How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
By Chris Dixon
The amount of compensation you receive for car accident claims is a difficult one to reach. Insurers and adjusters will use calculations and past cases, often undervaluing your claim. If victims aren’t careful or patient, they may miss out on a much larger reward.
Reimbursement for Car Accident Claims
This number varies based on where the accident happens, who was involved, how it happened, if there is a clear at-fault or partial at-fault driver, and what kind of insurance policy the negligent party and victim have. Below, we’ve provided a rundown of the general factors that usually determine how car accident claims are calculated.
- Aggravating Conditions: An aggravating condition would be if there was reckless driving, or if the negligent driver was under the influence of drugs or drunk. These drivers are aware of their duty and breach that duty by being negligent and causing the accident, which often helps when dealing with insurance payouts.
- Severity of Injuries: How serious the victim’s injuries are greatly impacts the amount of reimbursement. A soft tissue injury or whiplash is less severe or life-altering compared to a lost limb, brain damage, or spinal injuries. These cases are worth tens of thousands more than minor bruises or a broken arm.
- Recovery Time: Linked to the severity of your car accident injuries, the amount of time it takes to recover (if you recover at all) is a big factor. If you’re on crutches for a few weeks, claimable and reasonable compensation for that timeframe is expected (lost wages, medical bills, etc.). If you’re paralyzed, that impacts the rest of your life (earning potential, loss of enjoyment, and so on).
- Permanent or Temporary Damage: Injuries that result in scarring, amputation, continued medical support, or visible damage tend to increase the reimbursement cap. A child in a car crash with a permanent facial scar is worth more than an easily-concealed laceration.
- Invasive Surgery: If an incident leads to invasive or complicated surgery, medical costs will skyrocket and it will take months to recuperate. All of these factors are added into the amount you can claim for current and future expenses.
An insurance adjuster, judge, or a jury will look at the kind of treatment is required for a victim’s injuries, how long that therapy will last, if the victim has pre-existing conditions, if the aftereffects of an accident put limitations on a victims of life, wage loss, pain and suffering, and a host of other factors that affect your compensation.
Limits For Car Accident Claims
Each state has its laws that set coverage limits. The type of insurance you have (such as personal injury protection, or PIP, or auto accident insurance) and the requirements of the state can either help or limit your claim.
If there’s property damage, for example, it’s rare that you’ll get more than the policy limit. Car accidents are a bit different, given there’s usually a medical component. Loss of life, permanent damage, and even judge and jury sympathy and precedents vastly affect your car accident insurance claim.
You also need to remember that multiple parties may be sued. If the driver was in a company car, and sideswiped your car, you may be able to sue that driver’s employer. You may also be able to collect reimbursement from your own insurance company. State law may allow you to collect punitive damages from the at-fault or negligent driver; if the at-fault driver has assets, this may be one course of action to take.
3 Major Factors for Determining Your Car Accident Claim
Here are 3 things that impact how much you can get for damages:
- How a jury would react to your injury? If the injury looks serious or changed your life in a major way, a jury (if it gets to that point) will likely give a verdict worth more than an insurer would want to pay.
- How you go about recovery is important, too. You need to follow doctor’s orders, get treatment, and document everything to win an injury insurance claim.
- You need to get a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The quicker you have experienced legal representation, the more seriously the insurer will react to your claim.
Feel free to contact the Dixon Injury Firm today for more information about our services in St. Louis and Illinois. We offer 24/7 free legal consultations to car accident victims.