.
How the Insurance Adjuster Determines a Settlement Offer
The insurance adjuster is the one in charge of determining what the insurance company’s settlement offer will be. While many factors can be involved, the adjuster’s primary goal is to determine how much you are eligible for and what that amount is. They use a formula with a list of questions to help them understand how much you will be entitled to. These questions may include:
- What medical treatment did you need?
- Was the other driver at fault, or were you partially at fault?
- How many days were you out of work?
- What were your lost wages?
- How much time did you spend on medical care unrelated to your injury?
Damages Overview Special and General Damages
In most cases, the injured party can recover damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Further, in some cases, the injured party may also be entitled to special and general damages. Ultimately, you must understand your options if you’re involved in an auto accident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Special damages are the most common type of settlement after an auto accident. They’re awarded to you when your injuries are more severe than expected from a typical accident. These damages could include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage. Special damages can also include restitution for property damaged in the accident, such as a car.
Depending on the type of car you were driving and who caused the accident, you may be able to receive compensation for specific losses that weren’t in your original claim. For example, suppose you were driving a Ferrari when it was rear-ended by a Lexus driven by an uninsured driver. In that case, your Ferrari may be worth more than $10 million today. Any other party involved in the accident could be liable for paying these damages.
The most common type of auto accident settlement is for general damages. This includes physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as any other losses that aren’t related to your injuries.
These damages will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and are typically awarded in a lump sum.
Suppose you were injured in a car accident. In that case, you can speak with a San Francisco, personal injury lawyer about how these damages might affect the settlement of your claim.
The Multiplier Method Formula
Compensation is distributed according to the Multiplier Method. This method was developed by the California Department of Insurance and uses a series of multipliers that gives each driver a percentage of total compensation.
The first multiplier is based on the value of the car involved in the collision. For example, if your vehicle is worth $20,000, you would receive 20% of your car’s value.
The second multiplier is set at 2x and determines how much money you can be compensated for medical expenses that exceed $5,000. If someone’s medical expenses exceed $10,000, they will receive an additional 50% of their losses from their medical expenses.
The third multiplier is based on the severity of your injuries. This multiplier ranges from 1-3x and determines how much you will get per day in payment during your recovery period. For example, if you have a broken collar bone and are hospitalized for six days following an auto accident, you would receive 3x compensation during your recovery period because three days equals six days following an auto accident.
The fourth multiplier is based on whether or not someone was driving uninsured. This multiplier ranges from 0-2x and determines how much more you will get per day than someone with insurance going them at the time of their collision with another person or property. For example, if somebody else was driving uninsured when they collided with another person or property while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they would receive 2x.
Multiplier Method Example
A multiplier method is a common way for car accident settlements to work. It refers to the idea that when the injured party takes legal action, their attorney will negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement, which must be approved by the court. The multiplier method determines how much a claimant is awarded damages after a car accident.
The multiplier method can vary from state to state but typically uses an amount of ‘x’ as follows:
- 1x if there are no injuries and property damage only.
- 2x if there are personal injuries and property damage only.
- 3x if there are personal injuries and property damage plus medical expenses.
- 5x if there are personal injuries and death involved.
- 10x if there is no injury plus death involved.
Factors That Can Raise or Lower the Multiplier of a Car Accident Settlement
Several factors can impact a car accident settlement, including age, the liability of the driver, and whether or not you were in San Francisco at the time of the accident. The multiplier is not an “exact science,” so there is no definitive answer about what it will be for your auto accident settlement. Suppose you want to know how much you can expect to get from an auto accident settlement in San Francisco. In that case, this guide will discuss different factors that could influence how much you receive.
Factors that can raise or lower the multiplier in a car accident claim include
The type of auto accident settlement, the severity of your injuries, whether or not you were partially at fault for the accident, and if an uninsured or underinsured driver could be responsible for settling your claim.
The multiplier is a factor in almost every car accident claim. It’s calculated by multiplying the money received by $2,000 and dividing it by the number of cars involved in the accident. If each vehicle involved in the accident was worth $10,000 and one person received a $50,000 settlement, their multiplier would be 5. A multiplier of five means they would receive an award totaling $100,000.
Adjusters will also ask for medical bills to be paid if you’ve been injured in a car accident and you have medical bills that can’t be covered by your insurance. Sometimes, they may even require you to make payments or agree to an installment plan for your claim to move forward. If you have questions about this, you must know the deadline to figure out how much time you have to pay before your case gets denied.
It can vary from state to state regarding what kind of compensation is available after a car accident.
How Do Insurance Adjusters Settle Cases?
While auto insurance adjusters are typically tasked with investigating claims and settling cases, they also have the power to deny a claim outright. You could receive a full or partial refund if your case is dismissed.
Sometimes, it may be your choice to settle your case without going through an adjuster. You can do this by accepting a settlement offer (which will likely be less than the amount of your vehicle’s value) or negotiating directly with the other party involved in the accident.
Many factors determine how much money you receive as compensation after a car accident. The general rule of thumb for determining how much you’ll receive is about what percentage of your vehicle’s value was lost in the accident, which is generally around 30%.
This makes sense because if the other party’s insurance company agrees to pay you only $30,000 for damages and injuries incurred during the collision, they would still need to cover their liability costs and deductibles. Ultimately, it all depends on who is at fault in a crash and whether their insurance company is willing to pay large sums of money.
Talk To A Lawyer
You should talk to a lawyer from the beginning if you’re involved in a car accident. They can provide you with legal advice and guidance, which can help you understand your rights and options after an auto accident. Hiring a lawyer has many benefits.
One of the most important things to consider is whether or not your car insurance will cover the costs of your auto accident settlement. Some insurance companies don’t cover third-party damages, so if this is the case for you, ensure you have enough money for your personal needs.
Contact Phoong Law today for a free consultation to learn about the options you may have and what your claim is worth.