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Calculating a rear-end collision settlement in North Carolina can be a complex process. Liability in rear-end accidents is not always as straightforward as you might imagine.

And settlements depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of the damages and injuries, as well as each party’s percentage of fault or negligence.

Understandably, as a victim, you want to know how a settlement is calculated and how much money you might receive. 

Settlement Examples for a Rear-End Collision in North Carolina 

Insurance companies all have their own way of calculating settlement values for a rear-end accident.

The two primary valuation methods are the multiplier and the per diem methods. Read on to learn more about each method and see some rear-end collision settlement examples. 

Multiplier Method 

The multiplier method is one way insurance companies calculate damages in a car accident case.

This method involves determining the total amount of economic damages—which include things such as medical expenses and lost wages—and multiplying that amount by a number (multiplier) between one and five.

Adjusters choose the multiplier based on the severity of the injuries and how badly the accident affects your life. The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier.  

Consider an accident where your injuries are minor, and you healed within a couple of months. In this case, the multiplier would be on the lower end, either a one or two.

If your injuries are more severe and involve a more extended recovery period, the multiplier might be higher, such as three or four.

The most severe injuries involving catastrophic damage or death would have a multiplier of five. 

To calculate general damages, multiply the economic damages by the chosen multiplier number. For example, suppose your medical expenses are $50,000, and the appropriate multiplier is three.

In that case, your general damages, such as potential pain and suffering, would be $150,000 for a total case value of around $200,000.

Some adjusters include lost wages and medical expenses together before multiplying. Other adjusters add lost wages after calculating the value of general damages. 

Per Diem Method 

The per diem method is another option, but it’s used less often.

Per diem involves calculating the daily rate of income you earned before the accident and then multiplying that amount by the number of days you were unable to work due to the accident.

For example, if you made $100 a day and could not work for 20 days, your general damages would be $2000. If you could not work for 90 days, your general damages would be $9000. 

When using the per diem method, you must consider all types of income you received before the accident. That includes your hourly wages, tips, bonuses, and other income sources.

The more evidence you have to support your earnings, the better. Present copies of your pay stubs, tax returns, and all other financial documentation.

Don’t forget the loss of other benefits, such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and employee perks. 

The per diem method can also be used to calculate future losses. If you are out of work for months, an adjuster might apply a daily rate to future earnings.

For example, if you are expected to be out of work for six months, then per diem can calculate a daily rate for six months.

This method is less favorable, though. Assigning a value to your pain and suffering isn’t necessarily on par with what you earn at work. 

Problems with Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering 

Neither the multiplier nor the per diem method provides exact calculations. Adjusters use them as a general guide and often undervalue a victim’s case.

Every potential rear-end settlement should be looked at carefully. It’s important to consider the severity of your injuries and how the accident will impact your life in the future.

You might not be able to return to work for months or even return to your pre-accident career. Someone who is young and cannot work for the next 30 years might have a higher case value than someone with similar injuries who is a year away from retirement.

Factors like this can add significant value to your case that a multiplier or per diem calculation doesn’t take into account. 

Factors that Impact a Rear-End Collision Settlement

When determining fault in a car accident, North Carolina follows the doctrine of contributory negligence. This law means that if someone is even 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot collect any compensation.

Therefore, the defendant’s insurance company will do whatever it can to attribute some blame to you, so they don’t have to pay your claim.

For example, if your brake lights weren’t working, the adjuster might argue that you stopped suddenly without working brake lights, causing their insured to slam into you. 

When calculating a settlement, it’s important to consider all of the damages you sustained, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and how the accident impacted all aspects of your life.

The more severe your injuries are, the higher your general damages are likely to be. Hiring an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can help. 

Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer 

Calculating a settlement for a rear-end accident in North Carolina can be complicated, especially in overcoming the hurdle of liability and contributory negligence.

You need a legal advocate to protect your rights and fight for you. Don’t risk your potential compensation by trying to handle your claim independently.

Our lawyers have decades of combined experience assisting injured car accident victims.

When an insurance company tries to lowball your claim or unfairly denies your claim citing contributory negligence, your lawyer at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, will be there to help you fight back and get the compensation you deserve. 

Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your case and help you calculate the potential settlement value of your North Carolina rear-end collision claim. 

Author Photo

Jason McConnell

Jason McConnell is the managing attorney of Mehta & McConnell Injury Lawyers, a Charlotte, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law firm. In his free time he enjoys playing golf, cooking, traveling and following the UNC Tar Heels and Carolina Panthers.

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