Auto Accident Settlement Tips

Important! Rule-of-Thumb Evaluation. Some adjusters use the following rule of thumb: a claim is worth roughly two or three times the amount of the special damages when injuries are not permanent and liability is clear. Example:

Griffin was struck by a car and suffered a broken leg. He had a desk job and after six weeks returned to work. Medical bills and loss of income totaled $750. The claim was valued at $1,500 to $2,250.

If you have fully recovered from your injuries and the other driver is clearly to blame, your claim should be worth double or triple the amount of your special damages.

Naturally it follows that if the injury is permanent, you should receive moreā€”and if there is a question of liability you may receive less.

This rule is not applicable to every case. It does give you some-thing to go by, some basis for putting a dollar value on your claim.

Loss of earnings. Keep a record of your loss of wages or earnings. Get your employer to give you a letter stating the amount of your average earnings and the amount of time you lost as the result of the accident.

The fact that you are temporarily unemployed at the time of the injury does not necessarily mean that you may not recover lost earnings. You may establish your lost earnings by showing what you had earned in previous years. The basis for this claim is that you might have worked during the period of your disability.

Some difficult problems can be encountered in proving your loss of earnings. If in doubt as to what amount you are entitled to, consult your lawyer for his advice.

Loss of profits. You are not always allowed to collect loss of profits if you own a business. You are only entitled to recover the value of your services. If, however, your services, rather than invested capital or the services of others, are the biggest factor in your business, you can claim loss of profits. Example:
Frenchy, the barber, was laid up five weeks as the result of an automobile accident. He was proprietor of a ten-chair barber shop. During his disability, profits of the shop fell off $150 per week.

He could not collect more than $100 per week, which represented the value of his services. This is about what he would be paid as head barber in someone else’s shop.
If Frenchy, the barber, had no one working for him, had only a one-chair shop, then he could claim loss of profits.

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