Insurance providers consider a number of elements when determining the value of a car accident settlement, including the severity of injuries, liability, insurance coverage, state laws, and financial loss.
Severity of Injuries
The severity of injuries includes the physical and property damage sustained in a collision. Accidents that result in minor property damage or injuries are less likely to result in significant monetary awards.
For instance, a fender bender where the driver sustains a few bumps and bruises is less likely to obtain a sizable settlement. The settlement may include a modest amount for physical injuries and some compensation for damage to the vehicle.
On the other hand, someone who survives a fiery crash involving an armored vehicle or truck may be entitled to a much larger settlement.
Whenever a client sustains injuries in a car accident, a diligent attorney will work with them to assemble evidence of the extent of their wounds and their expected recovery time.
Each state has liability laws determining how fault for an accident affects potential settlements or court verdicts. There are three main types of liability laws, including contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence.
In a contributory negligence state, an accident victim cannot collect any damages for the collision if they are at fault for even 1% of the wreck. Contributory negligence is the strictest of liability laws, and certain states use it for personal injury cases, including car wrecks.
Under a pure comparative negligence liability system, individuals may collect damages up to the amount of how responsible they were for the wreck. For example, someone at fault for 80% of the collision may still collect 20% of the total losses they experienced, even though they are primarily liable for the accident.
Finally, some states have modified comparative negligence laws. Under modified comparative negligence rules, the driver can pursue financial compensation as long as they are not 50% or more responsible for the accident. The percentage of their fault reduces any award they receive.
Every state requires drivers to have liability auto insurance coverage compensating other drivers for expenses incurred in a wreck.
States usually implement a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage unless they choose to self-insure. Self-insured people must provide evidence that they have enough assets to cover other people’s financial losses in a collision.
Sometimes, people choose minimal liability insurance coverage. If other drivers involved in a collision with them decide to file a legal claim, their insurance will cover damages up to the limits of their coverage. However, if financial damages exceed the coverage allowance, injured victims can file a lawsuit against the driver.
If an individual in a wreck files a personal claim against the driver, damages may be limited. People often don’t have the financial resources to pay large damage settlements to victims. In such cases, the accident victim must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a personal injury claim against an individual.
Some states require residents to pay for their medical expenses and property damage through their insurance policies, even if another other driver was at fault. In these states, every driver must have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which covers their own medical costs. States with these requirements are known as no-fault states.
If a victim’s medical expenses and property damage exceed the amount of their liability coverage, they may file a claim against the other driver’s insurance coverage. However, they must exhaust their PIP coverage first.
Other states are considered fault states. A fault state requires the driver most responsible for the crash to compensate other victims through their insurance policy. Accidents in fault states may result in more compensation, including pain and suffering awards, for victims of collisions.
Finally, financial losses play a crucial role in the settlement amount from a vehicle collision. Car accidents that result in severe injuries and significant property damage are more likely to obtain higher settlements.