A common question many car accident victims often ask is how much their settlement will be. While it is a valid concern since you want to ensure you get as much as possible, there is no direct answer to this question.
Many factors will contribute to how much your case is worth. When you combine all these factors, your car accident attorney can determine how much to ask for your damages. Your demand package will not always be the amount you will receive. The legal process is long and can have many different hurdles to get through.
While some cases will resolve in a few months, resulting in thousands, others can take years, and recovery can reach the millions. Until an experienced attorney looks at the details of your claim, there is no way to know how much monetary compensation you can receive.
Additionally, the length of your claim will also affect how much you can expect from your claim if you settle during pre-litigation or during litigation. Most cases settle in pre-litigation, but those that go into litigation can take years and require extensive investments.
Some claims will do better in pre-litigation, and some will do better in litigation. Neither method is better because it will depend on your case. It will all depend on what is best for your specific circumstances. You will only know how far to take your claim after you call a car accident lawyer near you.
You will need to take time off work for the first few days after a car accident to seek medical examinations and advice. Some injuries will leave victims without a job temporarily. The worst injuries result in complete job loss and loss of future earning potential.
Calculating the time you take off for treatment is simple. However, calculating future loss of earning potential is much different. You will need a financial expert to determine how long you will work and what you might bring into the home. They must then consider how your medical condition will affect your earning potential. Some conditions will result in victims still working but with many restrictions or in different jobs.
There are many possible impacts on your future earning potential, and you will need an expert to calculate these losses appropriately.
The most significant factor in an accident claim is medical expenses. Your injuries will heavily determine how much treatment you need and, subsequently, your expenses. The more treatment you receive, the more medical bills you will incur. Furthermore, the more invasive your treatment, the higher costs it will have.
That is the first part of medical expenses; you will also need to consider future medical expenses. There is a chance of future costs when there is a severe injury. Permanent impairments or disabilities will have lifelong medical expenses, and you should not be left to pay for them out of pocket.
Car accidents may cause severe injuries that victims cannot recover from.
Most often, these accidents are:
- Head-on collisions
- High-speed crashes
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
You can sustain a severe injury in an accident, but the accidents on this list are often the worst.
Examples of severe injuries that result in extensive care or lifelong impairment include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe concussion
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
- Severe whiplash
These injuries will result in invasive treatments, modifications, and physical restrictions. Recovery will look different for every individual, and so will the outcomes. You may need to pay enormous treatment costs, so you will need enough compensation to cover them now and in the future.
There are several ways that you can file an insurance claim. Depending on your residence and the specific laws, you can file a claim through your insurance or the at-fault party’s insurance company. Whether your claim will get the amount it is worth will depend on the insurance policy limits.
Each policy will have certain limitations that the insurance can pay out per incident. The higher the policy limit, the better compensation you can garner. When you suffer serious injuries, the initial policy limits are insufficient to cover them.
When the insurance policy does not cover all of your expenses, you will need to pursue other legal options for compensation. Again, you will need to review your insurance claim options with a nearby car accident lawyer.
Your vehicle will sustain damage, and many accidents will result in a total loss. You will need payment to repair or replace your vehicle and other items inside. Property damages will vary by the type of vehicle and the damage. Many times drivers will think the car is repairable when it is a total loss. The insurance adjuster and your attorney will determine how much the property damage is worth. You will need to keep all records of repairs or estimates and provide those to your attorney.
Some losses do not have a receipt. Non-economic damages cover these non-economic losses. For example, a victim who develops PTSD from the accident will have non-economic damages. These mental conditions will not allow you to enjoy your life and can be a significant restricting factor on what you can participate in. you will develop a fear of getting behind the wheel or being a passenger, which is an immediate result of the accident.
Several other losses can fall under non-economic damages. You will need to communicate with a car accident lawyer near you to decide which losses to include in the demand package.
Some losses do not fall under a specific category. They are genuinely miscellaneous, so much so that many victims do not think to include them in a settlement claim. If you need to purchase medical devices or make modifications to your home, these are expenses towards your claim. If it costs you to rent a car or use a rideshare to get around while you await the repairs on your vehicle, these will be additional expenses.
Even buying over-the-counter pain medications is a miscellaneous expense you can recover in your claim. You will incur many other costs from the accident, and you must keep every receipt to provide it to your attorney.
The first step for getting payment is for your attorney to determine which party to pursue a claim against, as a significant contributing factor in a compensation claim is who is at fault. During a car accident, you assume the other party is negligent and will pay all your losses. However, there are third parties who can also bear some responsibility and can also be in the claim.
A vehicle manufacturer or government agency that was negligent and caused an accident can be responsible. While the insurance company is busy shifting the blame back and forth, a lawyer can look at all the fault avenues. The insurance company will focus on the driver and you, not look at other possibilities.
Waiting to settle
It is normal to want to hurry and resolve the claim as quickly as possible, but that often hurts accident victims in the end. The eagerness to settle will result in a lower offer, and you will be on the hook for any additional costs you incur in the future that the payment does not cover.
Stay patient and communicative with your attorney. While your attorney can only advise you on your options, the decision is yours. If you wish to make an offer, you can inform your car accident lawyer, who will provide you with other options, and you can wait for a better offer. The choice is yours, but the more patient you are, the better your settlement.
Where the accident took place
The location of the accident can have an impact on how much compensation you can get. Different jurisdictions will impose laws on settlement amounts and even the laws that apply to car accidents. While there are state laws that lay the groundwork for the claim, there are also local laws that can affect your claim. You will need a local car collision lawyer to review all the laws applying to your lawsuit. Most claims will only rely on state laws, but it is good to have a lawyer that can look for all laws and provisions that apply to car accident collisions.
The insurance company wants to keep every penny it can. They are a for-profit business and are not keen on letting money go. That means they will offer a lower settlement initially. Luckily, there is the opportunity to negotiate with the insurance company, but you will need an attorney who has experience working with insurance companies. You can’t trust either your or the other driver’s insurance company. These companies work on the same premise and are trying to save money.
What damages can you get from a claim?
While several factors will affect how much you can get from your claim, economic and non-economic damages are available depending on the variables of your circumstances.
Economic damages include:
- Physical therapy
- Medical expenses
- Surgical care
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Rental vehicles or rideshare expenses
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
Many of these items are outlined in this article and will heavily influence your outcome. Each item will require an individual calculation, and not all of these will apply to every case.
In comparison, non-economic damages, while addressed previously, can also include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Many times, economic and non-economic damages will intertwine and mingle. Everyone’s experience is unique. The same accident can lead to different losses for victims. Similarly, the same injury can affect people differently.
The lifestyle you led before the accident and the lifestyle you led after is very different. It will also affect how much your claim is worth. Suppose a welder and an influencer have similar injuries, such as a permanent scar. While they will both get compensation for the permanent scarring, the amount will differ.
They both have an injury in the same place, but due to their employment and lifestyle, they will get different compensation amounts. Since the influencer relies heavily on their looks for brand deals and product testing, a scar on their arm can cause a more considerable financial and emotional burden than a welder typically covered up during their workday.
Employment is not the only factor in how much you can get in a claim. Your extracurricular activities like dancing, yoga, running, and other hobbies will also factor into your claim. Suppose you were an avid runner before the car accident, and now your injuries hinder your ability to run; that will influence the claim.
Your car accident attorney will state that you do not enjoy or participate in the same pleasures you once did due to the injury. While there are basics to every claim, there are also many specifics. You need to call a lawyer in your area who knows how different injuries affect different people.
Having the right car accident lawyer
One final factor to consider is hiring the right lawyer. While having a car accident lawyer in your area will help garner a higher settlement than filing the claim independently, having the wrong lawyer will have you missing out on substantial compensation.
When you have a lawyer who is not familiar with how the laws work and all the avenues of compensation you can get, they will not file all the appropriate documentation. They will, therefore, not get you the maximum compensation for your claim.
You need to call a car accident lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the law and can analyze every factor of your claim. Do not pick the wrong lawyer and miss out on the payment you deserve for your injuries and losses.