Car accidents are more than just a regrettable inconvenience. They can also be emotionally and physically draining too.
Not just that, they can be costly, particularly if injuries sustained in the accident result in unpaid bills, missed rent or mortgage payments, and time off from work.
All these factors combined can severely detriment a person’s well-being. However, it’s possible to take steps to financial recovery by making a personal injury claim.
So, in this article, we’re exploring what the ‘average personal injury settlement’ actually is. Let’s dive in!
Here are some sit up and think statistics for you. There are over 260 million registered vehicles in the US, with 218 million drivers holding a valid driver’s license.
In 2015, there were 6.3 million fatal, property, and injury damage crashes in the US.
Factors to Consider
Before going ahead and choosing a firm to represent you, it’s worth having a sense of what the average personal injury settlement is, and how it’s calculated.
The average claim settled depends upon several factors, including how severe the driver’s injury is, and any injuries incurred by their passengers, the costs of medical bills and the damage to your car.
Is There a Formula?
Short answer: no. That’s according to the legal news website Nolo. No two car accidents are, indeed, the same. However, several factors factor an insurance company will consider when assessing a personal injury claim.
It’s vital to get the details right, however. There’s more about personal injury claims than meets the eye. There are common errors that people make, including focusing just on the physical injuries sustained, not visiting a doctor, and so on.
Calculating an Average Personal Injury Settlement
Typically, an insurance adjuster will look at the financial loss incurred and multiply it by two or three or even more.
Physical pain and psychological damage are also taken into account, but there’s no way of knowing what each individual company takes into account and how much weight they give it.
However, it stands to reason that the higher the physical and psychological pain and suffering incurred, the higher the average personal injury settlement is.
Insurance companies will also look at your medical history (prior and current), your age, when you seek medical help, and what the circumstances of the accident were.
It’s also worth noting that the trauma of a car accident can be life-changing, and that alone can result in a claim being worth more than an insurance company’s estimate.
Typically, when adjusters look at the claim, they will take into account the following factors: punitive damages, economic damages, and non-economic damage.
Here are damages that are basically a punishment for what the other driver did, to try to prevent similar actions in the future.
For example, if the driver who caused the accident was drunk, speeding, who ignored road signs or signals, or was distracted, for instance, by using their mobile phone.
It’s also worth considering that it may not be as simple as the other driver causing the accident.
For example, if the road conditions were hazardous as a result of poor maintenance, design, or construction, then it may be that federal or local government authority may be responsible.
Also, if it’s determined that the accident is a result of a car defect or malfunction that is the responsibility of the car manufacturer or parts manufacturer, they too may form part of a claim.
These represent any financial costs and losses you incurred as a result of the car accident.
This isn’t simply lost wages and medical bills, but also property damage, vocational rehabilitation, loss of earning capacity in the future, and any household services you need to use as a result of an accident.
When you’re calculating your medical expenses, it’s not just about what you have already paid out; it’s also what you’re going to payout.
For example, will you need future surgeries and treatments, or continued drug treatments? These all have to be added to the economic damages.
These are harder to calculate but have to be taken into account. We’re talking about car accident damage that isn’t necessarily visible.
For example, psychological trauma incurred during and after an accident, loss of life enjoyment, inability to have a physical relationship with a partner, and damage to your reputation.
All of the above factors are essential. However, insurance companies also take what we call “other variables” into account when assessing an average personal injury settlement amount.
Was your treatment excessive? By this, we mean that it is rare for an insurance company to attach the full value of medical expenses for physical therapy or chiropractic treatment if they believe that the length of treatment you need might be excessive.
An insurance company will pay attention to when you seek medical help. Was it straight after the accident, or did you begin to complain about symptoms some months after the crash?
Lastly, they’ll look at whether or not any injuries you are listing were new and caused by accident, or did the car accident aggravate an existing medical condition.
Find the Right Attorney
A reputable attorney will advise you about the average personal injury settlement you may receive and can negotiate on your behalf, taking the added strain out of claiming such a traumatic event.
It’s worth doing some research into who you appoint and look not only at their fees but at their track record, experience, and attention to detail.