If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to receive in a settlement — especially if you incurred medical bills and vehicle damage. Even if your accident was relatively minor and straightforward, there are various factors that need to be considered before a settlement can be reached. Here’s what you need to know, and how a car accident lawyer can help recover the compensation you deserve.
Key Factors That Determine a Car Accident Settlement
The most important takeaway is that estimating an average settlement for a car accident is difficult. That’s because no two car accidents are identical, and therefore each claim is truly unique. This makes it important not to compare your case’s value against averages, since your outcome could be very different from others — even if you had the same type and severity of accident.
The best way to judge the value of your case is to consult with a car accident attorney near you, who will conduct an in-depth review for a personalized result. In the meantime, there are a few factors that go into determining the value of your case, including:
Types of Damages
One of the most reliable ways to understand what your case may be worth is by calculating the economic and non-economic damages. These are the two types of damage an insurance company takes into account when deciding on a settlement offer.
- Vehicle damage
- Medical bills in the past and foreseeable future
- Lost income from the inability to work
- Physical pain and psychological suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Diminished enjoyment of life
The amount you can receive depends on both the type of damages you suffered and the severity of each. Of course, minor accidents usually only include economic damages, which means you’d need to calculate your out-of-pocket expenses, such as hospital bills and car damages. A car accident attorney can help with this sometimes complicated process.
Severity of Your Injuries
A car accident settlement is primarily concerned with the severity of the collision. That means that a minor accident in which no one was seriously hurt won’t produce as large a settlement as a more severe accident would. These typically involve fender benders and minor crashes that don’t involve high speeds or a head-on collision.
Still, many victims walk away relatively unscathed from a minor accident and make the mistake of thinking they’re fine just because there are no immediately visible injuries. The problem is that some injuries take time to surface, and some may even worsen over time. The adrenaline and shock you experience after an accident can make it difficult to notice pain or symptoms right away. Even a low-speed collision can cause delayed injury such as a concussion, whiplash, pulled muscles, or even head injuries.
If your injuries take time to surface or worsen over time, this could greatly impact the direction of your case — and therefore your settlement. It’s important not to talk about your injuries with any insurance companies (nor the other party involved in the crash) until after you’ve seen a doctor. Otherwise, the insurance company could deny your claim on the grounds that your injuries occurred after your accident.
Settlement vs. Court Trial
Another part of the lawsuit process that affects your payout is whether your claim is resolved with an insurance settlement or a court trial. Going to trial can result in a higher payout, since it may include compensation for pain and suffering, court expenses, and punitive damages. However, court cases cost more money and take more time to resolve, which is why settlements are much more common in minor car accidents.
Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer Near You?
Here at The Lopez Law Group, we care about our clients and their cases. Regardless of the severity of your case, you deserve to clearly understand your rights and receive the fair compensation you are owed. Even if you decide not to pursue legal representation, we can help you evaluate your case at no charge.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll help you decide the next best steps in your case.