Car accidents are painful, disruptive, and traumatic. What makes them worse is when they are caused by another driver.
When you are injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, you are eligible for compensation through a car accident settlement. This involves the other driver’s insurance company, who will determine how much you are offered.
One of the most common questions regarding car accident settlements is how much they are worth. There isn’t an exact answer to this because your offer is dependent on the unique circumstances involving your accident.
Several different factors influence settlements and it helps to start by understanding what matters the most. We’ll go over a few of the most relevant factors below.
One of the most important factors is the extent of the accident.
What you’ll receive from a minor fender bender is dramatically different from an accident that totals your vehicle and causes significant injuries. This is because the economic impact is not the same.
Insurance companies base their settlement offer on what they think the accident is worth. Usings how much damage was caused is one of the most direct ways to calculate this.
With this in mind, a few important questions include how many vehicles were involved, how many injuries occurred, the conditions of all vehicles, and whether anyone was killed.
In general, the more serious your accident and injuries, the higher your settlement offer should be.
Closely related to the accident extent is the impact of your injury.
This speaks to how serious your injuries are. Cuts and bruises are fairly minor, but broken bones, facial disfigurement, and paralyzation are much more severe.
Considering this, more serious injuries result in a greater payout. The reason for this is that the accident caused a greater loss, financially, physically, and emotionally.
Some significant considerations for this include how long you will be affected by the injury, what it prevents you from doing, what it forces you to do, and how your income suffers as a result.
It is extremely difficult to put a price tag on an injury, but this is what insurance companies do when making you an offer.
Probability of Fault
Another significant component involves the probability of the other party being found at fault for the accident.
While it may be clear to you who caused the accident, it may not be to everyone else. Unfortunately, you are required to prove that the other party caused the accident.
If you are aware of this and have evidence pointing to their fault like dashcam footage and eyewitness accounts, then this isn’t much of a question. However, most people are not prepared for this and don’t have great proof of the other party’s fault.
This is important because it determines how much you are offered in your settlement. Typically, insurance companies choose to settle cases outside of court. This is where they’ll offer you a figure to dismiss or resolve your claim.
You do not need to accept the settlement offer. If it seems unreasonable, you can pursue further legal action with a lawsuit. This will involve a judge and jury, which leaves the verdict up to the jury.
Considering this, the offer you receive is based on how likely a jury is to find the other party at fault. If you have little evidence, you’re likely to receive a lower offer. Alternatively, highly suggesting evidence will result in a higher payout.
A final consideration is whether you have skilled legal representation with you.
Having a lawyer does not earn you more by default, but a skilled lawyer that understands your case and how to work it effectively can get you a positive outcome.
One thing to keep in mind is that the law is highly complicated and you can’t possibly know all of the intricacies and nuances needed to win a case. A good lawyer does and will use this information to your benefit.
An important part of this is how much your case is worth. A smart lawyer understands the value of your case and will ensure you get nothing less.
This means that excellent legal representation indirectly results in greater compensation because you have more leverage in negotiations.
A great way to imagine this is by thinking about buying a car. Would you rather buy it alone or with someone who understands vehicles well and knows how to negotiate a good deal? Surely you’d take the negotiator because it means you’ll get a better deal.
Good lawyers are master negotiators and this is what makes them an essential factor in how much your car accident settlement value is.
Car accident settlements are often complicated and frustrating. The other driver’s insurance company doesn’t want to pay out, but they must if the other driver is guilty. Because of this, they aim to pay as little as possible.
When evaluating how much a car accident is worth, insurance companies look at a few different factors. This includes the extent of the accident, the impact of your injuries, the probability of the other driver being found at fault, and whether you have legal representation.
If another driver has caused you pain and suffering, then you deserve adequate compensation. Ensure you get what you deserve by seeking a skilled lawyer to help you win your case.