Accidents do happen, and they can occur to anyone – besides, that is why they are called ‘accidents,’ no one really expects them. When this happens, you will need to have not only your damaged vehicle compensated but also the bodily injuries. You will need this indemnification, especially if you were not the sole cause of the accident. In the US alone, according to figures from the ICO, the average liability claim is over $3,231 in property damage.
Bodily injury claims are approximately $17,024. These figures can help you understand exactly how much to expect from a car accident settlement. The figures are, however, not constant. There are many factors that are taken into consideration. This post has all the answers that you seek concerning the amount you stand to receive during a car injury settlement.
Where Does the Average Car Injury Settlement Come From?
If you have been involved in an accident, either your insurance or the other vehicle’s insurance will cater to your property and bodily damage. It all depends. If the accident was your fault and you have collision coverage for your car, then your insurance company will pay a specific price to get it fixed.
In some states, there are two types of auto insurance covers; comprehensive and third-party coverage. A comprehensive cover is when your insurance company pays for both the repairs of your vehicle and that of the person you hit. A third-party insurance cover only repairs the other person’s car and other bodily injuries.
Furthermore, if the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence or reckless road driving, then their insurer will compensate for your property and bodily harm, and also for the pain & suffering. The amount you might receive might be a little bit lower than you would expect, so it is advisable always to be flexible and ready to put up a fight. If your vehicle has been totaled from the wreck, or as it is known by many as ‘written-off,’ your insurance company will give you a lump sum based on how much the car was worth. Regardless of the situation, it is advisable always to get an attorney after an accident, to help you in sorting out any legal procedures which might be involved.
The Basics: Understand Your Insurance Policy
You are well aware that all drivers or cars ought to be insured, legally in almost all countries in the world. What you might not know is that insurance companies are different, and so is the amount of coverage they offer. All insurance companies have a maximum payable amount they can provide in case of an accident.
They, however, always try to cut those amounts to the lowest possible one to save on their finances as well. Even if the cause of the accident was the other driver’s fault, their maximum payout amounts might not cover all your expenses.
Your insurance company will be forced to top up on the remaining losses incurred. In the case of an accident, before filing for claims, you or your attorney should find out the maximum payouts from the other insurer.
Most auto insurers provide two types of covers:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
- Property Damage Liability
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
Bodily injury liability covers the medical expenses needed to secure your life and health. It also caters to the occupants of the vehicle. In many cases, there are two types of maximum payable amounts; 20/50 and 100/300. This is not Greek as it is quite simple to understand – 100/300 means that the insurer will pay a maximum of $100k for one person’s injuries and $300k for the occupants from the two vehicles.
Property Damage Liability
This type of insurance caters to all the property and car damages incurred as a result of the accident. And again, there are different types of covers for property damage liability. For example, if your insurance cover is 100/300/50, it means that the company will pay up to $50k in terms of damages to the car and other properties.
Will My Case Result in a Settlement?
Should you decide on going forward with your case in search of a settlement, again, ensure that a personal injury attorney is by your side. Otherwise, you will learn the ins and outs of the system and go through baptism by fire. Two things can happen if either you or the other driver decide to go forward with the case. It is either taken to trial or ends up in a settlement agreement.
According to statistics, close to 95% of car injury cases end up in a settlement agreement. The other 5% goes to trial, but this happens sporadically. Moreover, such cases that are taken up in court have low chances of winning. This also occurs whenever both you, and the insurance company you are dealing with do not agree on the amicable payment to make to you.
How long it takes for a settlement to be reached
The biggest assumption by many people is that an out of court settlement takes a relatively lower time compared to going to trial. The standard thought out there is that it takes only a couple of days or weeks before a settlement is reached. Television ads by insurance companies portray a situation where people sit down, calculate the value of their losses, and agree on payment in just a few moments. While it might be seen as that fast, do not bring your hopes high.
In a real-life situation, these negotiations can take months and in other cases years. In a nutshell, do not expect compensation in just a few days or weeks. This is because both parties will go into a ‘discovery’ process where they keenly look at the claims made after the accident occurred.
Both parties, usually hire an investigator – who might also play the role of an attorney, to help in the calculation of the exact amount to be paid, and why. More of how to calculate these amounts will be discussed in this article.
Factors That Affect the Settlement Value of Your Car Accident Claim
There are many factors that are considered by the insurance company before making any compensation payments. These factors include both property losses, medical, and non-medical damages incurred. Medical factors take into consideration the amount of money spent during your recovery period.
Non-medical factors are a little bit more subjective and can involve factors such as pain & suffering brought about by the accident, loss of the enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and how it has affected the way you earn a living. In some states, plaintiffs can receive a third category commonly referred to as punitive damages.
When such damages are brought up, it means that the person who caused the accident was driving recklessly and was in complete disregard of your personal safety and life. Determining the exact amount you ought to be paid is hard, as there is no standard calculator for such.
However, here are a few questions that are asked and whose answers are put into consideration before payment has been made.
1. Who caused the accident?
This question might seem to have an answer as you already know whose fault it was. Contrary to that, this is where the need for a personal injury attorney comes into play. The other driver might have a lawyer who will try to implicate that the accident was also your fault and that you did not do as it is required to avoid it.
In other cases, they might try and pin it on you, and there comes a twist of events, as you might be asked to make the compensation. Comparative negligence states will base on the argument from both parties and should the other party win; you will only receive peanuts as compensation if at all, you will get any.
Apart from maintaining discipline while on the road, ensure that you get a competent attorney immediately, an accident occurs.
2. What is the amount lost in terms of property damage?
You will definitely have to take your car for repairs or get a completely new one after it has been totaled. These are not the only property damages that are put into consideration. Your belonging which was inside the car is also accounted for. Your computers, phones, etc. will also be considered.
3. What is the total cost of your medical bills?
These bills include everything that was spent on you while seeking treatment as a result of the accident. Everything from the ambulance cost that took you to the hospital (if you needed one), doctor and surgeon fees, adaptive equipment, prescriptions, and physical therapy (if any was needed). This is why it always advisable to keep all the bills even if a service or drug cost less than a dollar. Any missing links can have you answerable to more than necessary questions.
4. How severe are your injuries?
Accidents have different impacts on someone, and everybody’s treatment does not respond as quickly as others. People who underwent extensive medical procedures due to the severity of their case will be compensated much more than someone who sustained minor injuries.
Severe cases such as damage to the brain, paraplegia, or quadriplegia have more permanent injuries to their bodies; hence, the amount they receive is relatively higher. Other imperceptible concerns that are taken into account is when one is suffering from chronic pain.
5. How much medical care do you need?
If you going to visit the hospital before you fully recover? How much medication do you need? This is one other variable that is highly considered before payment is made. Having a medical practitioner or doctor speak on your behalf will be an added advantage and will save you the trouble of having to explain medical terminologies to the jury or insurance company.
6. What type of medication did you receive?
Many insurance companies are notorious for choosing and deciding what type of medication is right for you. This is why it is always advisable to have a doctor, and an attorney speaks for you.
Since they are also in business and do not wish to spend more than the necessary amounts for your treatment, these insurance companies can even refer you to low-cost facilities.
This brings about significant disparities as maybe; you needed better treatment ways such as those of a chiropractor.
7. Have you filed any previous claims?
If you have filed several injury claims before, your case might not be as strong as you would want it to be. You will be dubbed notorious for filing injury claims more frequently. However, this should not worry you. A good attorney will fight for you to ensure that you get the payment that you deserve; regardless of the situation.
Average Auto Accident Settlement Amounts
As indicated earlier, it might be a bit difficult to get a standard rate or calculator for the auto accident settlement amounts. If you are wondering how much to expect from a car accident settlement, here is a quick template of the various injuries and their average payable amounts;
- $10,000 – $25,000
This is for minor injuries, soft tissue damage and whiplash
- $50,000 – $75,000
Long-lasting treatments that might require surgery or physical therapy to succeed
- $75,000 – $100,000
This covers extensive medical treatments and conditions caused by the accident. In most cases, this amount caters for spinal injuries, which do not result in paralysis
- $100,000 – $250,000
This amount is paid to people who might need to undergo further medical procedures due to acute conditions. Such might include; brain injuries, cognitive impairment, or the loss of brain functions.
- Over $250,000
Debilitating injuries sustained from the accident such as paralysis or severe brain damage can cost hundreds of thousands in settlement offers. In some cases, with good lawyers present, one might even get settlement offers amounting to millions.
The 7 Secrets to Getting a Fair Settlement for Your Injuries
- Get photographs of all essential elements in your case
- Do not release your medical records to the other party’s insurance company
- Keep a day-by-day diary of your injuries and know all your damages
- Keep all bills and receipts related to your accident
- Stay under your doctor’s care until they officially release you
- File your lawsuit right away
- Choose an experienced trial and personal injury attorney
Over to You
To a large extent, the amount of settlement you get depends on the type of legal representation you get. We never tire of reminding our readers to choose nothing short of the best lawyers. Keep our tips in mind any time you or your loved one is involved in an accident, and you will live to thank us.