Car Accident Settlement
In 2020 alone, more than 5.2 million collisions occurred across roadways in the U.S. Of these, more than 1.5 million accidents resulted in injuries, and around 3.6 million resulted in property damage.
If you or someone you know was recently injured in a car accident, you are not alone, and it is perfectly normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. Car accidents can have very real and severe consequences that can last a lifetime.
If you’re thinking about pursuing legal action, here’s what you need to know about the factors that will determine your car accident settlement.
1. Fault and Liability in a Car Accident
California is known as a pure comparative negligence state.
Negligence by itself refers to the failure to fulfill a duty of care towards another person resulting in injury or damage. Comparative negligence examines whether one or more parties were at fault. It is the degree of fault that will determine the compensation to be awarded.
For example, if you are 50% at fault, you may be awarded only 50% of your monetary loss.
It is in the insurance company’s best interest to establish that the accident was caused in some manner or the other by you. This is why it is particularly important to back up your case with strong evidence against the defendant.
2. Nature and Severity of Injuries Sustained
Another crucial factor determining your final settlement amount is the injuries sustained as a result of the other party’s negligence.
Here are a few questions to consider.
- What kind of injuries did you sustain?
- How have they impacted your well-being?
- How have they impacted your day-to-day life?
- Are they temporary or do they have permanent/ lifelong ramifications?
- How frequently do you have to make hospital visits to treat these injuries?
- Other than bodily injury, what other damage has been sustained as a result of your car accident?
Typically, the more severe your injuries, the higher your compensation will be. Similarly, the degree of ease with which they can be treated will also play a role in your claim.
3. Out of Pocket Expenses
To make any case for a car accident claim, you must establish some kind of loss on your part. To substantiate your claim you must be able to use medical bills, repair bills, and so on to prove your losses.
Consider the amount you have spent so far that has been a direct result of the car accident. How much did you spend on medical visits, medication, and treatment in general?
Other examples include home alterations due to injuries (wheelchairs/ ramps), the repair cost of your vehicle, child care charges while you are injured, in-home care, consultation charges, and more. If you can demonstrate that the accident has led to higher out-of-pocket expenses, you will likely receive a proportionate settlement offer.
4. Estimated Future Damages
As things stand, you may have already incurred some amount of monetary loss. The next thing to do is determine the monetary loss likely to occur in the future as a result of your accident.
For example, during recovery, you may not be able to return to your regular job. As a result, you may have to opt for unpaid leave, or in some cases, you may even lose your job. Similarly, if your injuries require further treatment, you may incur additional medical expenses in the future.
Your loss of wages, future medical bills, and other potential expenses must also be factored in while determining your settlement amount.
5. Non-Economic Damages
In addition to medical and other expenses, your pain and suffering will also affect your settlement amount. This includes a decline in your quality of life, mental or emotional trauma, grief, sadness, and more.
For the most part, your monetary or specific damages will determine your settlement value because non-economic suffering is harder to quantify. However, it will definitely play a role during negotiations.
6. Post-Accident Behavior and Statements
Your own behavior after the accident could affect your settlement amount.
For one, you are expected to stay consistent with your statements. Contradictions in your statement about the accident will likely hurt your settlement offer. Inconsistency creates doubt and distrust, making you an unreliable narrator of your own story.
For another, you are expected to take appropriate measures to mitigate damage. This means seeking medical intervention on time.
Delays will definitely be used against you to try and establish that the injury was not a result of the accident. Alternatively, they may also try and state that it was the delay that increased the severity of the injury.
Thirdly, you should try and avoid posting on social media or other platforms without consulting a qualified personal injury lawyer. It is easy for the other party to use what you say against you.
Get the Most Out of Your Car Accident Settlement
The process of getting a good car accident settlement offer is not an easy one. There are several factors that determine your settlement which include your medical expenses, your own behavior, the nature and severity of your injuries, the degree of fault, and more.
Thinking about these things can be a daunting and overwhelming task when you’re already experiencing the trauma of a car accident.
Don’t worry. We are here to help you. Our Orange County, CA auto accident lawyer is dedicated to helping you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Take the weight off your chest and give our qualified car accident law firm a call for a FREE evaluation of your case.