After a car crash, one of the first things victims want to know is how much their car accident claim is worth. More specifically, they want to know how much money they can secure to help with their injuries. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as clear-cut as many hope. Payouts from car accident claims range from as low as a few thousand dollars to several million dollars.
The huge range of possible dollar amounts does not make sense to most people. We have prepared the following post to clarify some confusion surrounding car accident claims. We will go over everything you need to know about car accident claims and explain why estimating the worth of your claim following an accident is not always easy.
What Factors Affect a Car Accident Claim’s Value?
After a devastating car crash, no one can tell you exactly how much money you can obtain
Too many factors can affect the outcome, including:
- The severity and the extent of your trauma
- The medical treatments you need now and in the future
- The available insurance and policy limits
- Your ability to work following the accident
- The credibility of witnesses and evidence presented
- The number of people involved in the crash
- The extent of your pain and suffering following the accident
- Your need for domestic replacement services
Putting a monetary value on some of these losses is difficult. However, an experienced car accident lawyer knows the best formulas to estimate losses. Your lawyer can decide which factors apply to your situation and prepare a solid legal case on your behalf.
The Types of Damages You Can Pursue Following a Car Crash
After a motor vehicle collision, there are generally two main types of monetary damages you can pursue: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages provide compensation for the actual money lost because of an accident.
- Past and current medical bills related to emergency services such as ambulance rides, doctor appointments, hospital overnight stay medications, surgeries, and other medical treatments
- Future medical treatments
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Personal property damages, including replacement and repair costs
- Replacement domestic services, such as child care, grocery shopping, and cleaning services
- Rehabilitative therapy, such as physical and occupational therapy
- Additional expenses associated with the accident
These damages compensate victims for non-monetary losses that result from an accident, like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- The inconvenience of living with the injuries and their limitations
- Repetitional damage
- Limb loss
However, because non-economic damages include hard-to-quantify losses, it is worth working with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer following a car crash. A lawyer can determine which of these damages you can pursue and assist you as you seek the compensation you deserve.
Watch out for Tricky Insurance Company Tactics Following a Car Crash
Even though most people believe that insurance companies want to help them secure the money they need for their losses, that is not how insurance companies operate. Like other businesses, insurance companies try to make money. The less money they offer you after an accident, the more they make.
To this end, insurance companies and their adjusters will do everything to deny or devalue your claim. For example, adjusters may contact you shortly after your accident when you are most vulnerable and offer you a settlement. They do this because they hope in your condition, you will not think twice about whether the settlement is fair and will accept the offer, no questions asked.
Unfortunately, initial offers are often so meager that they barely cover a victim’s current expenses, let alone any future treatment costs. Worse yet, when victims accept a settlement and later discover it is not enough, they cannot file another claim with the insurance company.
Insurance companies may also try to get you to make a recorded statement after the accident. They hope they can get you to say something that hurts your case and use this to reduce the amount of money you receive from them. Consequently, before you talk with an insurance company, you should first speak with a car accident lawyer to get advice about what to say.
A lawyer can help you avoid deceitful insurance company tactics. They can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you do not mistakenly say anything to hurt your case. They can review any settlement offers you receive to ensure they are fair, and if you receive an unfair offer, they can go back to the insurance company and fight for more money.
The Statute of Limitations and Car Accident Claims
While the value of your car accident claim may be at the top of your mind, it is not the only issue you should consider. Although most motor vehicle accident claims settle outside the courtroom, sometimes negotiations fail, and the victim’s lawyer takes the case to trial.
Under a statute of limitations, you have a limited time to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense. For example, in Arizona, you only have two years from the accident date to pursue legal action after a car crash. If you do not file your suit within that time, you may not be able to file a lawsuit to secure the compensation you need.
You may have even less time to file a lawsuit in some circumstances. Therefore, you should not wait to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer to find out exactly how much time you have to file your legal case. A lawyer will keep track of settlement negotiations to ensure you do not run out of time to file a lawsuit if needed and ensure that all the documents, motions, and files are prepared correctly and submitted to the proper court before time runs out.
What Actions Can You Take After a Car Accident to Help Your Claim?
While you may be too severely injured to act after a car accident,
consider taking the following steps to protect your rights if you are able:
#1. Reach out to Authorities Right Away
After a car collision, call 911 right away to quickly alert the authorities to your accident and get the crash on record. After the police arrive and investigate the scene, they will record their findings in a police report, providing you and your legal team with valuable evidence regarding what happened and who was at fault.
#2. Take Pictures of the Scene
If you can safely do so, use your phone to take as many pictures of the accident as possible. Take photos and videos of your visible injuries, the other cars involved in the accident, their placement on the road, and the weather conditions. Also, photograph skid marks on the street, road defects, traffic signs and signals near the area, and any other evidence that will help your lawyer show what happened.
If you cannot collect evidence due to the severity of your injuries, do not worry. Once you hire a knowledgeable car accident lawyer, they can start an investigation on your behalf and use the evidence they collect to prepare a strong case.
#3. Get Personal Information From Those Involved
Try to exchange personal details with everyone in the accident, including names, contact details, insurance information, vehicle make and model, and driver’s license numbers. However, if people are not willing to talk to you, do not try to force them. Instead, let the police collect this information for you. Your lawyer can then obtain it from the police report once completed.
In addition, if anyone witnessed the accident, try to get their personal information as well. Witnesses can provide details and testify to validate your case.
Watch what you say as you speak to other people. It is essential to understand that your comments can hurt your case and affect the amount of money you receive. Do not apologize for the incident, take any of the blame, or make any definitive statements about the crash.
#4. Visit a Medical Professional and Share Your Findings With Your Lawyer
Following the accident, you should receive prompt medical care and obtain a medical report from the doctor. This report will detail the extent of your injuries and provide evidence linking your injuries to the harm you endured in the crash.
When you hire a lawyer, give them all these documents to help start the claims process to pursue the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Knowledgable Car Accident Lawyer Help You Get the Money You Need After a Collision?
To secure the money you need after a motor vehicle accident, you must present relevant evidence and solid legal arguments proving your case. However, this amount of paperwork is likely the last thing you want to take on after an accident.
Fortunately, when you work with a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer, you will not have to handle the complex ordeal alone.
Instead, when you hire a legal team, they can:
- Review the facts of your accident with you, figure out if you have a valid claim, and outline the legal options you can pursue
- Go over your questions and concerns regarding the legal process and the specifics of your claim
- Investigate your collision and obtain the evidence needed to prove fault and damages
- Hire experts to substantiate your case, including health care professionals, financial experts, and accident reconstructionists
- Handle the settlement negotiations with the other side and fight for the settlement offer you need
- Take your case to trial if the other side is unwilling to make a fair offer
If another person’s intentional, reckless, or wrongful actions injured you or a loved one in a car accident, do not try to take on the legal fight on your own. Instead, contact an experienced car accident lawyer for a free consultation. They can estimate your claim’s value and let you know your options.
Let a car accident lawyer fight for your rights and the financial recovery you deserve.