When we meet with new clients who have been injured in a car accident, one of the first things they ask us is how much their case is worth. Car accident victims are understandably concerned about how they will pay their expensive medical bills, especially if they have had to recover and take time off of work.
Determining the average car accident settlement can be challenging because these amounts are fact-specific and often unpredictable. As much as we would like to provide an absolute number, it is simply not possible. Settlement amounts depend on many different factors, including the severity and type of the injury.
Estimating How Much Your Settlement Could be Worth
Although it is impossible to predict how much you will receive in a settlement agreement, there is a way to estimate what your settlement may be worth. Your settlement agreement amount should take into account:
- Your past medical bills
- Non-medical expenses resulting from the injury
- Your future medical bills
- Your past lost wages
- Your future lost wages
- Your pain and suffering, including your diminished quality of life resulting from the injuries
Add up all of these expenses, and you will arrive at a rough estimate of what your settlement agreement should total. Keep in mind that the greatest harm victims suffer in many car accident cases is their pain and suffering. Devastating accidents like spinal cord injuries, broken hip bones, and severe burns can cause extreme pain and suffering for months, years, or even for an entire lifetime. If you have been severely injured, you need to work with an attorney who understands how important it is that you recover enough compensation for the pain and suffering you have had to endure.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Settlement Offers?
In some car and truck accident cases, the insurance company will try to use their computer algorithm to calculate a blueprint of your settlement formula. For example, the insurance adjuster may enter all medical record details into a formula and their computer. When he or she hits enter, the computer will spit out a settlement range that the adjuster can use for the insurance payout.
Computer-generated calculators for settlements produce payouts that are very different from what your personal injury lawyer will determine to be an amount that will give you the total amount of justice for your injuries. For example, if you have been severely injured, the settlement range calculated by a computer algorithm will be dismally low compared to the actual pain and suffering you have endured. In consideration of the expensive medical treatment you will require going forward.
Factors That Determine Your Settlement Amount
Unfortunately, fairness is not always possible in this world. Just because a car accident victim should receive a settlement offer of $1 million does not mean that it will always happen. It is important that you discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer who will give you a realistic expectation for the amount you should expect to collect. Many different factors come into play to influence how much compensation a car accident victim can collect through a settlement agreement.
The Number of At-Fault Drivers Involved
The number of people who are liable for the victim’s injuries will impact the settlement. In some car accidents, there is only one at-fault driver. And other accidents, multiple drivers made dangerous or negligent decisions that all contributed to the crash. In general, the more parties that share liability, the better the victim’s chances of recovering a full amount of damages.
The Financial Resources Available
Many victims file an insurance claim and hope to obtain a fair settlement from the insurance company. The settlement amount will be limited to the policy limits, so victims may not obtain total compensation by pursuing an insurance claim. They may decide to pursue action in court through a personal injury lawsuit. In court, the amount of assets that the at-fault driver has will affect the total amount of money the victim can recover. If the at-fault driver is insolvent and has no savings and very little income, the victim will not recover a large settlement amount.
Victims have a better chance of obtaining a company that carries millions of dollars in commercial insurance coverage. For example, suppose a commercial trucker who was an employee for a trucking company was drinking and driving and caused your injuries. In that case, you would be able to pursue compensation with the trucking company’s commercial insurance policy. You will have a better chance of obtaining all of the compensation you deserve from a company than an individual in many cases.
The Dispute Involving Liability and Damages
Car accident victims typically have a better chance of recovering all of the damages they deserve when everyone agrees who was at fault for the car accident. Additionally, if the parties agree on the amount of money the victim deserves, the process is more straightforward. Unfortunately, agreement on these issues rarely happens. Car insurance companies open double down and claim that the victim was partly at fault for the accident to deny the claim.
They may claim that the victim had pre-existing conditions and that his or her injuries were not caused by the car accident. When parties dispute liability, and there is not enough solid evidence to prove that the at-fault driver caused the accident, victims may need to settle for less than they should obtain to resolve their claims.
Contact a Portland Car Accident Lawyer Today
Has your loved one been injured in a Portland car accident? If so, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Hiring a skilled lawyer will increase your chances of obtaining a higher settlement amount. At DuBois Law Group, LLC, Our trial-ready lawyers have the experience needed to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company or defend it. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how we can advocate for you.