According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are around six million auto accidents in the U.S. every year. If you have such an accident, it’s vital to understand how the insurance company will try to settle with you. First, they may offer money to get rid of the case. But that doesn’t mean they are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. Instead, they are trying to avoid paying more money in the future by settling quickly with you and your attorney. If they don’t offer an amount that is acceptable or fair, we suggest hiring an attorney who has experience in auto accident cases. After all, they will be better able to negotiate on your behalf. Here are the things you’re entitled to in an auto accident settlement:
You are entitled to compensation for physical injuries. Physical injuries are the most common type of claim. They include things like broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other serious injuries. Compensation for these types of claims uses the severity of your injury.
For example, let’s say that you broke your arm in an accident and spent two weeks in the hospital recovering. Then, if you return to work with a cast on your arm, you would receive more money than someone who didn't go through such an ordeal but still suffers from, maybe, soft tissue damage, bruising, and some discomfort.
Physical injury claims can also either go through court or arbitration (a less formal process). If these options aren't available because one party isn't willing to negotiate or agree with another party's settlement offer. Then, it will proceed down whichever path was chosen at first (i.e., negotiation or litigation).
The settlement amounts vary from state to state. Take Texas and California as examples. The Texas auto accident settlement amounts vary from that of California. In Texas, you can get between $30,000 and $60,000, depending on the type of accident. However, in California, you can expect around $21,000 to $100,000 for such accidents.
Thus, it’s vital to consult local attorneys who can navigate state laws. They will ensure that you get the appropriate amount during the settlement.
This is the cost of repairing your vehicle, and it’s usually pretty standard in auto accident settlements. If you are not at fault and your insurance company got hit by another driver, they will pay for any repairs to your car, no questions asked. However, if you are considered partially at fault, they may still have to pay some of these costs. This all depends on how much their insurance policy covers (but not always).
If you do the repair work yourself or hire a body shop without a prior relationship with that company, they will probably bill you directly for this service instead. This means that if there’s anything left over from the settlement after paying them back with interest on loaned funds used to cover repairs during the litigation process.
A report by the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that you currently need $10,728 to own and operate a car in the U.S.
However, costs are constantly going up. The last thing you’d want is to get into an accident and bear the costs out of your own pocket.
Pain and suffering are subjective claims. This means that there are no specific guidelines to determine how much an individual will get using the severity of their injuries. It is up to you and your lawyer to decide how much money you should receive for your pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify for many reasons:
If you were injured in an auto accident and can no longer work, you are entitled to be compensated for the loss of wages. Thus if your injury prevents you from performing your usual duties at work, you will have coverage. Or, if the injury requires you to take a leave of absence from your job, the person who is at fault will have to pay what they owe.
It also includes reimbursing any travel expenses incurred due to the injury. For example, traveling back and forth between home and work. In some cases, if an individual is permanently disabled following a car crash, they may be entitled to monetary compensation. This will be based on their lost earning capacity and pain and suffering awards.
The fifth type of claim or settlement you can get from a car accident case is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the other party for their bad behavior. Know that punitive damages are not awarded in every case, and the amount varies widely from state to state.
However, they tend to be much larger than compensatory damages, and they're usually only available in very serious injury cases that involve gross negligence or reckless behavior on the part of the defendant.
The NHTSA’s 2021 road fatalities report shows that around 42,915 people died in the U.S. from road accidents in 2021. Accidents can occur at any time and anywhere. Thus, you should always remember what you’re entitled to if you ever find yourself in such a situation.