How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement
How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

It’s understandable that you’d want to know how much to expect from a car accident settlement. But when speaking with attorneys, steer clear of those who promise you’ll obtain a certain amount before they’ve even investigated the case. An ethical car accident lawyer will not make any promises or estimate your potential settlement until they have the facts.

The following is information on factors determining how much to expect from a car accident settlement. You’ll also learn how car accident attorneys in Indiana negotiate settlements and take cases to trial when insurers refuse to make fair offers.

Factors Influencing Car Accident Settlements

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average injury claim is tens of thousands of dollars. However, that’s just one reported average from one study. Each case is unique, and you might receive much more or less. The amount of your settlement will greatly depend on these factors.

  • Liability: If the other party is clearly at fault for the accident, you’re more likely to receive a favorable settlement.
  • Severity of injuries: Severe injuries that result in long-term disabilities, chronic pain, or permanent scarring typically command higher settlement amounts compared to minor injuries.
  • Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, is a key factor in calculating the value of a car accident settlement. You’re entitled to compensation for current and future medical expenses related to your injuries.
  • Lost income and earning capacity: If your injuries prevent you from working or result in a loss of income, you can seek compensation for lost income and reduced earning capacity. This includes income you’ve already lost and potential future earnings you can’t earn due to your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: In addition to economic damages, you can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more subjective and can vary depending on the severity of your injuries and their impact on your daily life.
  • Property damage: If damage occurred to your vehicle or other personal property, you’re entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or the property’s fair market value if your property is a total loss.
  • Insurance policy limits: The compensation you can expect from a car accident settlement may be limited by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. If the driver’s policy limit isn’t enough to cover your damages, you may need to explore other avenues for compensation. These options include filing a lawsuit against the driver or tapping into your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement

Car Accident Lawsuit

Once your attorney gathers evidence, documents your damages, and calculates the value of your claim, their next step is to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. With support from your car accident lawyer, here are some tips for the best chance of obtaining the highest possible offer from the insurer.

Know Your Rights

Familiarize yourself with your rights as an accident victim and understand the types of compensation you’re entitled to under the law. This will help you negotiate from a position of strength and assertiveness.

Keep Detailed Records

Maintain thorough records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and documentation of lost income. These records serve as evidence of your damages during settlement negotiations.

Don’t Accept the First Offer

Insurance companies often make lowball settlement offers to minimize their financial liability. Please don’t accept the first offer without carefully reviewing it and consulting with your attorney. You have the right to counter with a higher demand based on the value of your claim.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Negotiating a settlement is a give-and-take process. Your attorney will be prepared to compromise on certain aspects of your claim, such as reducing your demand in exchange for a quicker resolution or agreeing to a structured settlement instead of a lump sum payment.

Navigating the Legal Process

Some accident victims don’t stand up for their rights during negotiations because they’re worried it will take too long to receive their money. They’ll often accept an unfair offer because they don’t want to risk the case going to court. However, only about five percent of personal injury cases end in a trial. The other 95 percent settle.

However, there are rare instances when an insurer refuses to make an equitable offer, and a case goes to court. If this happens, here’s some information on what will likely happen.

  • Filing a complaint: The first step in filing a lawsuit is for your attorney to draft and file a complaint with the appropriate court. The complaint outlines the details of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and the damages you’re seeking.
  • Discovery phase: Once your attorney files the lawsuit, both parties enter the discovery phase. During discovery, both sides exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. This information may include depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and expert witness testimony.
  • Pre-trial settlement negotiations: Even after a lawsuit is filed, settlement negotiations can continue. The trial can end anytime if both sides agree on a settlement amount. They may attempt to resolve the case through mediation or settlement conferences facilitated by a neutral third party.
  • Trial: If settlement negotiations fail, the case proceeds to trial. During the trial, both parties present their evidence and arguments before the court, which ultimately determines liability and awards damages.
  • Appeal: In some cases, the losing party may appeal the verdict if they believe there were errors in the legal proceedings or the jury’s decision. Appeals can prolong the legal process but may result in reversing the original decision or a new trial.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Tell You More

Car Insurance Claim

As you can see, there’s no quick answer to how much to expect from a car accident settlement. If a lawyer claims otherwise, find someone else to represent you. A good attorney won’t waste time making empty promises. They’ll fight for fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Whether negotiating with an insurance company or pursuing legal action through the court system, you must be informed, prepared, and proactive in protecting your rights. Don’t hesitate to seek legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident in State College, the personal injury attorneys at Marcus & Mack can help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (814) 238-3480 or through our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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