How much money you can get from a car accident settlement depends greatly on the circumstances of your collision, your injuries, and other factors. You will need to determine what a fair and just settlement value might be before you file an insurance claim for the compensation you’re seeking. This will be unique to your case, so there is no way to calculate an average settlement for a car accident
Working with a car accident attorney can help you better identify the recoverable damages, value your intangible losses, and negotiate with the insurer for a better agreement. Most personal injury law firms offer complimentary consultations and case assessments for those with physical injuries from a crash.
What Factors Will Affect My Car Accident Insurance Settlement?
Numerous factors can affect the validity and value of an auto accident claim. These include:
- The type of injuries you have and their severity
- The required medical treatment and care
- Your lasting injuries and impairments
- Future and ongoing care needs
- If you can return to your job
- Your other financial losses
- The pain and suffering you endured
- If you have chronic pain or other concerns that lead to loss of enjoyment of life
- Any ongoing emotional distress or psychological losses
- The circumstances that led to the crash
- The at-fault driver’s insurance coverage
- Other significant factors that could increase or decrease your claim’s value
Your contribution to the cause of the crash could also affect your recovery. This is sometimes known as comparative negligence. The laws differ by state. For example, in Louisiana, under La. Civ. Code Art. 2323, you can sue for compensation and recover damages even if you were partially at fault in the crash. However, this would decrease your recoverable damages.
In Alabama, case law (Golden v. McCurry (1980)) affirms the legal doctrine of pure contributory negligence. If you played a causative role in the crash in any way, you cannot recover damages.
An experienced car accident attorney can review your case and discuss if this could affect your chances of recovering fair compensation from an auto insurance company or through a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding the Types of Recoverable Damages
In most car accident claims, you can recover compensatory damages for your bodily injuries and property damages. There are two categories of these losses:
- Economic damages: Economic damages are the expenses and financial losses you incurred due to a crash or those you will likely face in the future.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are the intangible losses you experienced that do not have a direct financial value.
Other types of damages may also be available in some cases. It is important to know that punitive damages are rare in traffic accident lawsuits. These damages penalize the liable party for particularly bad or intentional behavior. Your attorney will be able to discuss whether these damages would be possible based on their analysis of your case.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
Proving Your Losses and Determining Your Case’s Value
The value of your car accident claim will depend directly on your recoverable damages. Identifying and documenting these expenses and losses is a vital part of financial recovery. Evidence that you or your attorney will need to collect includes:
- Medical bills for all related medical care
- Pay stubs and proof of time missed at work because of injuries, treatment, or physical pain
- Car repair estimates or the replacement value
- Other receipts of expenses covered in a typical car accident settlement
- Your relevant medical records
- Documentation of any other losses or costs
This will allow you to demand compensation for your damages, such as:
- Current and future treatment of accident injuries
- Lost wages and other income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damages, including car repairs
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible losses
Should I Settle or Sue the Liable Driver for More Money?
Most car accident cases settle without going to trial. It is rare for a victim to have to sue and have the lawsuit go to a jury trial. This does occasionally occur, though.
Generally, the victim and their legal team – if they have one – present strong evidence proving negligence and liability. They file an insurance claim with the liable party’s insurance company and demand a payout based on recoverable damages. This often leads to settlement negotiations.
With a strong case, you will likely reach a fair settlement at this point. If there are questions of fact or the insurer refuses a just payout based on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, a lawsuit may be necessary. If your attorney must sue in your case, there is a limited time to do so. This period depends on the state. For example:
- You have up to one year after a crash to sue in Louisiana under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492.
- You may have up to three years to begin a lawsuit if your collision occurred across the state line in Mississippi, per Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49.
Many Car Accident Victims Choose to Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm
If you suffered injuries in a collision, you may opt to hire a personal injury lawyer to manage your claim or lawsuit. This is a good choice, especially if there are serious injuries, intangible losses, or you do not have the time to dedicate to navigating this process on your own. Even in minor car accidents, filing an insurance claim, calculating an accident settlement amount, and negotiating a personal injury settlement are time-consuming and challenging.
Accident settlement amounts and the insurance coverage available vary widely from case to case. An experienced car accident attorney can handle any case, from minor accidents to victims left with debilitating permanent injuries. They can seek a settlement payout based on the severity of injuries you suffered and the policy limits or hold the at-fault party responsible in court.
Our lawyer knows how to identify your recoverable damages, value your non-economic losses, and put a fair settlement value on your case. They will demand a just accident injury settlement and manage the negotiation process for you. If that does not give the desired results, they can sue and take your case to trial. They work based on a contingency fee, meaning you do not need to pay anything up front.
Speak to Our Lawyer Today During a Free Consultation
You can talk to a lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We represent clients throughout the Gulf South, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We have an experienced car accident lawyer available to review your case today. We manage motor vehicle collision cases daily and fight for maximum compensation for our clients hurt by negligent drivers.
Contact us online or on the phone now to get started.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.