What is the Average Settlement Amount for a Car Accident?
In order to find out how much you can gain from a car accident settlement, there are many things that factor into the final amount. When it comes to the insurance companies, there is not a routine formula utilized to come to a common amount. There are, however, several factors that will accumulate into the process of determining your final amount, along with the unique and specific circumstances of your Personal Injury Case. In this article we will unpack the different steps that factor into what you can look for when seeking the settlement amount for your individual case. The settlement factors include:
- Damaged vehicles
- Pain and Suffering
How is a settlement calculated for damage to my vehicle?
As a general rule, the damages you would be awarded would be enough to cover the cost of repairs or to replace your vehicle. An exception would be if the repairs needed would exceed the actual value of your vehicle, therefore rendering it a “total loss” and simply cover the reasonable price of the vehicle. However, if your bumper was damaged then your bumper would either be repaired or replaced at a reasonable cost. This bottom price is usually factored by the depreciation and not the actual cost of a new vehicle you may want to purchase. In the end, the amount you receive will most likely not be enough to purchase a replacement vehicle.
What factors are used to calculate a settlement for my car accident injuries?
If you have been injured in your accident, the personal injury portion you are seeking settlement for is going to be negotiated completely separate from your property damage. Let’s say you have broken your arm, then you could expect to receive additional compensation for your injury because of the accident as opposed to you being in an accident without sustaining an injury. This sum would be directly reflective upon:
- receiving medical treatment
- documented wage loss
- medical bills
- nature and extent of your injuries (reflected in your medical reports)
It is important to note that it is in your best interest to be diligent in receiving medical treatment in a timely manner, as well as following up with your medical doctor to ensure all treatments, medication, and follow-up is documented and accurately filed. This information will strongly influence the amount of compensation you will receive for pain and suffering.
Are the settlement factors the same for pain and suffering as they are for injuries?
While there are similarities within the process of both, pain and suffering is primarily defined by the medical bills for current injuries along with the projected discomfort attached to the current injuries reflected in your future. In order to file your personal injury claim to the insurance company, you will need to have the following in order and complete:
- completed your medical treatment
- be released by your doctor (or)
- be declared “permanent and stationary” by the doctor (simply stated, you will need to have reached the point in treatment where no further improvement is anticipated)
- however, if your doctor expects future treatment, your settlement should include an estimate that reflects the discount of the present value
Other factors include, but are not limited to:
- scars from accident
- residual pain directly related to the accident
- permanent disfigurement
Other important factors when calculating an auto accident settlement
In conclusion, there are a few important keys to remember for a successful outcome in your Personal Injury Case:
- It is in your best interest to retain the services of a professional and experienced attorney. They will provide a wealth of knowledge and resources for you in your particular case, as well as help negotiate with the insurance companies to gain you the most favorable outcome. Their experience will bring value to the timeline needed to effectively execute the correct factors for your settlement.
- Policy Caps: many insurance companies will have a policy cap. Your attorney will give you the ability to know how this will affect the timeline and the specifics of your Personal Injury case.
- Due to each chase being unique, you may need to sue the other person involved in the accident, especially if there is a policy cap. This process can be expedited and simplified by having an attorney with you in this process.
- Your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights indefinitely in the matter.
- Being in the process of trying to settle your claim is not enough to extend the statutes of limitations.