If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to know where to turn or what to do next. But being informed doesn’t just make the aftermath of a car accident easier, it can make all the difference in getting a fair car accident settlement.
An estimated 95% of all car accident cases settle rather than going to trial, so car accident settlements are definitely worth looking into. But how do you know whether you will get enough to cover your injuries, damages, and medical bills?
Because every accident case is different, it can be hard to give an average settlement amount, but there are 10 major factors that affect the outcome of your car accident settlement.
Knowing how each of these affect your individual case will help you know what to expect regarding the outcome.
1. Type & Severity of Injury
One of the first factors that determine your settlement amount are your injuries themselves.
A sprained wrist that heals completely in a few weeks will obviously merit a smaller car accident settlement than one that causes you to lose your entire right arm.
Also important is the severity of your injury. A broken leg is one thing; a broken leg that leads to surgery and several months of rehab is another.
2. Type of Treatment Needed
The reason that more serious injuries warrant more serious settlements comes down to the type of treatment required to treat them.
Invasive treatment methods, such as surgery, deserve a larger compensation than more conservative treatments (ice packs and aspirin, or a few trips to the chiropractor).
3. Length of Medical Treatment
Even a relatively affordable, conservative treatment method can become expensive and tiresome if it lasts for years.
The length of your medical treatments (and recovery period) should also be considered when calculating your car accident settlement.
4. Amount of Medical Bills
Good quality medical care following an auto accident injury can be extremely expensive.
Once you factor in doctor visits, prescriptions, medical equipment (such as braces, crutches, and wheelchairs), imaging, and procedures, the total amount can be staggering.
At the very least, your car accident settlement should be enough to cover all of your medical bills.
5. Future Medical Treatment
Not all car accident injuries heal completely or right away. Even after your car accident case has settled, you may have physical limitations and medical bills that last for the rest of your life.
Before you accept any settlement offer, make sure it’s enough to cover the past and future medical bills related to your accident.
6. Pain and Suffering
Pain management is difficult both physically and emotionally.
Finding the right dosage and limiting side effects is a near-constant balancing act as your body changes and medical advancements are made. Your lifestyle often takes a hit as you and your family adapt to your limitations.
And on top of all that, you’re now experiencing the stress of chronic pain.
Your pain and suffering aren’t easily quantifiable, but they deserve compensation, too.
7. Insurance Coverage Limits
You’d be surprised at the number of people I see who had no idea that car insurance alone wasn’t enough to pay for an accident injury.
Remember, it isn’t just your insurance company you have to consider, it’s the other party’s. You may have picked an “affordable” policy that doesn’t cover your losses or you may have been hit by an uninsured driver.
Before you accept a car accident settlement, make sure it’s enough to cover any out-of-pocket costs you have incurred.
8. Wage Loss
If your injuries caused you to miss work, you might have missed a few paychecks while you were recovering. Or perhaps you were able to work, but used up all of your PTO time (and then some) going to doctors’ appointments. You may even have had to take a different position (and a pay cut) to accommodate your injuries.
Car accident injuries don’t just affect your body, they affect your day-to-day lifestyle, and the settlement should honor that.
9. Mental Anguish
It’s completely normal to feel depression, anxiety, panic, mood swings, nightmares, and other forms of mental anguish following an auto accident. More severe symptoms can even make it difficult for you to fulfill your obligations at work, school, or around the home.
Whether your injuries or the accident itself are to blame, your emotional and mental health is just as important as your physical health following an accident.
10. Legal Representation
One of the most important factors in determining your car accident settlement amount is whether or not you acquired legal representation for your case.
A qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents has valuable knowledge and experience that s/he can bring to your case.
Remember, the other party will do everything they can to minimize their losses. Without an experienced attorney on your side, it’s all too easy for them to take advantage of you.
At Sunshine State Law Firm, we don’t represent large corporations; our focus is on giving a voice to victims who might otherwise be silenced. If you’ve recently been offered a car accident settlement, don’t accept without first talking to our personal injury lawyers.