If you were injured in a car accident, your main concern is likely obtaining compensation for your losses. But when it comes to how much to expect from a car accident settlement, the answer isn’t always cut and dry. Valuing potential car accident compensation is a complex process, often involving a variety of factors — which we will discuss below.
Who Was at Fault for the Crash?
Alabama uses a fault-based system after a car accident. This means that the person or company that caused the crash is financially responsible for any damages caused. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits will impact the value of your accident claim. If the driver carried a minimal policy — or your injuries are catastrophic — your accident lawyer may need to look for other sources of compensation. However, if your crash was caused by a commercial driver with millions of dollars in coverage, that’s a different story.
What if you were partly at fault? Alabama applies a strict rule of contributory negligence. Under that system, you may not be able to recover damages if you were at fault for the wreck. Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes use this rule to blame accident victims and avoid paying out.
How Negligent Was the Other Driver?
Sometimes, a car accident may have been caused by a simple mistake, such as when a vehicle aquaplanes during a torrential downpour and causes a fender bender. Other times, however, the crash may have been caused by gross negligence, such as going 20 mph over the speed limit or being under the influence of drugs.
The other driver’s level of recklessness may impact the value of your claim. Under certain circumstances, it may even open up the possibility of punitive damages, which are punish a driver for gross negligence and intentional conduct.
How Serious Are Your Injuries?
The severity of your injuries will also impact how much to expect from a car accident settlement. If you were relatively lucky and suffered minor scrapes and bruises, this typically result in a lower settlement amount. On the other hand, if you suffered a head injury, broken bones, or nerve damage, this will likely increase the value of your claim.
How Extensive Will Your Medical Treatment Be?
If your injuries are serious, you may require complicated procedures or even surgeries. Your treatment may also involve ongoing doctor visits, prescription medications, etc. You may also be facing a much longer recovery period, meaning that you may be facing missed time from work. All of this will factor into your settlement amount — the more medical treatment you will need, the higher your settlement amount will likely be.
How Strong Is Your Evidence?
After a crash, it’s easy to assume that you’ll get the compensation you deserve. However, insurance companies often employ various tactics to avoid paying out on claims. While you’re recovering from your injuries, the insurance adjuster may be looking for reasons to deny your claim or reduce its value.
Sometimes, there are real disputes about a claim. For example, the police report may improperly place some of the blame for the accident on you. Or, you may have significant pre-existing conditions that complicate your claim. However, other times, the insurance company is grasping at straws. They may even send you to an “independent medical examination” with a doctor that always sides with them.
You need a car accident lawyer who knows how to analyze crash reports, medical records, and other important evidence to bring the whole story to light — not just the parts that corroborate the insurer’s theory of the case.
Do You Have an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer?
Insurance companies almost always try to take advantage of unrepresented accident victims. They may try to convince you that hiring a lawyer is a bad investment and that you can save yourself the attorney’s fees. However, the adjuster is often simply trying to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. They are not looking out for your best interests.
An experienced attorney can help you fully calculate your settlement value as well as understand the strength of your case.
Learn More About How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement
If you’re unsure how much your case is worth, Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys can help. To learn more about how much to expect from a car accident settlement, contact us today. We offer free consultations and contingency fee structures, so you won’t pay us unless we recover a settlement or award for you.