News & opinion How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement

How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement

Car Accident Settlement
fte c

ccident, money is

t the fo

ef

ont of

ny victim’s mind.

ftell, even if thei

inju

ies

e

e mino

, they’

e de

ling

ith medic

l bills, c

ep

i

s,

nd

se

ious dis

uption to thei

pe

son

l

nd p

ofession

l life. If you’ve neve

hi

ed

l

ye

o

filed

n insunce cl

im befo

e, you m

y h

ve no ideh

t to expect o

ho

much money you

e entitled to. The insu

nce comp

ny might

e

ch out to you

ith

settlement offe

, but

he

e does th

t numbe

come f

om? They don’t just pull it out of thin

i

!

s the bills pile up

nd you

f

mily suffe

s, you’

e left to

onde

"Ho

much c

n I expect f

om

c

ccident settlement?” Should you

ccept the insunce comp

ny’s offe

?

h

t if it’s not enough? Ho

much to expect f

om

c

ccident settlement

ill depend on the unique ci

cumst

nces of you

csh. On this p

ge

e’ll give you e

listic ide

of ho

much compens

tion

n inju

ed victim c

n expect f

om

settlement. Once you kno

ho

c

ccident settlements e c

lcul

ted, you’ll kno

ho

to inc

e

se you

ch

nces of getting the

mount you t

uly dese

ve.

Fi

st, let’s be cle

bout the te

ms

nd leg

l lingo

e’

e using:

settlement is

n

g

eement to p

y someone

ho h

s suffe

ed inju

y o

hm in

c

ccident o

othe

pe

son

l inju

y m

tte

. It is c

lled

settlement bec

use it settles, o

closes, the c

se. In o

de

to

e

ch

settlement, the inju

ed pe

son needs to eithe

file

pe

son

l inju

y suit

g

inst the

t-f

ult d

ive

o

file

cl

im

ith the

t-f

ult d

ive

’s insunce comp

ny. This is kno

n

s

thi

d-p

ty cl

im;

cl

im

victim files

ith thei

o

n insunce comp

ny

ould be

fi

st-pty cl

im.

Fo

d

ive

to be found

t f

ult, they must h

ve been li

ble fo

c

using the

ccident. Theictions must h

ve been negligent in some

y. The

e e tons of negligent

ctions, but they

ll h

ve one element in common: they viol

ted

n

pp

op

i

te, s

fe level of d

iving.

T

ble of Contents

  • <
    h

    ef=”#c

    uses">C

    uses of

    n

    ccident ><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#dete

    mining-f

    ult”>Dete

    mining F

    ultz ><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#settlement”>

    h

    t’s Included in

    Settlement?<><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#f

    cto

    s”>

    h

    t F

    cto

    s Imp

    ct the

    mount of

    Settlement?<><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#expenses”>C

    lcul

    ting Expenses ><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#medic

    l-ce">Othe

    F

    cto

    s &

    mp; Medic

    l C

    e ><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#insu

    nce-comp

    ny">

    h

    t If the Insunce Comp

    ny

    efuses to Offe F

    i

    Settlement?<><

    li>

  • <
    h

    ef=”#get-help-tod

    y">Hi

    e

    C

    ccident L

    ye

    No

    ><

    li>

<

id="c

uses”> >Ho

It H

ppens: C

uses of

n

ccident

D

ive

s need to obey l

s, be

e of t

ffic p

tte

ns,

ct sensibly,

nd m

ke su

e th

t thei

c

s

e s

fe to d

ive. Sounds simple enough,

ight? F

ilu

e to do one o

mo

e of these things constitutes negligence,

nd this c

eless beh

vio

is

hy so m

ny of ou

neighbo

s

e se

iously inju

ed o

killed on ouo

ds eve

y d

y.

One of the simplest ex

mples of negligence occu

s du

ing one of the most common

ccidents. In d

ive

’s ed,

e’

e

ll c

utioned th

t d

ive

s need to le

ve enough sp

ce in f

ont of them to s

fely stop in c

se the vehicle in f

ont comes to

sudden h

lt. It doesn’t m

tte

hethe

the c stops sho

t bec

use

dog

uns in f

ont of it,

nothe

c

suddenly ch

nges l

nes, the c

tu

ns

co

nend sees

t

ffic j

m, o

even bec

use the d

ive

h

s

het

tt

ck. If the d

ive

h

s follo

ed tffic ls

nd left enough sp

ce, the c in b

ck should be

ble to stop in time! Ho

eve

,

s most of us kno

, it’s

ll too common fo

othe

d

ive

s to t

ilg

te

nd not le

ve enough sp

ce. This is

hy

e-end collisions e one of the most commonly occuing <

h

ef="https:

/c

inju

yvictims.com

se

vices

c

ccident-

tto

ney-houston

“>c

ccidents<>.

hile the l

st

tes th

t d

ive

s shouldn’t follo

too close, it’s nely

l

ys the f

ult of the d

ive

ho hit the b

ck of the othe

c

—even if the othe

d

ive

sl

mmed on thei

bkes fo

no good

e

son. The d

ive

in the b

ck didn’t

dhe

e to the l

nd is thus typic

lly found

t f

ult

nd held li

ble fony inju

ies stemming f

om the

ccident.

e-end collisions e just one of the potenti

l c

ses

e de

l

ith on

d

ily b

sis. Othe

types of moto

vehicle

ccidents include:

  • i

    -level="1">D

    unk d

    iving

    ccidents

  • i

    -level="1">Distcted d

    iving

    ccidents<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">Speeding

    ccidents

  • i

    -level="1">He

    d-on collisions

    nd T-bone collisions<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">Tcto

    -t

    ile

    t

    uck

    ccidents<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">

    ollove

    ccidents

  • i

    -level="1">M

    nuf

    ctu

    e

    defect

    ccidents

  • i

    -level="1">

    ccidents involving bicyclists, moto

    cyclists, o

    pedest

    i

    ns

<

id="dete

mining-f

ult"><>Dete

mining F

ult:

ho Is Li

ble?<

h2>
No m

tteh

t type of

uto

ccident you

e

e involved in, someone c

n be held

esponsible. The

e e sevel ys of dete

mining

ho is

t f

ult in

n

ccident, but he

e

e th

ee steps you c

n t

ke to begin the p

ocess

nd p

otect you

ights.

  • i

    -level="1">ong>C

    ll 911.<

    st

    ong> Even if you don’t think you’

    e hu

    t, it’s

    ise to c

    ll 911

    fte

    c

    ccident. L enfo

    cement

    ill

    ive on the scene to look

    t the vehicles

    nd t

    lk to eve

    yone involved. Office

    s

    ill issue

    police

    epo

    t including impo

    t

    nt det

    ils.

    police

    ccident

    epo

    t c

    n be used

    s st

    ong suppo

    ting evidence if you b

    ing

    c

    se, eithe

    pe

    son

    l inju

    y on insunce cl

    im.

  • i

    -level="1">ong>T

    ke photos.<

    st

    ong> If you’

    e

    ble, sn

    p photos

    t the scene of the

    ccident

    ight

    hen it h

    ppens. Get the othe

    c

    ’s license pl

    te numbe

    . T

    ke close-ups

    nd

    ide shots of the suounding e

    s

    nd

    ny deb

    is. Even sm

    ll det

    ils like ti

    e m

    ks in the

    o

    d o

    p

    int sc

    tches on

    c c

    n sho

    the p

    th of the vehicles, the point of imp

    ct,

    nd the speed

    t

    hich they

    e

    e t

    veling.

    ll of this c

    n help dete

    mine li

    bility.

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Cont

    ct

    c

    ccident

    tto

    ney.<

    st

    ong>

    c

    ccident

    tto

    ney c

    n help you collect

    nd p

    ese

    ve impo

    t

    nt evidence to p

    ove

    ho s

    t f

    ult fo

    you

    ccident. They c

    n

    lso enlist the help of

    ccident

    econst

    uction speci

    lists to figu

    e out ho

    you

    ccident h

    ppened.<

    li>

The mo

e pe

su

sive the c

se th

t the othe

d

ive

s

t f

ult, the bette

the ch

nce of

f

i

settlement.

settlement does not

equi

e

cou

t t

i

l. Even if you b

ing

pe

son

l inju

y c

se in civil cou

t, it is ve

y

e fo

c

ccident c

ses to go to t

i

l.

hy? Bec

use e

ly ph

ses of the c

se usu

lly p

ovide sufficient evidence of

ho is

t f

ult. The othe

side (the defend

nt)

nd the defend

nt’s

tto

ney genelly

e

lize the

e’s no point in

cou

t

gument, bec

use

judge

nd ju

y

e unlikely to side

ith the defense.

t th

t point, defend

nts

e usu

lly

illing to settle, me

ning you’

e close

to getting the compens

tion you

e

lly need!

<

id="settlement"><>

h

t’s Included in

Settlement?

hen you e inju

ed in

c

ccident

he

e the othe

pty is

t f

ult, you e entitled to

eceive compens

tion fo

d

m

ges th

t you’ve suffe

ed. The

e e th

ee m

in c

tego

ies of d

m

ges: economic d

m

ges, non-economic d

m

ges,

nd punitive d

m

ges.

Economic D

m

ges

Essenti

lly, economic d

m

ge

pplies to

ny

ccident-

el

ted expense o

loss th

t c

n be

pp

op

i

tely qu

ntified

nd p

oven

ith bills,

eceipts, o

othe

document

tion. This includes eme

gency

oom bills

s

ell

s losing d

ys off

o

k fo

medic

l t

e

tment oecupetion. Economic d

m

ges c

n include costs fo

:
  • -level=”1″> ong><

    h

    ef="https:

    /c

    inju

    yvictims.com

    p

    ying-medic

    l-c

    e-c

    ccident

    “>Cu

    ent medic

    l bills<>.<

    st

    ong> If you

    e

    e hu

    t in

    c eck, you likely needed

    n

    mbul

    nce

    ide, eme

    gency c

    e, su

    ge

    y, hospit

    liz

    tion, docto

    ’s

    ppointments, the

    py, medic

    tion,

    nd so on. If you

    o

    k

    ith

    c

    ccident lye

    f

    om the get-go, they c

    n connect you to the medic

    l ce you need

    t no upf

    ont cost.

    ith

    leg

    l document kno

    n

    s

    “lette

    of p

    otection,” you

    l

    ye

    gu

    ntees the medic

    l p

    ovide

    s

    ill get p

    id l

    te

    once

    settlement is

    e

    ched. Ho

    eve

    , if you’ve

    l

    e

    dy p

    id out of pocket fo

    medic

    l c

    e, you c

    n still get

    eimbu

    sed by including those bills in you

    c

    se.<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Futu

    e medic

    l bills. ong> If you need futu

    e su

    ge

    ies, the

    py, o

    in-home ce, you

    futu

    e medic

    l expenses c

    n be estim

    ted

    nd included in you

    cl

    im.<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>P

    ope

    ty d

    m

    ge to you

    vehicle o

    othe

    pe

    son

    l belongings.<

    st

    ong>

    emembe

    , you h

    ve the

    ight to choose you

    o

    n

    uto

    ep

    i

    shop. Do not

    llo

    n insu

    nce

    djuste

    o

    to

    t

    uck comp

    ny to pick one fo

    you. If you

    c

    s tot

    led in the

    ccident, you

    ill

    eceive compens

    tion

    mounting to its cu

    ent m

    ket v

    lue. If you lost othe

    pe

    son

    l items in the c

    sh, such

    s

    phone o

    digit

    l c

    me, you c

    n be

    eimbu

    sed fo

    theiepl

    cement.

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Lost

    ges. ong> If you’

    e b

    dly inju

    ed, you’

    e p

    ob

    bly not going to

    o

    k. P

    y stubs, time sheets,

    nd lette

    s f

    om you

    employe

    c

    n be used to ve

    ify you

    usu

    l ges

    nd ho

    m

    ny hou

    s o

    d

    ys of

    o

    k you h

    ve missed due to the

    ccident.<

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Futu

    e lost ges

    nd lost e

    ning potenti

    l. <

    st

    ong>If you h

    ve to modify you

    esponsibilities

    t

    o

    k o

    you c

    n no longeo

    k in the s

    me

    ole due to you

    inju

    ies, you c

    n collect compens

    tion fo

    lost ening potenti

    l. You

    c

    ccident l

    ye

    c

    n even b

    ing in expe

    t

    itnesses like economists to estim

    te you

    p

    ojected losses.

Non-Economic D

m

ges

hile the

bove d

m

ges h

ve

p

pe

t

il of p

oof

nd

s

m of numbe

s, you

p

in

nd suffe

ing doesn’t. It's difficult to put

p

ice t

g on the emotion

l dist

ess you

nd you

f

mily cope

ith

fte tum

tic c

ccident. Non-economic d

m

ges exist to cove

the emotion

l side of

n

ccident

nd inju

ies. Non-economic d

m

ges e only

v

il

ble if you c

n fi

st p

ove you

e

e hu

t.

e c

n tell you f

om expe

ience: sometimes these non-economic losses c

n be ovehelming

nd c

t

st

ophic. Non-economic d

m

ges often include the costs of:
  • -level=”1″> ong>P

    in

    nd suffe

    ing ong><

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Disfigu

    ement

    nd sc

    ing<

    st

    ong><

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Dis

    bility<

    st

    ong><

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Loss of conso

    tium (physic

    l

    ffection f

    om

    spouse o

    p

    tne

    )<

    st

    ong><

    li>

  • i

    -level="1">ong>Loss of enjoyment of life ong><

    li>

Punitive D

m

ges

Occ

sion

lly, but not

lys, punitive d

m

ges m

y

pply in ce

t

in c

ses of obscene c

elessness.

lso kno

n

s exemply d

m

ges, these d

m

ges e not me

nt to di

ectly compens

te victims. Inste

d, they e me

nt to punish the

eckless ongdoeho hit you. You e mo

e likely to

eceive punitive d

m

ges if the

t-f

ult pty s committing

c

ime

t the time of the

ccident.

<

id=”f

cto

s”> >

h

t F

cto

s Imp

ct the

mount of

Settlement?

No

th

t

e’ve p

ovided the b

ckg

ound info,

e c

n discuss ho

the

mount of the settlement is c

lcul

ted in

c

ccident.

Settlements in

c

ccident

e definitely not one size fits

ll. In otheo

ds,

ce

t

in inju

y doesn’t equ

l

ce

t

in

mount.  The

e

e m

ny vi

bles involved. Eve

y

ccident victim

ill h

ve

diffe

ent expe

ience. Even t

o people

ho suffe

the ex

ct s

me type of inju

y in

c

ccident

ill likely diffe

in the follo

ing

ys:

  • i

    -level="1">Length of time in the hospit

    l

  • i

    -level="1">Cognitive, physic

    l,

    nd beh

    vio

    l imp

    i

    ments

  • i

    -level="1">Time needed foecove

    y

  • i

    -level="1">Inte

    fe

    ence

    ith thei

    bility to

    o

    k

  • i

    -level="1">Types of

    eh

    bilit

    tive the

    py

    equi

    ed

  • i

    -level="1">Pe

    m

    nent dis

    bility o

    sc

    ing

  • i

    -level="1">Emotion

    l imp

    ct<

    li>

side f

om ho

you

body

esponds to

n inju

y, the

mount of

settlement depends on

numbe

of othe

f

cto

s. This includes the sum of the bills you’ve

eceived, you

s

ly, expe

t testimony on

hethe

you c

n

etu

n to

o

k, expe

t testimony on expected futu

e medic

l expenses,

nd the

mount of p

in

nd suffe

ing you’ve endu

ed

nd m

y, unfo

tun

tely, endu

e in the futu

e.

Othe

f

cto

s m

y include the effect of the inju

y on you

d

ily life, both nond in the futu

e. The tot

l settlement

mount

ill

lso inc

e

se if punitive d

m

ges

e

dded on;

s

e mentioned, this is sometimes the c

se if the othe

d

ive

s eg

egiously negligent o

if they committed

c

ime such

s d

unk d

iving.

Belo

e mo

e f

cto

s th

t imp

ct the

vege c

ccident settlement

mount:

Numbe

of

t-F

ult P

ties

If

nothe

d

ive

hits you on

n empty st

eet, you

ill p

ob

bly only be seeking compens

tion f

om thei

insu

nce comp

ny. Ho

eve

, if you

e

e hit by

comme

ci

l vehicle o

involved in

multi-c

pile-up, the

e m

y be multiple

venues fo

compens

tion. You

c

ccident lyeill tho

oughly investig

te eve

y possible option

nd find eve

y li

ble pty.

Policy Limits<

h3>
Note th

t

hen you

e filing

thi

d p

ty inju

y cl

im, you

e limited by the c

ps of the othe

d

ive

‘s insu

nce policy. Fo

ex

mple, in Tex

s the minimum c insunce

equi

ement is 30

60/25, o

:
  • -level=”1″>$30,000 fo

    inju

    ies pe

    pe

    son

  • i

    -level="1">$60,000 tot

    l pe

    ccident

  • i

    -level="1">$25,000 fo

    p

    ope

    ty d

    m

    ge

If you

d

m

ges exceed these policy limits, you m

y be out of luck. Fo

mo

e info

m

tion

bout you

st

te’s c insunce ls

nd policy limits, c

ll us not 800-898-4877. Ou

l

ye

s h

ve expe

ience

ith c

ccident c

ses

ll ove

the count

y!

Seve

ity of Inju

y<

h3>
Obviously,

b

oken leg

ill me

it mo

e compens

tion th

n

sp

ined

nkle. Some inju

ies, such

s <

h

ef="https:

/c

inju

yvictims.com

living-spin

l-co

d-inju

y-often-expensive

“>spin

l co

d > inju

ies

nd tum

tic b

in inju

ies, c

n

ffect one’s

bility to eve

move independently

g

in,

hich c

n

ffect both life

ctivities

nd the

bility to hold

job. These types of inju

ies e often c

lled c

t

st

ophic inju

ies, simply bec

use thei

imp

cts on

ll

spects of life e so g

e

t. Victims of c

t

st

ophic

ccidents m

y need medic

l ce fo

the

est of thei

lives.

You

settlement

mount

ill be highe

fo

mo

e seve

e o

debilit

ting inju

ies. Fo

se

ious b

in inju

ies

nd p

lysis, settlement

mounts c

n

e

ch hund

eds of thous

nds o

even millions of doll

s.

G

ps in T

e

tment<

h3>
It’s c

uci

l to sho

eco

d of p

ompt

nd consistent medic

l ce

fte

you

c

ccident inju

y. If you

it too long o

miss

ppointments, insu

nce

djuste

s

ill cl

im th

t you en't “

e

lly” hu

t!

Length of T

e

tment

Typic

lly,

c

se c

nnot be settled until the victim h

s completed t

e

tment. If you e seve

ely inju

ed, you m

y need multiple su

ge

ies, but be

e th

t even mino

inju

ies m

y

equi

e months of physic

l thepy. It is impo

t

nt to closely follo

you

docto

’s o

de

s. Neve

ush th

ough you

t

e

tment pl

n in hopes of getting you

settlement check f

ste

,

s this is

su

efi

e

y to s

bot

ge you

c

se!

St

tute of Limit

tions

C

ccident cl

ims h

ve de

dlines

nd time limits c

lled st

tutes of limit

tions. If you miss this

indo

of time, you

c

se m

y be dismissed enti

ely

nd you

ill not be

ble to collect

ny compens

tion. St

tutes of limit

tions fo

c

ccidents vy

ildly depending on

h

t st

te the

ccident h

ppened in. The st

tute of limit

tions could be

ny

he

e f

om one ye to six yes. In Tex

s, fo

ex

mple, the st

tute of limit

tions fo

c

ccident is t

o ye

s f

om the d

te of the

ccident.

ct no

; the soone

you do, the soone

you

c

ccident lye

c

n begin building you

c

se!

Leg

l Fees

Pe

son

l inju

y

tto

neys often

o

k on

contingency b

sis. This me

ns thei

p

yment is contingent upon you

success,

nd they do not get p

id until you get p

id.

t the end of you

c

se, they

ill deduct thei

tto

ney fees f

om you

tot

l settlement

mount. This

mount

ill be discussed

t the st

t of you

c

se

hen you e hi

ing you

tto

ney.

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You’ve sc

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nd

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sking “ok

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much

ill I

eceive in

c

ccident settlement?” Unfo

tun

tely the

e’s no sec

et fo

mul

o

m

gic

l c

lcul

to

fo

finding the

vege c

ccident settlement

mount. The outcome of e

ch c

se

ill be just

s unique

s e

ch victim. Ho

eve

,

c

ccident lye

’s expe

tise c

n help you estim

te the v

lue of you

c

se.

The fi

st step is to c

lcul

te you

economic d

m

ges. This is done by

dding togethell the bills fo

medic

l costs, expected medic

l costs,

nd p

ope

ty d

m

ge. Next,

e

dd you

existing

ges lost f

om

o

k

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s depend on ho

much you m

ke, ho

long you

e

e out of

o

k,

nd ho

much longe

you’

e expected to miss

o

k. The second step is to

evie

nd c

lcul

te these d

m

ges b

sed on

numbe

of f

cto

s typic

lly

pplied,

s discussed

bove.  These c

lcul

tions c

n be ext

emely complex,

nd v

y f

om county to county. He

e’s

tip: No m

tte

ho

b

d you

p

in is, insunce comp

nies

e going to do

npl

y it!

It’s e

sie

to unde

st

nd if

e look

t

n ex

mple. Let’s s

y th

t you f

ctu

ed you

left

m in

c

ccident c

used by

nothe

d

ive

. You

medic

l bills e $5,000 in tot

l.

hen

n insu

nce

djuste

looks

t the b

e

kdo

n of economic costs, they see

minim

l numbe

of events. In thei

vie

, the

e’s just

n

mbul

nce to the hospit

l, t

e

tment fo

you

m, p

esc

iption medicine fo

the p

in,

nd pe

h

ps one o

t

o d

ys lost f

om

o

k. Ho

eve

, the

ccident

s t

um

tic fo

you. You’

e dep

essed. You still c

n’t pl

y you

f

vo

ite inst

ument o

lift you

child

en.

e kno

this, but in the vie

of the insu

nce comp

nies, given the seve

ity of some othe

inju

ies in c

ccidents, the p

in

nd suffe

ing th

t you f

ced

s comp

tively minim

l. The insu

nce comp

ny

ill t

e

t you like just

nothe

c

se numbe

, offe

ing you the sm

llest possible

mount they c

n

nd hoping you’ll sign

y you

ights. This is

hy you need

c

ccident

tto

ney

ho

ill t

e

t you

ith the

espect

nd comp

ssion you dese

ve du

ing this difficult time.

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See

medic

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ofession

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s soon

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fte c

ccident.

docto

should check you out tho

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ve to be bleeding to be seve

ely hu

t; some d

nge

ous inju

ies such

s punctu

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concussions p

esent no notice

ble symptoms initi

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lize th

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in o

che they feel

fte c

ccident is

ctu

lly

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hile the p

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lth

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void being in the position of

n insunce comp

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p

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gnosis

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e

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lly the key component to

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good c

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c

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