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How Much Can You Expect to Get in a Car Settlement Deal?

Car accidents cause concern for most victims, even those with slight injuries. In addition, medical bills, car repairs, and any disruptions to their professional and personal life must be considered.

Every accident has unique circumstances. Therefore the amount you deserve to get in a car settlement is not the same as someone else’s. If you are concerned about how much money you can expect to get in a car settlement deal and are wondering if you should accept the insurance company’s offer, read on to find out how settlements are calculated.

How settlements are reached

Settlements can only be reached when the injured person files a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or files a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In addition, you need to show the person was liable for causing the accident through negligence.

Settlements rarely require a court trial if sufficient evidence is presented of who is at fault.

Causes of the Car Accident

Failure to obey traffic laws, act sensibly or ensure their car is safe to drive constitutes negligence. Rear-end collisions are caused by drivers who don’t maintain the required safety distance rule and are among the most frequent types of collisions. This means that even if you slammed your brakes suddenly, the driver who crashed into you from behind wasn’t observing traffic laws.

Other examples of accident types include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Head-on and T-bone collisions
  • Tractor-trailer truck collisions
  • Rollovers
  • Bicycle and motorcycle
  • Pedestrian
  • Manufacturer defects

Determining Liability

In every one of the above accident types, someone is responsible, and it’s essential to determine this. The process requires three steps:

  1. Even if no one is hurt, call 911. They will come to the scene, speak to everyone involved and witnesses, and generate a police report with all the details and evidence.
  2. Photograph everything on the scene of the accident. Also, get the other car’s license plate number, the driver’s details, and insurance details.
  3. Get a car accident attorney. Their job is to help you preserve the evidence and prove who was at fault. An attorney will build a persuasive case, even providing specialists to figure out what happened.

Working out the settlement deal

As you work out your settlement amount, the three main categories you need to consider are economic damages, emotional damages, and punitive damages.

 Economic Damages

These damages are related to all the expenses resulting from the accident. All medical bills, current, and future, are considered when the claim is estimated. Therefore, you need to keep all receipts, bills, and medical documentation. The compensation you can seek will also depend on the severity of your injuries, reaching even higher amounts for disabilities, paralysis, and brain injuries.

The length of your recovery is also considered, and it’s important not to leave any gaps in any future treatments you might need.

Besides the vehicle damage amount, also include property damage to any of your personal belongings lost in the crash. If your car is totaled, the compensation you are entitled to get is its current market value.

Finally, if you can’t work because of your injuries, including any lost wages and your future earning potential, if you can’t continue working.

Emotional damages

Pain and suffering are more difficult to put a price tag on. However, the emotional distress after a traumatic accident needs to be factored into your car settlement deal. Emotional distress is linked to proving you were hurt in the collision. Besides the pain and suffering, you can include an amount for any disfigurements, disabilities, loss of physical affection from a partner, and the loss of enjoying life.

Punitive Damages

In cases of extreme carelessness, punitive damages can apply because they are a form of punishing someone for an accident caused by reckless behavior.

Other factors considered in the car settlement amount

In some states, there are minimum car insurance requirements. If your damages exceed the policy caps, you won’t receive more. Additionally, you may be involved in an accident that involved more than one party, and your car accident lawyer can explore several avenues for compensation.

Finally, consider the statute of limitations for car accident claims in your state because these vary between one and six years.

Calculating Your Settlement

Starting with a settlement amount that is too high will most likely cause the settlement offered by the other party’s insurance to be way beyond what your claim is worth. Your lawyer will help you settle on an amount, and a general rule is to aim for 75% to 100% higher than what you expect to receive. This shows the insurance adjuster that you know what your claim is worth and that you won’t settle for a paltry amount while allowing them to negotiate in an acceptable range.

Conclusion

Now that you know what to include in your demand amount for damages, pain, and suffering, remember that the more proof you have, the better your chances of getting the settlement you deserve.