After you suffer injuries in a car accident, and you’ve received medical treatment, the bills you’ll have to pay are probably the next thing on your mind. We understand the stress this can cause, and you might wonder what the average car accident settlement is.
Our car accident attorneys at Rand Spear can help answer your questions surrounding your car accident and help you take the next steps in your case. Read on to learn more about what goes into determining your car accident settlement.
The Myth of an Average Settlement
In our 200 years of combined legal experience, hundreds of clients asked us, “What is the average settlement for a car accident?” And our answer is most often that it depends. While other lawyers may give you a textbook answer to the average settlement, we strive to be transparent and avoid giving our clients false hope.
Instead, we take the initiative and bring our clients in for a free consultation and determine their case value based on the details of their accident. This method is much more successful than giving out a random amount a client may or may not recover.
Factors that Affect a Car Accident Settlement Amount
When we evaluate car accident cases, we use three main factors to determine your initial settlement amount. The factors that can affect your settlement are:
Your Severity of Injuries
The factor with the most weight when determining your settlement is how severe your injuries are. The more severe your injuries are, the higher your settlement will be. Your settlement will be higher because your injuries require more medical attention than minor ones.
Injuries that are considered catastrophic will yield the highest settlements. A few of the most common catastrophic injuries are:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Deep lacerations or burns
Number of Liable Parties
The number of liable parties involved in a car accident can significantly impact the settlement amount you receive. A liable party is a person or entity responsible for the accident and any resulting damages. Generally, the more liable parties there are, the higher the potential settlement amount may be.
If there is only one liable party in the car accident, the settlement amount may be limited to that party’s insurance policy limits. However, if multiple parties are found to be at fault, you may be able to collect compensation from each of their insurance policies, increasing the overall settlement amount.
Also, having multiple liable parties can make establishing fault and proving negligence easier. This may help to build a stronger case and increase the chances of receiving a higher settlement amount. However, it’s important to note that the specific circumstances of each car accident case will ultimately determine the impact of the number of liable parties on the settlement amount.
If You Share Fault in the Accident
The final factor determining your financial recovery is whether you share fault in the car accident. In some states, you are ineligible for compensation if you share any fault. But many states allow you to still collect compensation if you are less than 50% at fault.
So if you live in a state that still compensates and share fault in the accident, you could lose a large portion of your settlement. This can be upsetting, so knowing your state’s laws is important before you have expectations of your potential settlement.
What Damages Can a Car Accident Lawyer From Rand Spear Help You Recover?
Another aspect that affects your crash settlement is what damages you recover and their amounts. A car accident lawyer can help you recover sufficient damages to cover your accident-related expenses. For example, you could recover the following types of damages after your accident:
These damages are also known as monetary damages and have a dollar amount so a lawyer can calculate them. The purpose of monetary damages is to compensate you for your financial losses. You could be eligible for and recover the following economic damages:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Loss of household services
The second type of damage you could recover with the help of a car accident attorney is non-economic damages. Unlike economic damages, these damages aren’t calculable and are based on how your injuries will affect you in the long term. You could recover the following non-monetary damages:
- Loss of society
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Since non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate, they’re often worth more than typical economic losses. Non-monetary damages are more valuable because they profoundly affect how you live your life, whether it be being unable to connect with your spouse or enjoy the hobbies you once had.
Questions that Can Help Determine Your Car Accident Case’s Value
In addition to the factors determining your settlement, a car accident lawyer will often ask multiple questions to determine if you have a valid case and calculate your settlement amount based on your answers. A few of the most common questions we ask are:
Did You Seek Timely Medical Treatment?
Seeking medical treatment is essential to your health as it can prevent you from later suffering from invisible injuries that you weren’t aware of. But obtaining medical help is also imperative to your car accident case. You should see a doctor as soon as possible because your settlement amount could depend on it.
If you avoid seeking medical care after the car crash, the insurance company could question why you didn’t do so earlier. As a result, they could suspect your injuries aren’t as severe and reduce their settlement offer.
When Did You File Your Personal Injury Claim?
Each state has a statute of limitations, a time in which you must file your accident claim to be eligible for compensation. By being aware of your state’s statute of limitations and filing it well before the deadline, you can secure your rights to compensation.
The insurance company is more likely to offer you more money if you file on time. And even if you can’t reach an agreement for a fair settlement, it will make it easier for your lawyer to represent you in court when you file your claim on time.
Did the At-Fault Parties Intentionally Harm You?
In addition to the number of liable parties, the degree of how negligent they were can also affect your case’s worth. One of the most common ways to recover a higher-than-average settlement is by collecting punitive damages. A court will award this damage when the responsible parties were grossly negligent or intentionally harmed you to punish the defendant.
Since punitive damages are neither economic nor non-economic, they are called special damages. Depending on your state, you may be unable to recover them. In some states, there are no caps on them which means you could recover a significant amount.
In most cases, the punitive damages will not be more than four times your settlement amount. A lawyer can examine your case and determine whether the negligent parties’ actions could constitute gross negligence.
Learn More About Your Car Accident Settlement
At Rand Spear, we’re dedicated to helping you understand the ins and outs of your car accident case, including how we calculate your car accident settlement amount. If you were in a car accident and are curious about your financial recovery, we can help answer your questions.
To learn more about your car accident settlement, you can call us or fill out the contact form on our website.