After a car accident, a victim must not only face their injuries and damage to their property but also the mounting medical bills and expenses that continue to accrue. As you turn towards the filing of an insurance claim, you may wonder what most car accident settlements look like. The reality is that a car accident settlement will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the accident and the victim.
National Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts
The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the annual average for losses to an insurer related to personal injury per motor vehicle accident hovers around $20,000. Property damage losses amount on average to over $4,000 per incident. While this can give you an idea of the average car accident settlement, many settlements can also be well above these amounts or in some cases below, depending on the severity of the damage.
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What Can Influence the Amount of Compensation Available to You?
The amount of money available to a car accident victim will vary and there are certain factors that will influence how much compensation you may be eligible for. While property damage will play a role in the amount of compensation for the repair or total loss of your property, the bulk of most damages in a car accident insurance claim will be for the injuries of the victims.
The Extent of Your Injuries
The seriousness of the injuries you sustain in a motor vehicle collision will influence how much compensation is available to you in an insurance claim. The more severe the injury and need for medical care and intervention, the higher the likelihood of compensation you will be eligible for through your claim.
An insurer will consider the extent of the damage to your body as well as whether surgery and other invasive procedures are necessary as part of your treatment and recovery. The National Safety Council’s (NSC) guide to calculating costs of motor vehicle injuries shows the range of economic costs of an injury from an average of $12,500 when there is no observable injury in a victim to $1.7 million for those with fatal injuries.
The Impact of Your Injuries
Beyond the injury itself, an insurance company will consider how the injuries affect your way of life. Whether you are able to work or function as you did before the accident will influence how much compensation you are eligible for. In addition, the insurer will consider the likelihood of recovery; while some injuries may heal, others can result in permanent disabilities and conditions.
How are Damages Calculated in a Car Accident Settlement?
The amount of compensation that may be offered to you in a car accident settlement is not a random amount but rather an offer based on the insurer’s estimate of the damages to you. Damages after a car accident recoverable through an insurance claim can include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are those losses tied to monetary value which you can show through bills, receipts, and projected expenses; non-economic damages, on the other hand, can be personal to you and difficult to quantify.
A victim of an accident due to negligence can recover for both economic and non-economic damages. While economic damages will help you recover from the immediate financial impacts of an accident, non-economic damages can help you move forward and compensate you for the losses you may never fully recover, such as the pain, injuries, and suffering you sustained in an automobile accident.
Damages in a car accident insurance claim include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage or loss
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer to Negotiate a Settlement on Your Behalf?
Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be a frustrating challenge. An insurer is going to make every effort to reduce the compensation available to you after an accident and may even deny your claim. With a car accident attorney at your side, you can be at ease knowing that they will protect your rights through the process of a claim and fight for your interests to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
To go forward with an insurance claim without the help of an attorney can mean risking compensation that you may be eligible for and the likelihood of a quick resolution to your claim. Claim denials or low settlement offers from an insurer when you are unrepresented will cause delays and difficulties in your case. Although you are able to seek representation from an attorney at any point in your claim, it is always best to seek legal help at the inception of the filing of your claim.
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How Will an Attorney Assist with a Car Accident Settlement?
The first role your attorney will take after hiring them in your car accident insurance claim is to step in as the gatekeeper to you. Your attorney and their staff will manage all communications and issues regarding your case including the insurers, at-fault parties, and other interested parties to the case. Any questions, concerns, or requests in your case will have to first go through your attorney.
Beyond the management of your case, your attorney will also assist you by investigating the accident and gathering all of the evidence available to support your claim. This is likely to include evidence to support your claim of negligence by the at-fault party as well as evidence of your injuries and the impact of those injuries on your daily life.
Calculate Your Damages
An attorney will also calculate your damages to include the maximum compensation available to you based on your injuries and other losses. They will then actively negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the insurer that benefits you and your interests.
Negotiate a Resolution
If your attorney can reach an agreement as to a settlement that is reasonable and meets your needs and expectations, your case will reach a successful resolution. However, if you are unable to come to an agreement with the insurer through a settlement, an attorney will represent you through the process of a lawsuit if it becomes necessary for your case.