Approximately three million people suffer injuries from car accidents annually, and two million drivers die yearly in the U.S. The leading cause of severe accidents are DUI, speeding, and distracted driving. Besides the physical and emotional suffering of a severe car accident, there can also be a substantial financial liability. Car accident claims settlement amounts can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Most people who suffer damages in a car crash receive compensation through personal injury claims without taking the case to court. The victim can file a property damage claim or a personal injury claim to recover damages for their suffering. You can continue reading to learn more about car accident claims, settlement amounts, and the benefits of hiring a car accident attorney from Mountain States Injury Law.
Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
Typically, in third-party insurance claims, after the insurer of the offending party has made a settlement offer, it is up to the claimant to either accept the settlement offered or take the case to court if they feel they are not getting the deserved amount.
Many factors can impact your injury claim, including state laws. For example, if your state follows a no-fault rule, you would have to file a claim with your insurance adjuster rather than the insurance adjuster of the liable party. Otherwise, the at-fault driver’s insurer would have to compensate for lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and other expenses.
A car accident or personal injury lawsuit is not uncommon. Still, many people and insurance companies would be more willing to settle the issue outside the courtroom to avoid any uncertain outcomes and trial costs.
About 27% of car accidents that occur annually in the United States result in injuries, making the severity of the victim’s injuries a critical factor in determining the settlement amount. The laws for personal injury lawsuits can differ from state to state.
The median settlement amount in a personal injury car accident claim is $16,000. However, it will depend on the facts of your case. If you are not injured, you can expect less than $15,000; however, this number can increase substantially if you suffer serious injuries. For example, a spinal injury can result in a settlement of $50,000 to $75,000. Neurological injuries, such as loss of brain function, can result in the most expensive settlement amounts, going as high as $250,000.
Knowing the average amount of personal injury settlements could give you a general idea of what to expect; however, recoverable compensation depends on the extent of your injuries and several other factors. If you want a more accurate evaluation of your case and what to expect in compensation, you should consult a car accident attorney.
How Is a Claim Settlement Calculated?
Suppose you suffered major injuries from an auto accident. In that case, you could expect financial compensation for your economic and non-economic suffering, but you will need to file a claim and prove your case. The settlement claim amount for a car accident can vary due to several factors, including the severity of injuries and damage to property.
The methods used to determine the settlement amount considers several factors, including medical expenses, necessary future adjustments to the home or vehicle of the victim, lost wages, rehabilitation, and property damage. All these factors can contribute to a significant settlement amount.
The victim is also entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. However, there’s no set value for a victim’s pain and suffering caused by the car crash, so attorneys and insurance companies can use two methods to calculate the pain and suffering; the Multiplier Method or the Per Diem Method.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method is the most common method used by insurance companies, courts, and lawyers when calculating settlements. Using this formula, any damages that have a specified monetary amount, such as lost wages and medical bills, suffered by the victim are multiplied by a number between 1.5 to 5.
The number is determined by the severity of the injuries, the cause of the accident, the share of fault for the accident, and general damages. For example, if a person suffers minor injuries from an auto accident, their multiplier number would be close to 1.5. However, if their injuries are severe, the multiplier number would be closer to 5.
The Per Diem Method
Another method that insurers, courts, and attorneys can use for determining settlement amounts is the per diem method. First, a dollar amount is set for one day of the damages due to the accident. Then, this assigned number is multiplied by the number of days it takes the victim to recover to get a final amount of compensation.
Many insurance companies can use the daily wage of the victim as the dollar amount and multiply it by the number of days it takes the victim to recover. But it gets more complicated if permanent or long-term injuries are in question, which is why insurance adjusters prefer using the multiplier method.
Common Types of Car Accidents
The car accident types can influence the settlement amounts. Here are the most common types of car accidents:
- Rear-End Collisions: One of the most common car accidents is rear-end collisions. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle in the rear is at fault for this type of accident.
- T-Bone Collisions: In a T-bone collision, a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. It is common for this type of accident to happen at intersections when drivers fail to yield to oncoming traffic.
- Pedestrian Accidents: People on foot are more vulnerable to severe injuries or death due to an accident. This also means the settlement amount for pedestrian accidents can be significantly high.
- Multi-Car Collisions: Multi-vehicle accidents are the most dangerous collisions because several people can sustain serious injuries.
What Happens After a Car Accident Claim Is Filed?
The process of a car accident claim is not always straightforward because the insurance company can dispute your claim at any stage. The insurance company can send investigators to find potential evidence that lets them deny your claim or lowball it. Sometimes, your insurance adjuster might not consider your medical reports until they have you examined by a medical provider of their choice.
The same could go for your pain and suffering. It would be very likely for an insurance company to accept that you suffered from emotional distress unless you can prove it. In the U.S., thousands of personal injury claims are filed every year. Still, the majority can be denied by insurance companies if there is no sufficient evidence to support the victim’s claim. An effective way to maximize your chances of attaining a fair settlement is hiring a car accident attorney.
If the insurance adjuster agrees to the claim, the procedure will not take long. However, if the insurance company disputes your claim or the case goes to trial, it can take significantly longer to resolve.
Can I Initiate a Claim Without the Help of a Lawyer?
You can initiate a claim with the insurance adjuster without any legal assistance, but it can impact the outcome of your car accident claim. If you are unfamiliar with their procedures and tactics, insurance companies can offer an unreasonably low offer and pressure you to accept it.
There are specific methods used for calculating damages resulting from the accident. If you do not understand these methods, you will have to rely entirely on the insurer to make fair calculations.
In addition, handling the negotiations with the insurance company can be challenging. As a result, most lawyers recommend that victims avoid personally engaging with the insurance company after the accident because it could potentially undermine their chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
In some cases, if the injuries sustained are severe and the recovery period is extensive, you may miss the deadline for filing the claim after the accident. Serious injuries can have you hospitalized for several months. These are important reasons you should consider hiring a car accident attorney well-versed in personal injury claims.
How Can I Maximize My Car Accident Settlement?
After being injured in a car accident, it is reasonable for you to want full compensation. Here is what you can do to maximize the settlement amount.
Document Your Losses
There is always a possibility that the insurance company might dispute your claim due to insufficient evidence, especially if you do not document your injuries, medical costs, and lost wages.
Your injury claim is likely to be successful if you have proof of the monetary damage caused by the car accident. In addition, you can also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, which would only happen if you prove your suffering from emotional distress. The best way to do that is to get professional help and document it.
You must attend all medical appointments so the final medical report reflects all your medical expenses and serves as sufficient evidence to prove your losses.
After a car accident, you should contact the local police and file a report. The police report should include a detailed description of the car accident and statements of eyewitnesses that can prove the liability of the offending driver.
The absence of an official report could let the liable party deny your claim and avoid paying any compensation. You can get a copy of the police report, and the contact information of the witnesses at the scene can support your claim.
Keep Details of the Accident Private Until the Case is Resolved
Try to avoid sharing information about the car accident on public forums, with coworkers, or with friends. It can be used against you as evidence. Instead, you can keep a journal highlighting crucial aspects of the accident, which can help you in your claim.
Hire an Attorney to Maximize the Settlement Amount
You can hire a car accident attorney from Mountain States Injury Law to maximize your settlement amount. We know how the legal system works and how to tackle the tactics used by insurance companies to reduce payouts. An attorney from our firm can also guide you on when it is suitable to take a case to court and when it is better to settle out of court.
There are multiple factors a lawyer can consider when evaluating how much to sue the defendant for, such as the damage to the defendant’s reputation and punitive damages. In addition, the costs of litigation in complex car accident lawsuits can be high, which is something our lawyer will consider and guide you accordingly.