Most of the time, getting compensated after a car accident is a matter of filing a claim against your own auto insurance policy and that of the other driver or drivers involved in your wreck. After a more severe collision, though—one that results in serious injuries—you may need to take legal action against whoever is responsible for the crash in order to receive compensation. This process often concludes in a settlement, made under threat of going to court if an agreement cannot be reached.
Answering the question of how much a negligence settlement for a car accident should be worth is very hard, mostly because every case is unique. One thing is for sure, though: having help from reliable attorneys can make a world of difference in what kind of outcome your settlement negotiations has and how favorable the final result is for you.
What Affects the Value of a Car Accident Settlement?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average auto insurance claim for personal injury was $15,785, and the average claim for property damage was $3,481. Rather than illustrating how much a negligence settlement might be worth after a car crash however, these numbers indicate how much compensation may be provided by an insurance company. Importantly, you can’t recover twice through both insurance and a personal injury claim for the same specific losses.
That said, a private settlement does allow compensation for a much broader scope of losses beyond just short-term medical bills and car repair costs. These might include:
- Lost consortium;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Psychological trauma and distress;
- Lost overall enjoyment and quality of life;
- Lost work income and long-term earning capacity;
- Other forms of personal property loss besides vehicle damage;
- Expected costs of future medical treatment needed to address a long-term injury or disability; or
- Disability-related costs for things like assistive equipment and home or vehicle modifications.
Based on what specific losses resulting from a car accident and how long those losses are expected to affect your life, the amount you may receive in a car accident settlement may be less than the numbers mentioned above or significantly higher.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for My Own Wreck?
Another major factor that can affect the value of a car accident settlement based on someone else’s negligence is whether you—as the injured person seeking compensation—were negligent in some way. If you did something reckless or careless that contributed to causing your crash, the person you’re trying to settle with may refuse to pay for a portion of your damages. They might base this refusal on the argument that the court would likely reduce any damage award you received through a civil trial by the same amount, based on your comparative fault.
Missouri for example, is a “pure comparative fault” state, so there’s no amount of fault you could hold for your own accident—other than 100 percent, of course—that would completely disqualify you from seeking compensation. That said, other states may or may not have similar laws. Guidance from experienced legal counsel can still be key to defending yourself against allegations that you were at fault during the settlement process.
Speak With an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney at Our Firm
Our team at OnderLaw is happy to provide you with a free case evaluation. We can help you understand how much your unique car crash claim is worth and fight for the fair compensation you need and deserve to move forward with your life. Call now.