If you’ve been involved in a car accident, the compensation you receive can help cover medical bills, lost income, and other damages. But how much can you expect to receive? Understanding the factors that affect your settlement amount can be crucial in determining what to expect.
Car accident settlements are determined by several variables, including state laws and insurance policies. However, there are a few key features that impact payout amounts across the board, such as the severity of your injuries and whether or not you bear any fault for the collision.
In this article, we’ll delve into the top factors that influence your car accident settlement. We’ll explore how liability is established, go over different types of damages you may be able to recover, and offer some tips on negotiating with insurance companies. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect from a car accident settlement and how to navigate the process more effectively.
“Remember, insurance adjusters are well trained to minimize payouts. Don’t fall victim to their tactics – arm yourself with knowledge!”
We understand that accidents are overwhelming experiences, but seeking professional legal counsel can alleviate the stress associated with navigating these situations. Our goal is to provide you with information and resources to ensure you feel knowledgeable and confident throughout the entire process. Keep reading to learn more!
The Severity of the Injuries
Being involved in a car accident can lead to various injuries, some more severe than others. The severity of an injury is usually linked to the amount of compensation one could receive through a settlement for their injuries. Understanding the different types of injuries and how they impact your life can be beneficial in estimating the settlement value.
A broken bone is a common result of car accidents. A fracture caused by a car crash can vary from minor hairline cracks to severe multiple fractures or compound breaks. Some fractures may require extensive surgical procedures and the use of hardware (wires, metal plates, screws) to support the healing process. Fractures commonly occur in arms, legs, ribs, hips and shoulders, and involving big bones may mean long treatment periods and lengthy recoveries. Minor fractures, such as those that heal without surgery and do not have significant complications, expect settlements offer between $5,000 – $15,000. However, serious fractures like hip, pelvis, spine, and femur can garner up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements.
“If you suffer a serious fracture, take time recovering instead of rushing back to work. Your future health and recovery are worth it.” -Barry P. Goldberg, Car Accident Attorney.
A concussion involves the brain being shaken violently enough to cause damage. Recent studies reveal concussions are common among motor vehicle crash victims, especially in high-speed collisions. There isn’t any visible traumatic damage on an MRI or CT scan, but symptoms include loss of consciousness, headaches, confusion, forgetfulness, sensitivity to noise/light, mood swings, insomnia, depression and anxiety disorders. Severe concussions could lead to permanent brain damage or cognitive problems affecting mental functions (memory, speech). Depending on the severity of a concussion injury and how much treatment is needed post-accident, settlements can range from $10,000 – $500,000. However, these types of injuries are challenging to calculate since they don’t have visible or conclusive diagnostic testing methods.
“Even mild concussions can lead to long-term symptoms affecting memory and social relationships, so early diagnoses and accurate estimations of damages could make settling your case quicker.” -Matthew L. Willens, Car Accident Attorney.
The most severe car accident injuries happen where the spinal cord has damage because it affects the body’s ability to work correctly. Spinal injury resulting in paralysis (paraplegia/quadriplegia) may require extensive medical care, rehabilitation therapy, changes to daily life activities like accessibility modification, movement aids, wheelchair accommodations, and help with day-to-day tasks. The estimated settlement value for victims depending on the extent of their injury could range from hundreds of thousands upwards to millions of dollars. These estimates factor in the expected cost of specialist medical equipment, in-home healthcare, and future loss earnings due to reduced quality of life, inability to return back to work and require significant financial assistance.”
“It is crucial for everyone involved that you get into contact with an attorney who understands the complexity of spinal-cord-trauma cases. To maximize job security and ensure adequate health aid services, people living with spinal cord injuries will require decades of specialized support.” -D. Hardison Wood, Spine Injury Attorney.
Burns resulting from road accidents tend to occur when hot metal or chemicals burst onto the victim’s skin after impact. Burn injuries vary according to the level of severity, quantity of flesh injury, and location of burns on the body. Like any other injury resulting from a vehicle crash, burn injuries require immediate medical attention. Skin grafting or reconstructive surgery may be needed since burns can cause disfigurement and permanent scars. Settling these types of cases heavily involves handling the mental impact associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and coping with visible disfigurement as a result of the accident. While minor burns could attract settlements around $5,000-$10,000; third-degree burns that require advanced treatment in speciality hospitals could range over $1 million in settlements.
“Receiving proper compensation for first- or second-degree burns should involve settlement covering your current medical bills and lost wages due to necessary treatments. In contrast, more severe burns demand receiving additional compensation addressing psychological impacts such as social stigma.” -Steve Gnau, Burn Injury Lawyer.
The Extent of Property Damage
A car accident can have severe consequences, and one of the most obvious is property damage. Depending on the severity of the collision, vehicles, buildings, personal goods, and public property could be significantly or completely destroyed. Understanding how much to expect from a car accident settlement requires analyzing the extent of property damage.
Damage to Vehicles
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were roughly 6.5 million car crashes in the U.S. in 2018. Among these collisions, many resulted in vehicle damage ranging from minor dents to totaled cars.
The amount of compensation related to damage to vehicles will vary depending on the make, model, and year of the car involved in the accident. Additionally, the age of the car may also play a role when it comes to determining fair market value for repair or replacement purposes. Experts recommend taking photos of all sides of the car immediately after the crash to help ensure the insurance company does not deny claims of pre-existing damage should the case end up in court.
Damage to Buildings
In some instances, accidents may cause significant structural damage to surrounding buildings, including homes or commercial properties. When such an event occurs, homeowners or business owners may file a claim with their insurance company to cover repair costs. For other situations, the party responsible for the accident may need to pay out of pocket in order to settle the cost of repairs without litigation.
Damage to Personal Property
If during a car accident your personal property is damaged – this refers to items that aren’t attached to your car at the time of the incident such as electronics, luggage, clothing, or purses— you may be able to recover compensation for those damages. As long as you have proof that your property was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, insurance companies should consider items lost or damaged and will pay according to their fair market value.
Damage to Public Property
In some cases, a car accident may cause damage to public property such as traffic lights, guard rails, or street signs. When this happens, the local government will typically ask for payment from the driver responsible for causing the damage.
“Although compensation varies depending on individual circumstances, it’s essential to gather evidence immediately after an accident to determine if reimbursement is possible,” says Steve Caya, personal injury lawyer.
Victims of car crashes who need help covering expenses related to property damage can file claims with their insurance company. However, not all policies include coverage beyond basic liability protection, so it’s important to read the policy carefully or talk to an agent about additional coverage options.
“Make sure you understand what is covered under your car insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately protected from any damages resulting from an accident,” adds Arthur Schwartz, retired magistrate judge.
The Bottom Line:
If involved in a car accident, calculating how much reimbursement is necessary based on property damage entails determining the extent of any losses incurred. Depending on specific circumstances, automobile insurance companies can provide payments up to the limit of one’s coverage; however, certain damages like pain and suffering may be outside what auto insurance covers and require legal action instead. It’s important to document everything by taking photos of vehicles, surrounding buildings, and others impacts caused during the collision in order to maximize recovery and mitigate future claim denials!
The Cost of Medical Treatment
Car accidents can lead to severe injuries, leaving victims struggling with medical bills. If you were involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with medical treatment.
Emergency Room Costs
If you’re in an automobile accident and believe you have sustained even minor injuries, it’s critical to seek immediate medical attention at the emergency room (ER). The cost of ER visits, however, can be incredibly high.
According to the National Institute for Health Care Management, the average emergency room visit cost ranges from $1,389 to $2,261. This doesn’t include any additional fees like ambulance transport or diagnostic imaging.
In most cases, there will also be separate charges from the physicians who treated you in the ER. These individual providers bill separately, making it challenging to know what you will ultimately owe for your DFW hospital stay.
Keep in mind, Texas law allows hospitals to charge over 200% more for services to uninsured patients than insured patients! It certainly is an unfair practice that has resulted in unequitable pricing among different patient groups.
Cost of Hospital Stays
Hospital stays are another significant expense following a severe car accident. Much like ER visits, they can add up quickly and send victims into debt. A recent study found that the average cost of a three-day inpatient stay ranged between $30,000 to $40,000, while a 10-day hospitalization could easily exceed $100,000!
Unfortunately, many insurance policies only cover a portion of these expenses; hence, policyholders may still fall short when settling their claims.
“Even if you have insurance coverage, you’ll have copayments and deductibles, which can add up to significant out-of-pocket expenses,” said Scott Glovsky, an Advocate.
Keep in mind that hospital stays aren’t just limited to the cost of the room and board. There are a host of other fees like physician charges, medication costs, and surgical procedure expenses.
How To Cover The Costs Of Medical Treatment
If you were injured in a car accident and require medical treatment, it’s vital to know your options. Victims may be eligible for compensation if they were not at fault for the accident.
Victims could potentially receive damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, etc., not forgetting “punitive” compensations applicable to those responsible for committing gross or willful negligence resulting in human bodily harm!
You may consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury attorney (PIA) who can help you navigate the legal process and determine what settlement amount is appropriate for getting back on your feet after an auto wreck. Your PIA might negotiate with providers to lower their charges since medical service providers tend to charge premiums in accidents involving third-party liability insurers or auto insurance claims against uninsured motorists due to perceived ease of billing compared to a private pay patient.
Accident victims should never have to bear the financial burden of medical treatments required by incidents outside of their control. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer allows these patients to focus on their recovery while fighting for adequate compensation to recover costs incurred through no fault of their own.
The Level of Insurance Coverage
In the aftermath of a car accident, one of the first and most important things that will have to be determined is the level of insurance coverage available. Generally speaking, this can vary depending on the state you live in, and the specifics of your policy, but there are some common components:
Liability coverage is one of those basic elements that nearly all car insurance policies must include. Essentially, it ensures that if you’re at fault for an accident, your insurance company will pay out damages to the other driver (or whoever else might have been injured) up to the limits of your coverage.
“There are different levels of liability coverage — perhaps $25,000 per person and/or up to $300,000 per occurrence,” says Pascale Longuet, founder and CEO of Little Bite of Everything, “but not much beyond that.”
It goes without saying that if you’re involved in an accident and don’t have liability coverage, you could potentially face significant financial consequences as a result.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you were to get hit by someone who doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage (or has no coverage whatsoever), uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would come into play; it’s specifically designed to protect you in such scenarios. In some states, it’s actually required that drivers carry this kind of coverage along with their regular liability insurance.
“If the negligent party does not have enough or any auto insurance to cover your injuries or damages, your own underinsured/uninsured coverage may allow you to recover more compensation,” explains Spencer Aronfeld, a Miami-based personal injury attorney.
Note that while you might assume otherwise, it’s actually more common for people to be underinsured (rather than uninsured) — meaning that they do have coverage, but it simply isn’t enough to cover all of the damage they’ve caused.
Personal Injury Protection
If you live in one of the dozen or so “no-fault” states, personal injury protection will likely play a key role in your insurance settlement. Essentially, personal injury protection sets aside some amount of money specifically for medical expenses and/or lost wages resulting from an accident, regardless of who was at fault. This coverage can vary significantly depending on where you live, but it’s important to know whether you have it and how much it might be worth.
“All drivers in no-fault states must carry what is known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance,” notes Wayne Cohen, senior VP at AIS Insurance Agency.”
As with any car insurance policy, it’s essential that you understand the ins and outs of each component so that you can accurately gauge how much you should be expecting in a settlement payout following an accident.
The Skill of Your Attorney
If you’re wondering how much you can expect from a car accident settlement, your attorney’s skill is one of the most important factors to consider. A skilled attorney will fight for your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses.
One of the key skills that your attorney should possess is negotiation skills. In many cases, settlements are reached through negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company or the other party involved in the accident.
A skilled negotiator knows how to present your case in the best possible light, emphasizing the strength of your evidence and highlighting the severity of your injuries. They will also respond to any counter-arguments presented by the other party, always keeping your interests in mind.
“The ability to negotiate, to communicate, to empathize with clients, and to provide insightful counsel are some of the essential traits for success as a personal injury attorney.” – Stephen D. Phillips
In some cases, settlements cannot be reached amicably through negotiations and must go to court. If this happens, your attorney’s litigation experience becomes crucial. An experienced litigator will have many years of experience working within the legal system and will know how to navigate the complex processes and procedures required in court.
Your attorney will represent you in court proceedings, arguing your case before a judge and jury if necessary. This means that they need to have excellent public speaking skills and be able to think on their feet, responding effectively to any objections or questions raised by the opposition.
Knowledge of Personal Injury Law
Another critical factor to consider when hiring an attorney is their knowledge of personal injury law. You want someone who specializes in this area and has a thorough understanding of the specific laws that govern auto accidents and personal injury claims. The ideal attorney will have extensive experience representing clients with similar injuries and situations, as well as dealing with insurance companies.
A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your rights under the law and explain the different types of compensation available to you. They will also be familiar with any local or state-specific laws that may apply to your case, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and deadlines are observed.
Your attorney should have excellent communication skills to effectively represent you. This includes both verbal and written communications. Your attorney must be able to communicate complex legal concepts in easy-to-understand language so that you can make informed decisions about your case.
Good communication also extends to how they keep you up-to-date on developments in your case–e.g., by providing regular updates via email, phone calls, and written reports, and proactively informing you when deadlines are approaching.
“Effective communication is critical for achieving success in personal injury cases—both in terms of communicating with clients and opposing counsel.” – Robert J Hickey.”
If you want to maximize your potential settlement, you need an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of personal injury law and possesses superb negotiation and litigation skills. A skilled attorney can provide you with valuable advice and guidance throughout the settlement process, alleviate much of the stress involved, and increase your chances of receiving the best possible outcome given the circumstances of your case. By keeping these key factors in mind, you can find the right attorney for your needs and position yourself for success.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors determine the amount of a car accident settlement?
The factors that determine the amount of a car accident settlement include the severity of the injuries sustained, the cost of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver.
Can I receive compensation for lost wages and medical bills in a car accident settlement?
Yes, you can receive compensation for lost wages and medical bills in a car accident settlement. This compensation is typically included in the settlement amount, and is based on the extent of the injuries and the cost of medical treatment.
How can I negotiate a fair car accident settlement with insurance companies?
To negotiate a fair car accident settlement with insurance companies, it is important to gather all necessary documentation, present a strong case for liability, and be willing to negotiate. It may also be helpful to hire a lawyer to assist with the negotiation process.
Is there a maximum limit to the amount I can receive in a car accident settlement?
There is no maximum limit to the amount you can receive in a car accident settlement, as the settlement amount will depend on the severity of the injuries, the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other factors. However, insurance policy limits and other legal factors may affect the final settlement amount.
Do I need a lawyer to help me receive a fair car accident settlement?
While you are not required to hire a lawyer to receive a fair car accident settlement, it may be helpful to have legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to help you receive a fair settlement.