What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
By Chris Dixon
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be car accidents. The reality is that car accidents happen every day and are not always preventable. Ideally, every car accident claim would receive hefty compensation, but the truth is that not every car accident claim wins. The average car accident settlement claim in the U.S. is at or around the ballpark of $24,000. There are a number of moving factors and rules that play a part in determining if a car accident will receive compensation for damages. After a car accident, you will obviously be in search of answers, but it is impossible to give an accurate quote for a car accident case as each situation differs. Car accident laws are not the same from state-to-state, and are not always point-blank. To make sure that your car accident case receives the most in damages, it is important to find a personal injury attorney in Saint Louis that will fight for your case
How a Car Accident Settlement is Determined
There isn’t a cut-and-dry way that car accident settlements are determined. The amount that each case receives differs due to factors such as how the accident happened, who was involved, whether anyone was injured, if one driver is clearly at-fault, and more. Most Missouri insurance companies utilize a damage and compensation formula that allows them to determine where the settlement process should start. The formula varies from company to company, but each will begin by calculating the amount of medical expenses that incurred because of the accident. These expenses are called special medical damages, and include damages such as pain and suffering, emotional damages, and permanent disability.
After the amount of these damages is added up, this amount is multiplied to produce a settlement amount. The variable that the amount is multiplied by is determined by the severity of the person’s injuries. Minor injuries are typically multiplied by one-and-a-half to three times, while more serious and permanent injuries will be multiplied by a rate of up to 5 times or more. It is important to keep in mind that while the amount that the insurance company quotes is helpful, it is not a set number. If you are not satisfied with the settlement quote that they provide for your injuries, along with the help of a local personal injury lawyer, you can negotiate for more.
How Can a St. Louis Car Accident Help Me?
An experienced local injury lawyer will know the ins-and-outs of Missouri car accident laws, and will know how to get the most in damages for your case. Even if you think you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, there will be a lawyer in St. Louis that will want to help you with your car accident settlement. Hiring an attorney to help you with your car accident case is a smart decision because they will protect your rights, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and they will know when to take a settlement offer and when to push back against the insurance company. Most insurance companies will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible for your injuries, but a good lawyer will see through that and demand for more in damages and compensation for your injuries.
What Damages Can be Recovered?
Typically, the most common damages that are claimed in car accidents are medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages, and loss of consortium. A trusted, local St. Louis attorney will be able to analyze your case and see where the strengths and weaknesses of your claim lay. For a bit of context, the definitions of each of these types of damage are:
- Medical Expenses – Medical bills, ambulance fees, cost of medicine and any items that were bought to treat accident-related injuries. Medical expenses vary, and can be affected by different factors such as the severity of injuries, whether or not it is semi-permanent or permanent, and if they have been diagnosed by a medical professional. To recover medical expenses, it has to be proved that your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
- Pain and Suffering – Mental or physical distress that has been caused by the car accident. This can include pain and trauma that stem from the accident. Damages that can be recovered include any therapy or treatment required to treat symptoms. Pain and suffering is proven by showing that the distress is more than just fleeting, it is lasting and permanent, that it has been diagnosed by a medical professional and that there are physical injuries accompanying the distress.
- Lost Wages – Any work hours that are missed because of your injuries can be recovered. This type of damage is defined as lost wages. It can be proven by past bank statements, and by determining the amount of time that the injured person has gone without working.
- Loss of Consortium – Also known as loss of affection, loss of consortium can be claimed by the injured party’s spouse. Loss of affection includes any changes in intimacy and affection by the injured spouse towards their spouse because of their injuries.
What to Do After a Car Accident
The most important steps to take after a car accident are to immediately call 911, seek medical attention, call a lawyer and document the scene of the accident. Failure to document the scene of the accident can cost you thousands in compensation for your injuries. By documenting the scene of the accident, you are ensuring that the other party or their insurance company won’t be able to twist any details about the accident, and that you have proper evidence. Documentation of any damages done to vehicles, pictures of road marks and debris, and physical injuries sustained are key pieces of evidence to collect.
Though you might brush off your injuries as nothing worth worrying about, you must call 911 and seek prompt medical assistance. A police report needs to be made following the accident, and will help in depicting what happened during the accident. Getting checked out by a doctor is essential because injuries can be internal, and some external injuries can be easy to overlook. Seeking medical attention allows you to have concrete evidence of your injuries, which is helpful when proving causation of the accident. Medical reports are factual, permanent and powerful, so it is important to be properly examined after a car accident so that you can receive the highest settlement for your car accident case.
How Can My Car Accident Case Win?
While not everyone will win damages for their case, others are successful. It is impossible to say exactly how much someone will receive for their car accident case. However, proper documentation of the accident and injuries sustained, plus an experienced personal injury lawyer go a long way in winning a car accident settlement. Some cases can be as short as a couple weeks, while others can take months. With the right lawyer on your side though, some cases won’t even have to go to trial due to mediation. If you are ready to start fighting for your car accident settlement, feel free to contact the Dixon Injury Firm for more information about your case.