Are you preparing to take legal action as a result of a car accident? This is everything that goes into determining your car accident settlement.
About 4.4 million people are injured in car accidents within the US every year. In fact, road crashes are the leading cause of death for people younger than 54 in the US. The societal and economic impact of road crashes has now reached $871 billion.
Road crashes cost about $380 million in direct medical costs as well.
You shouldn’t have to pay for your losses out-of-pocket.
If you were recently injured in a crash, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer. We can fight for the compensation you’re due. Your car accident settlement can cover damages, medical bills, and your pain and suffering.
What factors can impact the results of your car accident case? Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review 10 factors that can impact how much you receive from your lawsuit.
Keep reading to learn more!
1. The Liable Party’s Insurance Policy Limit
One of the most important factors that can impact your car accident settlement is the availability of insurance resources. In most cases, the insurance policy will pay for your settlement.
You can still sue a liable party if they don’t have insurance. However, it’s sometimes difficult to receive an award from a liable party in these cases. The liable party likely won’t have the money necessary to settle the case readily available.
Many cases involve multiple sources of liability, too.
For example, businesses are prohibited from serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. If you’re hit by a drunk driver who was over-served at a bar, you can hold the driver and business liable.
It’s important to hire a car accident attorney with experience handling these types of cases. We have the experience necessary to identify all potentially liable parties. We’ll determine the different insurance resources that could impact your case.
Identifying every insurance resource involved can help you obtain the highest possible settlement.
2. Determining Liability
In some cases, evidence might indicate that you were liable for the car accident. Your own liability could impact how much compensation you receive. Insurance companies will fight settling cases in which the claimant was responsible.
Make sure to hire a car accident attorney immediately after you’re in a crash. We can gather the necessary evidence for your case. We could even discover that someone else was liable for the crash.
If it’s clear the other party was at fault, you could win a higher settlement amount. However, you’ll need to prove liability by demonstrating:
- That the defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached the expected duty of care
- Their breach caused the car accident
- You now have expenses as a result of the crash
Duty of care is a legal standard. It can vary based on the defendant’s role in your car accident case.
For example, drivers owe others on the road a duty of care. They’re expected to drive safely and uphold all traffic laws.
In some instances, your case could involve a product liability concern. For example, maybe defective brakes caused the crash. In that case, the manufacturer owes you a duty of care that the brakes are safe for use.
Once you determine the duty of care, you’ll need to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. For example, maybe they were texting right before the accident occurred. Texting and driving is a breach.
If the brakes failed because of a defect, the manufacturer breached its duty of care.
Driving drunk is a breach, too. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels were reported in about 65% of fatally injured passenger vehicle driver accidents. You could prove the driver was liable because they drove while under the influence.
Then, you’ll need to prove that the breach caused the accident and your expenses.
Make sure to hire an experienced car accident attorney. We’ll investigate your car accident case and gather evidence. The evidence we compile can prove the defendant’s liability.
For example, we can gather camera footage, witness statements, and speak with experts. A medical expert can prove the severity of your injuries. A reconstruction specialist can prove your claim as well.
3. The Severity of Your Injuries
Fatal and nonfatal crash injuries will cost the world economy approximately $1.8 trillion from 2015 to 2030. The severity of your injuries can influence your car accident settlement as well.
Make sure to seek medical attention immediately after the accident. Only a medical professional can assess your injuries. Their assessment can prove you were injured as a result of the crash.
If you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance company could argue you obtained your injuries another way.
Don’t allow for a gap in treatment, either. Instead, make sure to follow up with your doctors. Keep track of your treatments, medical bills, and medications.
Your car accident attorney will use this evidence to determine your economic expenses.
4. Your Ability to Work
Are you missing work as a result of the car accident? Track how much work you’re missing, as well as missed time due to your doctor’s appointments.
If you have the potential for a permanent disability, it could increase your claim.
If you’re able to return to work, but at a different position, it could impact your earning capacity.
What if you can’t work at all? These factors will all impact your settlement.
Your personal injury lawyer will speak with your doctors to determine your present and future ability to work. They’ll calculate your lost wages and future lost wages to determine your losses.
Try to gather documentation regarding missed business opportunities and missed work appointments.
5. Your Age and Health
Your age and health before the crash could impact your car accident case, too. People who are in the middle of their careers usually make more money. The loss of income and future earning capacity could indicate a bigger economic loss.
If you have a number of pre-existing conditions, the insurance company might stall. They might try to argue that the damages weren’t caused by the car crash.
You’ll need a testimonial from a medical expert to prove the pain you’re experiencing was a result of the crash, not a pre-existing condition.
6. Property Damage
The liable party’s property damage policy will pay toward the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle. Your own insurance coverage could help recover these costs as well.
A professional mechanic can assess the damages and give you a quote for repairs. Your lawyer can use their quote when calculating your losses.
7. Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Keep track of any other expenses that are related to your car accident cases, including the cost of:
- Renting a car while you wait for repairs
- Any modifications to your home (wider doors, wheelchair ramps, stairlifts) if you’re confined to a wheelchair as a result of your injuries
- Transportation to and from your medical appointments
- Hiring someone to complete household chores if you’re no longer able to
Keep track of your bills and expenses.
Your personal injury lawyer will consider non-economic expenses, too. For example, they’ll consider what impact your injury has on your daily life.
You might find you’re no longer able to participate in hobbies you enjoyed previously, like sports. You could even argue the loss of consortium if your injuries impact physical intimacy. Maybe your injuries caused disfigurement, making you uncomfortable working with the public.
Your pain and suffering could impact the outcome of your car accident lawsuit.
9. Your Patience
If you plan on pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it’s important to remain patient. Insurance companies will try to rush through the process. They’ll likely offer a lowball payout.
Don’t take the first offer you receive.
Instead, work with your car accident lawyer. As your legal team, we can help increase your settlement. Your patience could pay off.
10. Your Lawyer
The lawyer you choose for your car accident lawsuit can impact your settlement as well.
Don’t try to reach a settlement without an attorney present. Otherwise, you could make a costly mistake.
Don’t speak with the insurance company on your own, either. The insurance company is interested in paying you as little as possible. They’ll try to use anything you say against you to minimize your claim or prove you were liable as well.
Once you agree to a settlement, that’s it. You’re no longer eligible to receive more after you agree to the terms.
Instead, consult an attorney to make sure you maximize your car accident settlement. As your personal injury lawyer, we can help by:
- Negotiating with the insurance company to ensure your best interests are kept in mind
- Completing a thorough investigation to determine potential sources of liability
- Compiling the evidence necessary to prove your claim
- Timely filing any required documents with the court
- Answering your legal questions
- Providing knowledgeable guidance regarding your case to help you make informed decisions
- Helping you recognize the pros and cons of each settlement offer
- Explaining all documents involved in the process
- Ensuring you obtain a fair settlement
- Helping you collect your settlement
Working with an experienced legal team can help you make the most of your car accident case.
Make Your Case: 10 Factors That Can Impact Your Car Accident Settlement
Don’t try to build your car accident lawsuit alone. Instead, work with an experienced car accident attorney. We’ll consider these 10 factors when building your car accident settlement.
With help from our legal team, you can maximize your claim.
Want to discuss the specifics of your case with a member of our team? We’re here to help.
Contact us today to get started.