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How Much Money Do You Get from a Car Accident Settlement?

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How Much Money Do You Get from a Car Accident Settlement?

If you are injured in a car crash, several types of damages can be compensable. Understanding the types of damages can help you assess how much compensation you may receive in your own case. Additionally, the value assigned to the various types of damages depend on several factors.

The amount of money someone receives in settlement, pre-lawsuit or after a lawsuit is filed, is intended to make the injured party “whole” again. This principle is commonly referred to as compensatory damages. It is recognized that many injured people will never return to a pre-crash position, but monetary settlements are the only system we have to compensate injured parties.

Medical Expenses

The first kind of damages one may be entitled to is compensation for medical expenses. This includes those medical expenses one has incurred due to the crash and those medical expenses one is reasonably certain to incur in the future. These expenses include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Surgical costs
  • Out of pocket expenses (such as crutches, bandages, braces, etc.)
  • Prescriptions
  • Co-pays
  • Physical Therapy
  • Chiropractic Treatment
  • Gas Money for Doctor Appointments

Depending on where the crash happened, the amount of medical expenses claimed could be limited to the actual amount paid or the amount due for medical expenses, as opposed to the amount of medical expenses billed by a medical provider. For this reason, an attorney may decide that seeking compensation for paid or due medical may lower the value of a claim. An attorney decides this when that dollar amount does not reflect the true value of the losses suffered by a client in a car crash.

Therefore, it is important for the attorney and client to have an in-depth conversation about the amount of past and future medical treatment expenses that will be sought in compensation.

Lost Wages

Much like medical expenses, time lost from work can be claimed in compensation from a car crash. Loss of wages for work that is reasonably certain to be missed in the future will also be sought. Likewise, if a person suffering loss in a car crash is permanently disabled and unable to work or unable to work in the same career/position, a calculation of future lost wages and/or retraining my included in the compensation.

Pain and Suffering/Loss of Enjoyment of Activity of Daily Life

Often the biggest loss suffered by someone injured in a car crash are those things that are not tangible: Pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of daily life activity, both past and future.

These losses are harder to assign a number. Some questions that may help an attorney and client arrive at a number for compensation include:

  • Are the losses permanent or were they for a set of time?
  • Are the losses basic activities necessary to living such as bathing, cleaning, cooking and getting dressed or recreational?
  • How intrusive was this crash into someone’s life?
  • How many doctor appointments did the person attend and/or how much time did someone physically spend in doctors’ offices? What about driving back and forth to appointments?
  • How long did the pain last?
  • Is the client pain free now?
  • How long is the client likely to suffer pain and loss of range of motion?
  • Was someone paid to complete activities the client was once able to independently complete? i.e. cleaning, shopping, dog walking, etc.

Property Damage

Often, a person involved in a car crash due to other’s negligence will handle the property damage. This is usually done immediately through the at-fault’s driver’s insurance or through their own insurance company. In these situations, the lawyer does not get involved. This coverage is under a separate part of an insurance policy. A property damage claim usually does not affect a person’s right to seek the other types of compensation previously discussed. If a client is handling a property damage claim on their own, it is advisable to ask the attorney to pre-approve any property damage release from an insurance company that requires a signature.

Sometimes, property damage is not settled early in a matter. This happens when the value of a vehicle/repairs cannot be agreed upon or who is at fault for the crash is in dispute. In these situations, property damage may be added to the amount of compensation sought as part of your injury settlement.

Given all the factors above, it is the best interest of an injured person to seek the assistance of an attorney well-versed and experienced in the types of available damages and knows how value is assigned to losses. He or she will assist in maximizing the amount received in compensation for an injury suffered.

If you have suffered from a car crash and think you may be entitled to compensation, please contact our team today.

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