Settling A Pandemic-Era Car Crash Claim
Fewer car crashes were supposed to be a “silver lining” of the dark coronavirus pandemic lockdown cloud. But instead of falling, the number of fatal wrecks increased to a fifteen-year high in 2020. The number of fatal wrecks went up again, after lockdowns ended in 2021. The bad habits drivers developed during the pandemic, like speeding and driving drunk, have persisted.
As civil courts in Ohio slowly work back up to full capacity, many of these 2020 and 2021 crash cases are just now winding their way through the system. Only the most experienced Columbus car accident lawyer knows how to use the system and obtain maximum compensation for car crash victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
Establishing the Settlement Value
Car crashes usually cause very serious injuries, like head injuries and severe broken bones. These injuries involve very time-consuming treatments and extended physical therapy. Therefore, if your wreck happened in 2020 or 2021, initial medical treatment may just now be ending.
We say “initial” treatment because, in most cases, these injuries are permanent. In fact, head injuries are always permanent. When brain cells die, they never regenerate. Broken bones are usually permanent as well. For example, if Jeff breaks his shoulder in a wreck, he may permanently lose some range of motion in that joint, even after the bone heals.
Once initial treatment is complete, a Columbus personal injury attorney can estimate the amount of future medical costs. Unless the settlement accounts for these expenses, the victim is financially responsible for them.
The settlement value must also account for other economic losses, like property damage and lost wages. To determine a fair amount of noneconomic losses, an attorney usually multiples the economic losses by two, three, or four, depending on several factors.
If Jeff’s injuries were particularly severe and/or the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) insurance company has a reputation for taking the easy way out, the settlement value may be higher. If neither of these things are true, the settlement value might be lower.
Informal and Formal Negotiations
A car wreck claim’s settlement value is like a new car’s asking price. If you have ever bought a new car, you know that price negotiations involve some give and take. Usually, the dealer does all the taking and the customer does all the giving. A Columbus personal injury attorney helps ensure that, in the car crash context, the giving and taking is much more even.
Informal, ongoing negotiations often bear fruit. That’s especially true if the issues in the case are relatively clear, and the amount of damages is relatively clear as well.
However, these negotiations often stall or break down, usually because the insurance company makes unreasonable “low ball” offers. That’s why many pandemic-era cases are still pending.
In these situations, most Franklin County judges appoint professional mediators. These individuals listen to arguments from both sides to get an idea about their claims and defenses. Then, the mediator works with both sides to engineer a settlement.
During these proceedings, both sides have a duty to negotiate on good faith. Low ball offers and counteroffers aren’t allowed. Therefore, civil mediation is about 90 percent successful in car wreck claims.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Franklin County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact the Oliver Law Office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.