You may file a claim for compensation for injuries and property damage when you suffer losses in a car accident that’s not your fault. Filing an injury claim can result in a settlement from one or more insurance companies, but you must know how much your case is worth to obtain the right settlement.
When you hire an experienced car accident attorney, you’re not alone in your struggles. A car accident lawyer can work with you and represent your best interests to get the best possible outcome for your claim.
So how much should you ask for in a settlement? Continue reading to learn more about car accident settlements and what goes into determining the value of a case. To discuss your specific situation and possible compensation, consult a car accident attorney directly so they can assess your options.
What is a Car Accident Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement that ends a legal dispute and helps avoid trial. These settlements benefit both parties: one party gets the financial compensation they deserve while the other ends the dispute and saves the time and energy needed to go to court.
A successful settlement is typically the goal when you file a car accident claim, as it can end the claim process quicker and with less stress. A car accident lawyer can help you on the rocky road to a settlement.
Insurance Companies and Car Accident Settlements
If you lack experience with car insurance companies, it can surprise you to learn how they typically handle injury claims. Knowing what you can expect from insurance companies and how they handle settlements protect your rights.
Auto insurance companies have an arsenal of tactics they employ to avoid paying out the full amount on claims. These companies preserve profits by convincing claimants to accept as little as possible. For this reason, you may encounter difficulties when attempting to settle your claim.
One of the most common tricks insurance companies use is a quick settlement offer. Soon after your collision, you may receive communication from the other driver’s insurance company with an initial settlement offer. While this may seem innocent and helpful, the insurance company wants you to settle fast for less than you deserve. You might not even know what your losses are worth yet, so never accept a quick settlement.
Insurance companies prey on individuals with no legal representation. They rely on the layperson not knowing their rights or being familiar with the appropriate laws and procedures. This is one of the many reasons to hire a qualified car accident lawyer.
When you have the right attorney handling all insurance communications, the adjuster knows they cannot get away with what they otherwise can. This benefits you.
How Do You Know How Much to Ask For in a Car Accident Settlement?
Once you understand a car accident settlement, the next logical question is how much you ask for. Every case is unique, and for that reason, the answer is “it depends.”
Determining how much to ask for in a settlement does not happen immediately but requires time and thought. Fortunately, car accident lawyers have extensive experience examining the crucial details of collision cases and figuring out the value of a case.
Calculating your damages and determining how much these damages are worth monetarily is key to obtaining fair compensation. Without knowing how much your case is worth, you’ll likely end up settling for much less than you deserve.
Your car accident lawyer can prevent unfair settlements and instead help get you the recovery you need.
Is There an Average Settlement Amount for Collision Cases?
Many car accident victims make the mistake of conducting an internet search to figure out how much their case will be worth, but no one, including the all-knowing internet, can tell you that. This is because there is no normal, average, or expected car accident settlement amount.
Every car accident victim and their cases are unique. Therefore, damages and settlements are all unalike. Instead, you need to dig deep and examine the crucial details of your accident and the resulting injuries and losses to determine what a fair settlement will mean for you.
Damages Available for Collision Cases
The point of a car accident settlement is to ask for damages. Damages represent the tangible and intangible losses related to your collision.
The primary objective of damages in a personal injury case is to make the plaintiff whole. This means when you ask for damages, they should serve to put you in the position you would be in had your accident not occurred in the first place. For this to happen, you need to determine the value of your damages to pursue the right amount of compensation.
Compensatory damages, or those that serve to compensate victims, are separated into two distinct categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages represent losses that are more easily proven, including:
- Expenses for past and future medical bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost earnings
- Lost or diminished earning potential
- Property damage
On the other hand, non-economic damages represent losses associated with your accident; however, these losses require more proof to substantiate.
These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Calculating your damages accurately can get you one step closer to compensation. Still, sometimes it’s easier said than done. This is why determining your losses and their monetary value is one of the most important tasks your lawyer will take on for your case.
Factors Affecting the Value of Your Case
Getting to the final figure representing your losses takes much work and thought.
To calculate your damages, your car accident attorney can examine:
- The injuries you sustained and their severity
- The extent of medical treatment needed to care for your injuries
- Whether you’ll require medical care in the future
- Whether your injuries required you to miss time from work, and if so, how long
- The total of your lost income
- Whether you can return to work, and if so, to what capacity
- Whether you’ve suffered any permanent disability
- How your injuries and losses have affected you mentally
- Any other details that may impact your settlement
These and other critical details play important roles in assessing a fair settlement for your particular situation. Examining these factors can greatly assist in calculating the value of your losses.
What Happens if Settling Your Case Isn’t Possible?
While most car accident cases settle outside the courtroom, sometimes, reaching a settlement isn’t possible for one reason or another. Still, just because your case doesn’t settle, it doesn’t mean you cannot get fair compensation another way.
If your case is absolutely unable to settle, and both sides cannot come to an agreement, a judge or jury can decide your case at trial.
When you go to trial, a judge or jury (depending on the situation) hears both sides’ cases. The plaintiff and the defense can present their cases, evidence, and testimony to help prove their claims. Trials can last anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks, depending on the type of case and how complicated the case is.
Once the judge or jury has heard from both sides, they will decide the compensation you deserve based on the evidence. The trial ruling becomes a court order, and the insurance company must follow the order. So, for example, if you win your case and the judge or jury decides the insurance company must pay you a certain amount, they’ll need to comply with the court order and pay you.
The possibility of settlement does not dissipate once you reach trial. Even during the trial, both sides can still reach a settlement agreement. Should that occur, the parties can present their proposed agreement to the judge for approval. If approved, the trial concludes, and you’ll receive your settlement.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Settle Your Case
When you hire a car accident attorney, you ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Experienced lawyers utilize their education, experience, resources, and skills to aggressively protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve, regardless of what that entails.
Handling a collision claim involves several critical tasks you can trust your lawyer to complete timely and appropriately, including:
- Helping you submit your insurance claim
- Communicating with the insurance company
- Investigating your accident
- Filing your personal injury lawsuit
- Proving fault
- Gathering pertinent evidence
- Interviewing witnesses
- Engaging in settlement negotiations with the opposing party
- Going to trial, if needed
There is a lot to handle in a car accident claim. However, when you hire legal counsel, you don’t have to worry about doing anything alone. Your lawyer can handle everything on your behalf while you place your focus on what matters most, including your physical recovery and well-being.
If You’re Involved in a Collision, Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Anything related to car accident cases, from insurance claims to settlement agreements and everything in between, can be challenging to take on your own. Luckily, you don’t have to.
Do not wait to speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer lawyer when you suffer an injury in a car crash. Having an attorney on your side provides immeasurable peace of mind and gives you the best shot at obtaining the settlement you need and deserve.
You cannot trust insurance companies to do the right thing, and trying to handle your case alone often results in much less money than you need to cover your losses. Never risk this.