Nine Factors That Determine How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement
Bill Allen | December 7, 2020 | Car Accidents
Are you trying to settle a car accident claim in Florida? If so, there are some things that you need to know about car accident settlements.
Many factors can impact how much compensation you might receive for your car accident settlement. Some factors can increase the value of your claim. Other factors could potentially decrease the value of your claim.
Knowing about these factors can help you recover the maximum value for your car accident claim.
Nine Factors That Impact the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
1. The Severity and Type of Your Injury
As the severity of your injury increases, the value of your settlement amount may also increase. The severity and type of your injuries can directly impact how much money your claim is worth.
Suppose you suffered a catastrophic injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, amputation, or spinal cord injury. In that case, you might receive more compensation than someone who sustained a minor broken bone or whiplash that heals in a few weeks without extensive medical treatment.
However, even minor injuries can cause long-term pain and impairments. You do not want to settle your car accident claim until your doctor releases you and provides a statement regarding any permanent impairments.
2. Whether You Sustained a Serious Injury
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. Regardless of who caused the accident, each driver files an injury claim with their insurance provider.
You are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in no-fault insurance (PIP). PIP insurance pays up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages after a car accident. It does not compensate you for other damages.
However, if you sustained a serious injury, you could sue the other driver for damages. Instead of being limited to your PIP insurance, you can seek compensation for other damages. Damages in a car accident claim could include:
- All medical expenses
- All loss of income and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- A decrease in earning capacity
- Other out-of-pocket expenses and losses
Documenting your injuries and other damages after a car accident is essential. You must have proof of your damages to recover compensation.
3. The Availability of Liability Car Insurance
Florida does not require drivers to purchase liability insurance for bodily injury. Therefore, if a driver causes an accident and has no liability insurance, you might not recover any money even if you sustain serious injuries. You could sue the driver, but you might not receive any money if the driver does not have the income or assets to pay the judgment.
Even though the state does not require drivers to carry liability car insurance, it is strongly recommended. If you are involved in a car accident with another driver, liability insurance can help protect your income and assets if you were to blame for the crash.
4. Whether You Contributed to the Cause of the Accident
If your actions contributed to the cause of the car wreck, you might receive less than your car accident claim is worth. Florida’s comparative fault laws allow the court to reduce a person’s compensation by the percentage of responsibility the person has for causing the car accident.
For example, if a jury decides you are 40 percent responsible for the cause of the crash because you were speeding, your compensation is reduced by 40 percent. Depending on your level of fault, you could receive much less than you expected for your car accident settlement.
One way to protect yourself from allegations of comparative fault is to avoid talking to the insurance claims adjuster without a lawyer. You need to let your car accident lawyer handle all communications with the insurance company. Anything you say to the claims adjuster or other insurance representative could be used in court against you.
5. The Number of Parties Involved in the Car Accident
Interstate accidents and accidents involving large trucks often involve multiple parties. The more parties involved in the case, the better chance you have of recovering maximum value for your claim. Any party that contributed to the cause of the accident can be liable for your damages.
Your lawyer carefully analyzes the car accident to identify each party and insurance provider that could have liability for your claim. Also, the type of parties involved can make a difference in how much money you might receive. If a large corporation is liable for your damages, the corporation is likely to have a large liability insurance policy or assets to pay the car accident settlement claim.
6. How Long Your Case Has Been Active
If your case has been active for a long time, the insurance company might not be willing to settle the claim for a large amount. It knows that your time to file a car accident lawsuit is limited by Florida’s statute of limitations.
Missing the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit means that the parties responsible for your damages do not have a legal liability to pay your claim. When you hire a car accident lawyer to handle your case, your lawyer monitors the deadlines to file claims for you.
7. The Amount of Your Financial Damages
The amount of your financial damages can impact the value of your car accident settlement. Pain and suffering damages are often calculated based on the amount of your financial damages.
A multiplier of 1.5 through five is assigned to your case based on the severity of your injuries and other factors. Your financial damages are multiplied by the multiplier to calculate your pain and suffering damages. Therefore, the higher your financial damages, the higher the pain and suffering damages.
8. The Insurance Company Involved in the Case
Some insurance companies are more willing to negotiate a fair settlement amount for car accident claims. However, some insurance companies are more difficult to deal with because of their policies regarding claims. They cross the line and use tactics that are unfair or illegal.
If an insurance company acts in bad faith, your lawyer might file a bad faith insurance lawsuit. The insurance company could be required to compensate you for damages caused by the bad faith practices, in addition to compensating you for your car accident claim.
9. Whether You Hired a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is generally in a person’s best interest to contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car crash. An attorney reviews the case, explains your legal rights, and discusses your options for recovering compensation for your damages.
A car accident lawyer also helps you avoid mistakes that could lower the value of your car accident settlement, such as providing a written or recorded statement to the insurance company or signing a medical records release. Your attorney handles all communication with the insurance company.
Hiring a car accident lawyer also means that you know how much your injury claim is worth. The insurance company is not going to tell you how much your claim is worth. It wants to pay as little as possible for your claim.
Before you agree to accept a car accident settlement, talk to a lawyer to make sure you are not being cheated out of money that you deserve.