There’s no such thing as a fair car accident settlement, but it should at least cover any medical and repair bills you incur as a result of the accident. This amount varies from person to person and from case to case.
However, some states only allow you a percentage of your losses based on the degree of your negligence. Comparisons vary from case to case, so it can be helpful to contact an attorney to assess your losses and calculate fair compensation for your car accident.
What Is a Fair Settlement For a Car Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average cost of a pure property damage (PDO) auto accident alone is $3,862. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to expected costs.
Compensation You Might Be Entitled To Recover
After a car accident, you might recover compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital stays
- Transportation costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial costs (in cases of wrongful death)
A car accident lawyer can better estimate what you deserve to receive based on your losses. If your case does not settle outside court, and a judge or jury decides the negligent party deserves punishment, they could award you punitive damages.
Factors That Affect Your Recovery Amount
Again, each case is different, but a few factors could influence each case, including negligence laws and the various statutes of limitations.
Each state adopts different negligence laws, but there are generally three different options:
- Contributory negligence: If you had any blame for the accident that caused your injuries, the law could bar you from seeking compensation from any other party who might be negligent.
- Pure comparative negligence: This concept means that you can recover compensation even if you were up to 99 percent at fault.
- Modified comparative negligence: If you were less at fault than the other driver, you could recover compensation.
Basically, the higher your error rate, the lower your approval. If you are 100% at fault in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the full amount of your damages.
Remember that you can challenge your negligence. For example, if the insurance adjuster claims that you were partly at fault because you ate in the time before the accident, which affected your ability to react, you can provide evidence to disprove his claim.
Statutes of Limitations
Each state also has its own statute of limitations, which is the time limit for filing a claim for damages. Generally, laws are made to accommodate the destruction of evidence over time and the fading memory of witnesses.
If you don’t submit your application by the deadline, you usually won’t be able to reach an agreement, let alone a fair deal. Certain circumstances can give you more time to file, so regardless of whether you’re on a deadline, you should consult a personal injury attorney.
To seek a settlement, you must be able to assign liability to the other driver. You generally have to prove the following aspects in a personal injury case to show the other party was at fault:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care: They had an obligation to act in a reasonable way to prevent harming others.
- The defendant breached the duty of care: They did something unreasonable or negligent, such as exceeding the speed limit or failing to yield the right of way.
- The breach caused the accident: Their unreasonable or negligent action directly caused the accident and your injuries.
- You suffered material losses: You must show that you suffered financial losses because of the accident.
If you can prove the above circumstances in your case, you have shown the other party’s negligence. While it may seem clear-cut, proving negligence can often become incredibly involved and require a lot of evidence, including police reports, photos and videos, and eyewitness statements. It might even require hiring a crash reconstruction specialist. A car accident lawyer can help you with the process.
Getting Legal Help
Filing a damages claim after a car accident can be difficult, especially if you have been injured or lost a loved one. An attorney can help you during this difficult time. You can gather all the evidence to assign negligence and build your case. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf or take your case to court against a decision in your favor.
The auto accident attorneys at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can offer help during this time. We can determine a fair settlement for your car accident. We work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t owe us anything up front or out of your own pocket. We only get paid when we give you a price. Call our office today at 800-691-7111 to speak with a team member.