How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth?
If you’re injured in a car accident, you may wonder how much your car accident claim is worth. You want to receive fair and sufficient compensation for your injuries, property damage, lost income, and psychological consequences resulting from the crash, after all.
Determining the value of a car accident claim depends on the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, and the insurance policies involved. consult with a car accident lawyer to get sufficient compensation.
Are You Eligible to File a Claim?
The National Safety Council reports that around 5.4 million people suffer injuries in car accidents each year, resulting in an annual total cost of all motor vehicle injuries in the United States of nearly $5 billion.
This cost estimate includes earnings and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative bills, motor vehicle property damage costs, and costs of the employers.
Each of these accidents and injuries involves a unique set of circumstances in which some people quickly recover and resume their daily lives while others deal with a lifetime of medical bills and chronic pain.
The claims process is available for those who suffer physical injuries due to someone else’s carelessness. Before an attorney can accurately assess your car accident claim’s value, it is crucial to establish who was at fault for the accident.
The party responsible for the accident will also bear liability for compensating the victim for their damages in most cases. You may need to determine fault even in no-fault states that require registered drivers to purchase personal injury protection insurance coverage.
While establishing who was at fault can be challenging in some cases, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case to establish liability.
To show someone else’s liable for the injury, the attorney must have evidence showing:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to take reasonable actions to avoid causing harm when driving a vehicle on the public roadway.
- The driver breached their legal duty when they took unreasonable, illegal, reckless, or careless actions.
- The accident and the claimant’s injuries directly resulted from the driver’s breach of duty.
The Type of Compensation You Can Seek Through a Car Accident Claim
You can seek compensation for several damages through a car accident claim against the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance policy.
- Past and future medical expenses: In a car accident claim, compensation for medical expenses generally includes the cost of the treatment you already received for your injuries, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgery, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and any other past healthcare costs related to the accident. Injuries sustained in a car accident may require ongoing or future medical care. If your attorney can demonstrate that you will need continued medical treatment due to the accident, your claim can include those estimated future costs.
- Past and future lost income: If you cannot work due to your injuries from the car accident, you might get compensation for the income you lost during that period. This may include your base salary and any lost overtime, bonuses, or commissions. If you suffer permanent injuries in the accident that will prevent you from earning an income in the future, you can include an estimation of the earnings you will lose.
- Property damage: You can seek compensation for repairing or replacing the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident and related costs, including towing and storage fees and the replacement of personal property in the vehicle that suffered damage. As explained by insurer Progressive, most insurance companies pay the actual cash value for a vehicle that deems a total loss. This means they will consider the car’s age, mileage, and wear and tear when determining compensation for the vehicle.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, co-payments, the cost of transportation to medical appointments, and modifications needed on the home to accommodate the injury.
- Pain and suffering damages: Pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional distress from a car accident. These damages are non-economic, meaning they do not have a specific monetary value tied to them. An injured party receives them based on their subjective experiences.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
An attorney establishes the overall value of a personal injury claim by calculating the expenses incurred in the accident and the psychological consequences you experienced. Because pain and suffering are subjective, an attorney will consider several factors when determining the value of the resulting effects.
Those factors include:
- The severity of injuries: More severe injuries will likely result in higher pain and suffering damage.
- The duration of the pain: Claims in which the claimant suffered long-lasting or chronic pain receive high value.
- The influence of the injury on the sufferer’s daily life: If your injuries significantly affect your daily activities, hobbies, or relationships, this can also increase your claim’s value.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather the necessary documentation, such as bills, receipts, and treatment information, to help prove the financial and emotional cost of the accident and who was responsible for it.
The Types of Evidence Used in Car Accident Claims
The strength of evidence in a car accident claim can significantly affect the claim’s value. Strong, well-documented evidence can help establish liability, prove damages, and increase the likelihood of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Some commonly used types of evidence include:
- The police report: Documents from law enforcement officers detailing the circumstances of the accident, including descriptions of damages, injuries, and any citations issued.
- Medical records: Documentation of injuries, treatments, and prognosis from healthcare providers.
- Witness statements: Testimony from individuals who witnessed the accident, which can provide additional information and context.
- Photographs and video footage: Visual evidence of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and injuries can help corroborate your claim.
- Expert testimony: Opinions from professionals such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and economists who can provide insight into liability, the extent of damages, and future financial affect.
The Role an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Plays in Getting You the Compensation You Need
A personal injury attorney plays an essential role in the car accident claim process. They can help you navigate the complexities of the law, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for you throughout the process.
Some specific tasks your attorney may handle include:
- Evaluating your case and determining the appropriate course of action.
- Investigating the accident and gathering evidence to support your claim.
- Calculating damages accurately, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage.
- Protecting your claim’s value by ensuring that filed lawsuit is within the state’s statute of limitations.
- Representing your interests in court, if necessary.
An attorney also negotiates with insurance companies to seek a fair settlement. While insurance companies must evaluate and resolve claims, they frequently attempt to save money on the case by making low settlement offers. Because accepting a settlement bars you from seeking further compensation for the matter in the future, it is important to ensure that the amount is fair in light of the financial and psychological costs incurred.
Your car accident lawyer can keep your case on track by meeting deadlines, including the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations controls how long a claimant has to file a legal dispute in court.
The clock begins running on the day the accident occurs, and once the statute of limitations expires, the court will generally not hear the claim. If the statute of limitations expires, the insurance company is no longer legally obligated to resolve the matter. This deadline varies depending on the state where the accident occurred, with exceptions granted in certain cases due to the claimant’s age and other factors.
Your attorney can inform you of the statute of limitations in your claim.
Affording an Attorney to Help You With Your Claim
The circumstances, injuries, and damages of each car accident claim are unique. To obtain a more accurate estimate of your claim’s worth, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a qualified personal injury attorney. This can help you better understand your claim’s potential value and give you the support and advocacy necessary to pursue fair compensation and secure a favorable outcome in your case.
Many potential car accident claimants, however, decide not to speak with an attorney about their case, and one of the most common reasons is that they do not think they can afford to pay for the attorney’s services.
Car accident attorneys, however, use a contingent fee billing method to keep the legal team’s services affordable to anyone who needs their assistance. With the contingent fee, you do not have to pay an upfront retainer and will not receive a bill for every hour someone on the team works on your case.
You enter a contingent fee agreement when you hire an attorney instead. This agreement designates a percentage of the overall award for paying the law firm representing the case. After the case, the attorney receives the award on your behalf, accepts the agreed-upon percentage, and helps you to resolve any outstanding medical bills associated with your injury. You then get the remainder of the compensation.
Get Your Free Case Evaluation and Protect Your Rights
Many parts of the personal injury claims process are confusing to claimants, and it is common to have big questions about the case, including how much it is worth.
Even if you don’t know whether you can file a claim, you should have a free case evaluation with an attorney to better understand the process and receive answers to your legal questions. There is no obligation attached to a case evaluation and learn more about the services a personal injury attorney in Phoenix can provide you.