Settlement Amounts For Passengers In A Car Accident

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on June 8, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

When we get into the passenger seat of someone else’s car, it comes with implicit trust in their driving abilities and their duty to keep us safe from harm caused by negligence or recklessness. Unfortunately, even the most diligent and skilled driver is still at risk of an accident that someone else on the road causes. As a passenger in a car accident, it can be difficult to make sense of how to handle your insurance or personal injury claim.

Working with a personal injury attorney is one of the best ways to get the full and fair compensation you deserve, but we will discuss how these figures are calculated below. Keep in mind that due to the highly specific nature of each of the damages associated with car accidents, it is impossible to determine how much someone is owed with a simple formula or calculator. To make sense of what you are truly owed, you (or your attorney) will need to go over the many details of your situation, catalog economic damages, and determine matters such as how severe your non-economic damages are.

Who Pays For a Passenger’s Damages After a Car Accident?

Unless you somehow caused the accident as a passenger, the at-fault driver (whether the driver of the vehicle you were in or another) is responsible for your damages, and their insurance policy will extend coverage to you. This means that you will first need to determine who caused the accident and how.

However, there are many details that must be examined at this step: does the at-fault driver have insurance? Is the insurance adequate to cover your damages? What is the extent of your damages? These are just a few of the many important questions that will make sense about your situation.

Asking these questions will help you determine your initial step, but if you hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, you can sidestep this process and stay focused on your recovery without the added stress of handling your own claim. In fact, insurers will work aggressively to settle claims quickly and for as little money as possible, so it is in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney who can help you understand the value of your claim.

How Much Is An Average Settlement For a Passenger In a Car Accident?

There are plenty of articles and resources on the internet that claim to know the averages of certain settlements, but the fact is that no two accidents are alike, and even two victims of the same accident will have wildly varying damages based on things like the injuries they suffered, the intensity of their pain and anguish, the wages they have lost, and more.

Understanding Damages

Compensatory damages — the damages sought in a car accident claim — seek to compensate a victim for their losses associated with the accident. These damages are further divided into two distinct categories: economic damages, and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the financial losses a victim suffers as a direct result of their injuries. This can include medical bills, lost wages (both current and future), property damage, and more. These damages are relatively easy to calculate, as they have a set dollar amount that can be easily proven with receipts, invoices, tax documents, and more.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the intangible losses a victim suffers as a result of their injuries. This can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. These damages are much more difficult to calculate as they do not have a set dollar amount. Instead, insurance companies and attorneys will often use a multiplier of the economic damages to find a fair figure for these damages.

The Multiplier Method

The most common way that insurance companies and attorneys calculate non-economic damages is by using the multiplier method. This method takes the total economic damages suffered by the victim and multiplies it by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries.

For example, if a victim has $10,000 in economic damages and suffers from mild injuries, their non-economic damages may be calculated by multiplying their economic damages by 2, for a total of $20,000 in compensatory damages.

However, if that same victim had more severe injuries, their multiplier would be higher, and their total damages would be greater.

It is important to note that the multiplier method is not an exact science and that insurance companies will often try to lowball victims by using a lower multiplier than what is appropriate for the severity of their injuries. This is one of many reasons why it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side.

The Bottom Line

There is no easy answer when it comes to settlement amounts for passengers in a car accident. The figure will be highly specific to the individual victim and the details of their case. If you have been involved in a car accident, the best way to ensure that you are getting the full amount of compensation you are owed is to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Find a Car Accident Attorney In Your Area

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. We work with experienced car accident attorneys in your area who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Call 1-800-Injured today to speak with a car accident attorney in your area. The consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless your case is won.