When researching the claims process, you may ask yourself, How much money do you get from a car accident settlement?
While many sources claim to know the average Arkansas car accident settlement, their estimate doesn’t take into account the circumstances of each case.
Here’s everything you need to know about calculating car accident settlements and why it may be best to consult a personal injury attorney.
What Is the Average Arkansas Car Accident Settlement?
Since most cases keep their settlement amounts confidential, it’s nearly impossible to determine an average. While you may find average Arkansas car accident settlement amounts listed on other sites, they don’t take into account unpublished figures. This means that the calculated average may be misleading.
In addition, every case has different circumstances that affect their value. Accidents with little property damage and minor injuries may be much lower than those with severe injuries. If you see any average auto accident settlement amounts during your search, know that it’s just a guess.
Why Car Accident Injury Settlement Calculators Aren’t Accurate
When deciding to file a claim, you may find a calculator that claims to give you an accurate estimate of your settlement. However, using an average Arkansas car accident settlement calculator isn’t the best way to find the value of your claim.
Online calculators don’t usually take non-economic losses into account. Typically, you will add up and claim all of your tangible economic losses, such as medical bills, vehicle repairs, etc. However, that doesn’t include your pain and suffering, mental anguish, or other intangible losses.
In some cases, your non-economic losses might even make up the majority of your claim. For this reason, it’s always best to consult a personal injury attorney with the legal knowledge necessary to accurately evaluate your Arkansas car accident settlement.
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Damages in Car Accident Settlement Payouts
In Arkansas, there are three types of damages plaintiffs may receive in a claim: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Each damage type plays a different role in your total losses depending on your unique situation.
The first type, economic damages, refers to any tangible losses associated with your car accident. For losses to fit in this category, they must have a price or standard economic value.
For example, economic damages usually include medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, lost earning potential, and more. Our attorneys often calculate economic damages by adding the bills, receipts, and missed paychecks resulting from your crash.
The second category, non-economic damages, deals with any of the subjective, intangible losses due to your accident. What if your recovery causes a great deal of pain? Does your injury prevent you from enjoying previous hobbies?
The goal of non-economic damages is to compensate for these losses and more. Some common non-economic losses include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of quality of life.
While each attorney calculates non-economic damages differently, there are two common methods. The first is known as the multiplier method, which takes the economic damages and multiplies them by a whole number.
Generally, the more severe the injuries, the higher the multiplier. This means that if you have $20,000 in economic damages and your attorney assigns a multiplier of three, your total damages would be $60,000.
The second method used is called the per diem method. This method applies a per-day cost for your injuries during recovery. For example, if you have a 700-day recovery and your attorney assigns a per diem cost of $250, your non-economic damages would be $175,000.
Exemplary or punitive damages are the rarest form of compensation in personal injury cases. That is because these damages don’t compensate for a specific loss. Instead, the jury awards punitive damages in cases where the defendant acts with reckless disregard for the safety of others. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and discourage them from repeat behavior.
Are There Any Damage Caps?
Some states put damage caps or limits on personal injury claims, especially for non-economic damages. However, under Article 5, Section 32 (Lexis) of the Arkansas State Constitution, there is no limit to the amount of damages recoverable due to injury or death. This includes any type of personal injury case.
One factor that may greatly affect the value of your car accident claim is how the court distributes the assignment of fault. According to ACA § 16-64-122, Arkansas follows a modified comparative fault doctrine.
This means that a plaintiff may recover damages as long as their share of fault is 49% or less. However, the court also reduces the total damages awarded by their percentage of fault. Consider this example of Arkansas’ comparative fault rule in action:
Jacob is traveling down a major street about 10 mph over the speed limit. While passing through a green light, another driver makes a left turn in front of Jacob and hits him. The court determines that Jacob is 15% at fault since he was speeding. However, the other driver is 85% at fault for making an unsafe turn. Jacob’s total damages of $100,000 are reduced by his share of fault, leaving him with an $85,000 award.
Since the victim was less than 49% at fault for the accident, the court still allowed him to recover damages. If he was 50% or more at fault, he would not be able to receive compensation under the Arkansas comparative fault rule.
Want to Know the Value of Your Claim? Speak to an Arkansas Car Accident Attorney
Typical car accident settlement amounts, while somewhat informative, don’t apply to every case and can be very misleading. In fact, the average Arkansas car accident settlement may be nowhere near the true value of your claim. If you’ve been injured in an accident and need help calculating your damages, the next best step is to contact our experienced attorneys.
At the Harris Law Firm, we have 40 years of experience advocating for car accident victims. We know that negotiating with the insurance company is no easy task. That’s why we thoroughly manage every aspect of your claim, from collecting evidence to making timely court filings. Our attorneys also have the trial experience needed to take your case to court if necessary.