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Car Accident Settlement Calculator: How Much is My Case Worth?

Did you know the car accident settlement calculator being used by most insurance companies across the U.S. puts a higher value on cases where crash victims are represented by attorneys with: a) a track record of successful trial verdicts and settlements; and b) a reputation for going to trial.

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There are two main types of car accident settlement calculators being used today. One type is used by the insurance industry. This type of car accident settlement calculator, whether it is Colossus, Xactimate, or another type of insurance claims software, gives a claims adjuster a range of authority to settle a claim that is usually based on an average settlement value of that particular injury in that particular venue.

The second type of car accident settlement calculator that can be found on the internet today are the ones that can be found on many personal injury attorney websites. Unfortunately, many of these car accident settlement calculators act more like a marketing lure – a “bait and switch” to get new clients. These calculators tend to spit out a big “settlement” number to entice people to call the law firm. If you read their reviews, however, these car accident cases never seem to settle for what the settlement calculator said the case was worth when they called the attorneys office.

But these attorney car accident settlement calculators fall short in one other key area. They all leave out one of the most important value drivers that insurance companies use in determining just how much money a case will settle for:

Who is your attorney?

Who your car accident lawyer is is actually the single biggest value driver in determining the amount of your settlement. The insurance industry’s own internal data, revealed primarily through bad faith litigation cases and the testimony of former claims adjusters, shows that settlement values for cases with experienced attorneys who have a proven track record of success and who have also demonstrated a willingness to go to trial are able to settle automobile accident cases for 4 to 8 higher. Insurance companies track attorneys. In fact, this is one of the key features of insurance company settlement calculators like Colossus and Xactimate. Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers pose a credible trial threat and which do not. Lawyers who never take cases to trial, or who are known to always settle cases “short” at the door of trial, simply will never get settlement offers as high as those lawyers who do.

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How does your choice of lawyer affect the car accident settlement calculator?

The car accident settlement calculator used by auto insurance companies across the country will likely determine the settlement value of your case. Settlements can be 4-8 x higher if you are represented by an experienced auto accident attorney with a track record of success and a reputation for going to trial.

A study from the insurance industry itself shows that motor vehicle crash injury claims settle for an average of 4 to 8 times more when the crash victim’s lawyer has a record of top-reported trial verdicts and settlements and is known for going toe-to-toe with the insurance companies at trial. This is the single biggest “value driver” that insurance company claims adjusters can use in evaluating how much money to offer to settle an auto accident claim. Insurance company car accident settlement calculators and claims software programs evaluate a claim and determine the range of settlement authority a claims adjuster has, but this amount of authority can increase significantly based on the reputation of your attorney because the attorney increases a claims exposure and risk for the insurer.

How much is my case worth?

In Michigan, the short answer is that the settlement value of your case is probably worth a lot more than what the other driver’s insurance company is voluntarily offering.

In states where an at-fault, negligent driver’s insurance company is allowed to contact an injured individual directly (in many states this is forbidden as it is considered the unauthorized practice of law), these claims adjusters receive bonuses for how many claims they can resolve because the insurer knows these claims are being settled for less than if that injured individual had been represented by an attorney.

What are the factors that a car accident settlement calculator might consider?

A car accident settlement calculator may consider the following factors in determining how much your case is worth: (1) the nature and extent of your injuries; (2) your current and future medical needs; (3) whether you were able to return to work or whether you are partially or fully disabled from working, including any physician-imposed restrictions and whether you have reached MMI (i.e., maximum medical improvement); (4) whether you were disabled from engaging in other important non-work-related pre-accident activities; (5) the at-fault driver’s liability limits, available collectible personal assets, and the particular insurance company involved; (6) the experience, track record and reputation of your lawyer (attorneys who are known for going to trial can settle cases for more money and often much faster); (7) the amount of economic “specials” – usually the amount of money incurred in medical bills and wage loss to date; (8) the county or legal venue in which your case will be litigated.

What is the average settlement for a car crash?

There is no public data entity – at either the state or the national level – that collects, analyzes, updates, reports and/or publishes data about the average amount a motor vehicle crash case settles for. However, this is precisely what auto claims software programs like Colossus and Xactimate are designed to do for claims adjusters. .

Even if there was public data available, the information about what the “average” or median settlement amount for a car accident in a particular venue should be of little value to you because this number reflects settlements by all lawyers – including those who grossly under settle cases because they have no idea what the value truly is. Every time a divorce lawyer or general practice lawyer tries to make a quick buck and settles a car accident case short, it lowers the average settlement value of that specific injury. It also reflects settlements made by the big legal mills and television advertisers who have business models that depend on moving massive file dockets to “feed the advertising beast” and who are known to rarely maximize the settlement values of a claim. When a TV lawyer has 300+ cases, they cannot even return phone calls from clients, let alone properly document and litigate a car accident case to recover the full settlement value that a case is worth.
However, Michigan Auto Law is different. With 20 lawyers who truly specialize in helping people who have been injured in automobile accidents and who focus their practice exclusively on this one area of the law, our experienced auto attorneys are in a better position to understand the range of what an average settlement will be based on where the crash occurred (what venue) and based upon the settlement factors discussed above.

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How do insurance companies calculate settlement amounts for an automobile crash?

Computer software programs like Colossus and Xactimate are widely used by insurance companies as a car accident settlement calculator. Many factors are considered to determine how much a case is worth, but the victim’s choice of attorney is one of the most important factors that insurance companies look at.

Do auto insurance companies always use a car accident settlement calculator?

No, they don’t always use a car accident settlement calculator, especially when a crash victim has a traumatic brain injury or if a crash involves a truck.

In addition, in claims where a person is not represented by an attorney, the insurance company claims adjuster will likely make the victim an extremely low-ball offer that is well below what your case is worth (and before the person hires a lawyer who tells them what a terrible offer it is).

How reliable is this type of calculator?

A car accident settlement calculator can sometimes help you get a ballpark idea of what your case is worth. But at best it provides only a starting point. The best way to get the most accurate assessment of your case’s true settlement value is to talk with an experienced auto accident attorney for the reasons detailed more fully above.

How to calculate a motor vehicle crash settlement in Michigan

To calculate a motor vehicle crash settlement in Michigan, these factors will be considered: your injuries; your present and future medical needs; your pain and suffering; your excess medical bills; your excess lost wages; the at-fault driver’s liability policy limits; and the venue where your case will be tried.

Here are more details about the factors that go into calculating a settlement for a crash in Michigan:

  • Pain and suffering can include: (1) mental anguish; (2) fright and shock; (3) denial of social pleasure and enjoyments; (4) embarrassment, humiliation or mortification; and (5) shame, mental pain and anxiety.
  • Pain and suffering may include a loss of consortium claim when the at-fault driver’s negligence has resulted in the crash victim’s spouse losing the society and companionship of the victim.
  • Excess medical benefits are those past and future medical bills that are not covered by the victim’s policy because they exceed the No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level chosen in the policy.
  • Excess wage loss benefits are those past and future lost wages that either continue beyond three years after the crash and/or that exceed the monthly maximum limitation set by Michigan’s No-Fault law.
  • Additionally, depending on the facts of your case, a settlement may factor in aggravating liability factors that can increase settlement values, such as whether the at-fault driver was texting, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and/or was driving at an excessive and reckless speed.

How do the at-fault driver’s liability policy limits factor into a Michigan car accident settlement calculator?

The at-fault driver’s liability policy limits as well as the limits of his or her umbrella policy and any personal assets he or she has will affect the at-fault driver’s ability to pay a settlement. All Michigan drivers must carry at least $250,000/$500,000 in liability insurance coverage.

However, Michigan law allows them “to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a) and (b), (5))

Importantly, if the at-fault driver who causes the automobile crash was driving for Uber or Lyft or was the driver of a truck or commercial vehicle, then the minimum liability insurance coverage limits will be considerably higher.

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Is a car accident settlement calculator in Michigan different from other states?

The car accident settlement calculator used in Michigan, which is a No-Fault state, is very different from the one used in other states. In pure tort states like Ohio or Indiana, settlements are computed by multiplying a victims’ medical bills and lost wages by a “multiplier” that reflects injury severity.

Car accident settlement calculators aren’t as cut and dry in No-Fault states like Michigan as they are in other states. Michigan, for example, has very unique laws that make it different from the rest of the country. In particular, Michigan has a legal tort threshold that requires victims to show that their injuries have caused them to suffer a “serious impairment of body function” in order to be eligible to sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation. Pure tort states do not have this type of legal hurdle, which makes the calculation of a car accident settlement in those states easier.

How to calculate a car crash settlement in pure tort liability states?

The formula to calculate a car crash settlement value in pure tort states starts by adding a crash victim’s medical bills and lost wages and then multiplying that amount by a “pain” multiplier that ranges between 1.5-5 but could go as high as 10 depending on how severe, debilitating and painful a victim’s injuries are.

The formula for a car crash settlement value in pure tort liability states looks like this:

Car Accident Settlement Value (CSV) = (Medical Bills + Lost Wages) x Pain Multiplier

Need help finding the value of your case? Call now!

If you were injured in a car accident and you want to know how much the settlement calculator says your case is worth, call now (855) 781-7747 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in auto accidents.

Our secret? Our attorneys deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 1,900 5-Star Reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.