The monetary compensation that a car accident victim can recover from a collision will depend on the extent of the property damage and the severity of the injuries the victim suffers. The cost of related medical treatment and the type of medical treatment the accident victim receives are essential factors. Finally, the specific location/venue where the car collision happened is usually a factor—especially if you have to take your car accident case to trial.
Generally speaking, the more severe the property damage and your injuries, the higher the settlement compensation you might be eligible to recover following your accident.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can determine the potential settlement value of your case. Your lawyer can then work with the insurance company adjuster to try and negotiate a fair settlement of your claim. If the insurance company will not compensate you fairly, you can file a lawsuit in court and pursue monetary compensation through litigation.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident
Before even getting to the issue of damages in your car accident case, you will need to establish liability or fault on the part of another driver. In other words, you must demonstrate that the other driver behaved in a negligent, reckless, or unreasonable manner under the circumstances.
First of all, the other driver might have violated a road rule, which led to your automobile accident. For example, the other driver might have been aggressively speeding, tailgating your vehicle, weaving in and out of traffic, or engaging in other reckless driving maneuvers.
At other times, distracted driving leads to serious motor vehicle crashes. A driver behaves distractedly when they fail to give sufficient care and attention to the road and direct their attention elsewhere.
For example, a distracted driver might be programming a GPS device or using a cellular phone or tablet to send a text message while driving. When the driver turns their head away from the road, even if it is only for a second or two, this distraction can lead to a severe car crash.
Finally, at other times, drivers operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol, in particular, can severely impact a driver’s ability to use their vehicle carefully and safely.
For example, alcohol can slow down a driver’s reaction time or cause them to experience blurred vision. Moreover, when drivers are under the influence of alcohol, they often operate their vehicles carelessly and erratically—and at high rates of speed. These driving maneuvers can lead to serious car crashes that cause severe and permanent bodily injuries.
In some motor vehicle accident cases, such as where a driver runs a red light or stop sign, it is easy to determine the cause of the accident. At other times, however, your lawyer might need to retain an accident reconstructionist or investigator to piece together how the collision occurred. After establishing fault for a motor vehicle crash, the issue turns to damages.
The insurance company will never be on your side regarding settlement compensation. Instead, the insurance company will do whatever it can to poke holes in your car accident case and limit your payout to the greatest extent possible.
This is where you need a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can play up the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses and work to get you the highest possible settlement in your case.
The Extent of the Property Damage to Your Vehicle
When evaluating the settlement compensation that you recover for your injuries, the extent of the property damage to your vehicle is one important factor. Property damage includes damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the crash. Generally speaking, insurance company adjusters tend to award more significant damages when extensive property damage happens to the involved vehicles.
Regarding property damage, you must have good photographs that depict your vehicle’s damage. Color photographs are beneficial. In the mind of an insurance company adjuster, extensive property damage equates to extensive injuries, leading to higher settlement compensation in your car accident case.
Insurance companies also tend to value personal injury cases higher if one or more of the airbags in the accident victim’s vehicle deploy at the point of impact. If you have photographs that depict airbag deployment or damage to your vehicle’s interior immediately following the accident, you must supply those photographs to your lawyer also.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Another critical factor that determines the amount of settlement compensation that an accident victim can recover is the severity of their injuries. The injuries that accident victims suffer depend upon numerous factors, including the force of the collision and the type of collision that occurs.
For example, in a rear-end collision, the accident victim’s body might move forward and backward in a harsh way or from side to side. This rapid movement can lead to a neck or back whiplash injury. In addition, the force of the impact might cause the accident victim’s body to strike something in the vehicle, like the headrest, door frame, steering wheel, or window, leading to a severe injury.
Another factor determining the severity of an accident victim’s injuries is the type of collision. Some of the most common collisions from driver negligence include rear-end accidents, T-bone accidents, sideswipe accidents, and head-on collisions.
A rear-end accident happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle. In a broadside accident or T-bone collision, the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle, often causing the vehicle on the receiving end to spin around or turn over.
A head-on collision occurs when the fronts of two vehicles collide with one another, and a sideswipe collision happens when two vehicles moving in the same direction strike one another. Of all of these accidents, a head-on collision is the most likely to lead to a permanent or fatal injury—especially if the vehicles travel at high speeds.
Car accident victims commonly suffer injuries that include soft tissue contusions, broken bones, internal injuries, cuts and abrasions, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic head and brain injuries.
Generally speaking, the more severe an accident victim’s injuries, the higher the amount of settlement compensation the accident victim can recover. Another factor that goes to the severity of the injury is whether or not the accident victim sustained a permanent injury.
A permanent injury is likely to cause the accident victim to suffer symptoms and pain for the remainder of their life. To show that an injury is permanent, a healthcare provider will need to state in writing, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the injury directly resulted from the accident and will likely be permanent.
The Extent of Your Medical Treatment
Another factor that determines the amount of settlement compensation that an accident victim can recover is the extent of their medical treatment. Generally speaking, the more lengthy, involved, and expensive the medical treatment that an accident victim receives, the more compensable their case from a settlement perspective. Such treatment can cause inconvenience, pain, suffering, and more.
After a car crash, an accident victim may first need to follow up at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care center. They might also need to undergo various imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and brain scans, to determine the full extent of the injuries they suffered. They may also need to follow up with a primary care or family care doctor.
In addition to this initial medical treatment, an accident victim might need to undergo one or more medical procedures, like surgery. This is especially true if they suffer a fracture or broken bone. They may also need to attend physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions to get back to their pre-accident physical state.
This treatment can often go on for many weeks and, in some cases, months. In addition, due to their pain from the accident-related injuries, the accident victim may need to undergo pain management, including epidural injections and surgical procedures.
The extent of all of this medical treatment can increase the settlement compensation that an accident victim may recover as past or future pain and suffering damages.
As part of pain and suffering compensation, an accident victim can recover damages for their inconvenience, pain, suffering, mental distress, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of spousal companionship and support, depending upon the circumstances.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you determine which damages you might recover in your car accident case.
Whether You Need Medical Treatment in the Future
Another potential factor that goes to the compensation you can recover is the need for future medical treatment. In some instances, a healthcare provider may recommend a follow-up procedure, such as surgery. If this causes pain and suffering or you need to miss work and thus income, you can recover those costs through your claim.
Whether You had to Switch Jobs or Careers Because of Your Injuries
In some instances, accident victims suffer such extensive injuries that they can’t return to their pre-accident job or occupation. For example, if they were a builder or construction worker before the car accident, their injuries might prevent them from climbing ladders and working on dangerous equipment and machinery.
As a result, they may need to switch jobs or careers altogether. In addition, they may require training to get them back on their feet and start in another occupation. In cases like these, the accident victim can pursue lost wage compensation and a claim for earning capacity loss. This is especially true if the accident victim had no choice but to switch from a higher-paying job to a lower-paying job or a lighter-duty position.
The Venue Where Your Accident Happened
One final factor that can impact the amount of a car accident settlement is the location where the car accident happens. Some venues have jury pools that tend to be more plaintiff-friendly than others, and juries in these areas tend to award more significant monetary compensation to accident victims than in less favourable jurisdictions.
Insurance companies are often aware of this. If an accident happens in a plaintiff-friendly area, the adjuster might offer more settlement compensation right off the bat than if the accident occurred in a less favourable venue with a more conservative jury pool.
Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can estimate the compensation you can recover in your claim. If the insurance company does not offer you damages that fully and fairly compensate you for your injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit for you and litigate your case in court if necessary.
Never assume you know how much your claim is worth without getting a professional legal evaluation from a car accident lawyer.