How Much Is Your Car Accident Case Worth?
If you were injured in a collision, you might wonder, “How much is your car accident worth?” The Accident Attorneys of America can provide valuable answers.
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Recovering Damages From a Car Accident
Once you have had time to adjust after being injured in a car accident, one of the critical questions you will ask is how much your accident case is worth. The first step is to determine whether you should pursue a claim or not. Despite being a great question, it isn’t easy to ascertain accurately.
Every car accident case is different. Some aspects of a claim are easy to calculate, such as the cost to repair a damaged vehicle which is easily quantifiable. However, the equation morphs into something super complex once you introduce damages for injuries, including pain and suffering. What is a limb worth to you?
In every case, a damages amount is arrived at and settled or adjudicated by a jury.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
There are several types of damages in personal injury claims. Firstly, damages are divided into compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages reimburse the subject for all expenses directly resulting from the car accident. They restore the plaintiff to the same financial position they were in before the accident.
Some of these damages are relatively straightforward to quantify – while others are more difficult to calculate. Damage to property, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment are all compensatory damages.
Damage to Property
Damage to your vehicle or damage to property that was destroyed in the car crash is easy to quantify. It involves the assessment of the fair market value of the destroyed property.
A car accident injury may result in lost wages. Lost past income is easy to calculate. However, lost future earnings are more challenging to estimate.
Past medical bills are calculated by adding up all historical medical bills that have been paid for medical treatment. Estimating future medical bills is more complex, which can be tricky to predict without the help of a crystal ball. Such expenses, however, can be calculated with the assistance of a car accident lawyer.
Pain and Suffering
You are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to the car accident injury, both past and future. The amounts awarded vary widely and are often decided after expert witness testimony. Even the age of the subject can affect the amount significantly.
Emotional distress is the intellectual equivalent of the physical aspect of pain and suffering. It covers the psychological distress that a plaintiff might suffer from car accidents. Factors that are taken into account are sleeplessness, anxiety, and fear. Once again, this isn’t easy to quantify and predict.
Loss of Enjoyment
If the car accident caused you to lose the ability to, for instance, pursue your hobbies, you might be able to claim for loss of enjoyment. Car accident settlements and adjudicated amounts differ widely from case to case.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium refers to a decrease in the relationship quality between spouses pre- and post-car accident, including a reduction in the ability to enjoy sexual relations. Once again, this isn’t easy to put a value on and will vary widely.
Punitive damages are independent of any actual loss suffered. The idea behind punitive damages is to punish the party responsible for causing the harm. These awards can be substantial and are designed to punish the perpetrator financially. Awards in this area vary widely for apparent reasons – difficult to apportion a figure to punitive damages.
Other Factors Which Affect Damage Amounts
Three other factors can significantly affect any damages claim. These include contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff, comparative negligence, and lastly, a failure to mitigate damages after the car accident by the plaintiff.
If the plaintiff were at least partly at fault for the accident claim, their car accident settlement award would be reduced proportionately. However, arriving at these proportions is highly subjective, which makes predicting likely awards more difficult.
In some states that ascribe to the doctrine of contributory negligence, the plaintiff is entitled to no damages if they contributed to the car accident in any way whatsoever.
In cases where a plaintiff has blatantly failed to mitigate or reduce his damages after the accident, his car accident settlement award may be reduced by the estimated value of his failure to mitigate.
Settlement Value versus Trial Value
Both parties can settle a car accident lawsuit at any time; in fact, most auto accident cases are settled outside of court. Car accident settlements are generally lower than those awarded after a trial because they are a compromise between the parties to avoid the risk of losing.
Effect of the Amount of Insurance Policy on the Award
A person’s award may be based on the amount of insurance coverage they have available. You may not be able to claim your total loss if the insurance policy limits are too low, especially if you have suffered serious injuries. If the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage, you may not be able to claim.
How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018, the average car accident settlement for bodily injury was $15,785, while the average compensation for property damage was $3,841. In cases of severe injury, you can expect a higher settlement award.
Even though some firms use a car accident settlement calculator to estimate your personal injury settlement, this is of no use and by no means reliable.
Need to Maximize Your Claim? Appoint the Right Law Firm
The law on injury settlements arising from car accidents is regarded as a specialized field, making these cases very challenging.
To mitigate your risk of losing your case, you need an experienced and well-regarded car accident lawyer with proven experience handling these cases on your side. So, it is essential that you hire a car accident lawyer who has won awards on behalf of their clients in the past.
Don’t worry about lawyer fees if you aren’t sure how to proceed. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free case evaluation at the beginning of your case. After that, they charge a contingency fee, so you don’t have to pay anything if they lose your case. When they win, their legal fees and costs are deducted.
America’s Accident Attorneys can assist you in negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company or yours. Our firm will fight tooth and nail for you to maximize your award in your car accident claim. We are incredibly proud of the many personal injury services we provide, including car accident settlements.