How Is a Car Accident Settlement Calculated in Rhode Island?

Published by grandelaw on

When you have been involved in an auto accident, you’ll wonder how much money you can get as a car accident settlement. Each case is different, and getting help from a qualified personal injury attorney will go a long way in helping you calculate the damages. It is especially difficult to calculate a fair settlement if you have not yet fully recovered from your injuries. There are ways you can estimate the damages you could receive. Here is how to go about it.

Types of Personal Injury Damages in a Car Accident Settlement

In Rhode Island, the compensation you can receive in a car accident settlement is divided into three groups:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the financial expenses you incur due to personal injury. You’ll need your bills and receipts to calculate the total economic damage you should expect in your car accident settlement. Such damages include:

Non-Economic Damages

It’s harder to calculate non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are not related to finances but rather to the intangible impact the accident has had on your life. Emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement, psychological trauma, and mental anguish are some examples of non-economic damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are uncommon. They are awarded to punish grossly negligent drivers who acted recklessly or intentionally. It is used to deter further reckless conduct but can be difficult to prove.

Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlements in a Personal Injury Case

A car accident in Rhode Island follows a fault-based system whereby the at-fault driver pays for the damages. The amount you’ll receive depends on the following:

  • Direct costs of the crash. Economic damages will compensate you for costs directly related to the accident, which include emergency care, hospital stays, medication, property damage, physical therapy, and follow-up care. Additionally, if the accident has caused you to miss work, you can obtain compensation for your lost earnings.
  • Your fault percentage. The settlement you’ll receive will be reduced depending on your percentage of fault.
  • Whether the case goes to trial. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to secure fair payment for the damages. However, you can take your case to court if you cannot agree on a settlement.
  • How much you have suffered due to the accident. Pain and suffering are not calculated the same way as economic damages. If you have lost quality of life or suffered permanent disfigurement or prolonged trauma due to the accident, you are entitled to additional compensation.

How to Calculate Economic Damages

Economic damages are easy to calculate, and you can simply use a calculator to add up the medical bills, monetary damages, and lost wages you have incurred. Make sure you save the documents you need to prove your expenses and losses. You’ll need medical receipts, hospital bills, and proof of lost wages.

For example, if you had car damage of $2,000, medical bills of $8,000, and you missed 4 days’ work due to the accident at a cost of $1,000, then your economic damages would be lost wages + car damage + medical bills [1,000 + 2,000 + 8,000] = $11,000.

How to Calculate Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate. There are various methods used to calculate the portion of the car accident settlement amount for non-economic damages.

Different factors are used to determine the level of pain and suffering you have endured. Here are the two methods used to calculate non-economic damages:

The Per Diem Method

The per diem method determines a per-day value and adds to the economic damages. The victim gets a set amount for every day they go through pain and suffering. The per diem value is often the amount victims would have earned daily if they were not injured.

For instance, for a soft tissue whiplash or back injury, the Per Diem would be between $200-$600 per week, depending on whether you are partially or totally disabled. The per diem can be much higher for more serious injuries.

Continuing the example above, if the out-of-pocket expenses are $3,000 and two weeks of lost income is $1,500, meaning that the income lost daily for a five-day workweek is $150. If your pain and suffering caused you to miss three months (90 days) of work, your per diem total would be 90 x $150 = $13,500.

Add up the economic damages and non-economic damages to get an estimated settlement amount. In our example, this would be $3,000 + $1,500 + $13,500 = $18,000.

Get Help From a Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney

If you want to know more about calculating your settlement, then you should get help from an experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer. Get in touch today to request a free consultation to get started with your personal injury case. Let us fight for your right to the compensation you deserve after all that you’ve been through.

Author Bio

Louis W. Grande is a Providence personal injury lawyer who founded his Rhode Island law firm of the same name in 2010. With more than 32 years of experience practicing law, he has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, premise liability, dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and other personal injury actions.

Louis received his Juris Doctor from the Hamline University School of Law and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded Lifetime Achievement in 2017 by America’s Top 100 Attorneys and being named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers in 2017.

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