After A Car Crash, How Is The Amount Of A Plaintiff's Settlement Determined?

Posted on: 30 September 2015

Unlike cases that involve payments for expenses such as child support and alimony, judges do not use a specific formula to determine the amount of money a plaintiff should receive after being injured in an automobile accident. Some insurance companies have a chart with general settlement averages for similar types of accidents, but it's hard to determine a set figure for each unique car crash. Even if your insurance company does have a specific settlement amount in mind, the figure is still open for negotiation in mediation or the courtroom. A car crash attorney will consider the factors below and help you request an appropriate amount of financial compensation for your accident.

The Role You Played in the Crash

A judge will determine whether the automobile accident was your fault or the fault of another party if liability has not already been established. In some cases, multiple parties are held responsible for a car crash. If the judge decides multiple parties are equally liable, it may be difficult for you to collect a large financial settlement. This is because the judge may feel that you are partly responsible for the expenses caused by the crash.

If you didn't cause the crash, you do not have to accept blame for the event. A car accident attorney can help you prove the accident was not your fault and let the judge know that you deserve the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

Property Damage

If your automobile was totaled during the accident, you deserve reimbursement for mechanic fees or a rental car. However, you may have also had other property damaged during the crash, such as your home or business. If another driver crashed into you as you were exiting your driveway, and your car flew into the house, that driver may be liable for the cost of replacing your siding or broken windows.

You can also request compensation for valuable items that were lost or damaged during the wreck, such as a laptop in your trunk or a wedding ring on your finger. Talk to an auto accident attorney to learn more about claiming reimbursement for your personal possessions or property after a wreck. 

Immediate Injuries

As many as 50 million people are injured in automobile accidents each year. You may have noticed some injuries as soon as you emerged from the wreckage of the accident, like if you broke your leg or ended up with a deep gash across your face. If you had injuries that required immediate medical attention, save a copy of every medical bill, regardless of whether you have already paid it or not. You should also save copies of receipts for over-the-counter medications, bandages, and ointment that you used to treat your post-accident injuries, as these expenses may also be eligible for reimbursement when your settlement amount is determined.

Long-Term Medical Issues

Not all injuries show up immediately after an accident occurs, and some medical issues take a considerable amount of time to heal. Between 2.5 and 7 million people develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a vehicular accident, and symptoms of this condition do not always show up - or disappear - right away. Post-concussion syndrome is another condition that may not show up immediately after an accident, as a hospital may simply diagnose a patient with a concussion. Post-concussion syndrome develops when a concussion fails to heal quickly and can last for months or even years, so a one-time concussion diagnosis may not adequately affect the post-accident pain a patient is experiencing.

If you suspect you have long-term medical issues from the car crash, talk to an auto accident lawyer about your symptoms. Your lawyer will request information from your healthcare providers and help you show the judge that your chronic conditions were triggered by the car crash.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for developing a financial settlement after an automobile accident. Fight for a settlement that covers all of the injuries and property damage caused by the wreck by hiring an experienced car crash attorney to represent your case.

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