There is no such thing as a “typical” car accident. As a result, it is important not to get too caught up on what the “typical” amount of compensation is in a car accident settlement.
No two car accidents are exactly alike. The cause of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the losses a victim suffers all differ from case to case. If you are offered a settlement for your accident claim, it is much more important to ensure that the settlement covers your losses than it is to know how much victims typically recover.
How Are Car Accident Settlement Amounts Calculated?
When you file a car accident claim, it is important to account for all of your damages. These may include losses such as:
- Medical bills, such as rehabilitation, therapy, and prescriptions
- Wages you have lost from being unable to work
- Loss of future earnings if your work status changes due to your injuries
- Other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages, including scarring and disability
There are variables particular to each car accident that affect the settlement you may recover. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you identify the recoverable damages in your case.
How Insurance Adjusters and Lawyers Calculate Settlements
Insurance adjusters calculate auto accident claims very differently than accident lawyers do. When they act in good faith, insurers will assess your economic damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and then apply formulas to determine a suitable offer for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) to reach the final sum.
A Greenville car accident lawyer will review the facts of your case, collect evidence, and consult expert witnesses to calculate the full extent of the damages you face now and will face in the future. Given these different approaches, it should come as no surprise that settlement offers from auto insurance companies are often significantly lower than what attorneys pursue on behalf of their clients.
Should I Settle My Car Accident Claim?
When you are out of work, in pain, and facing unexpected expenses, a quick offer from an insurance company may seem like a godsend. However, once you settle your claim, you cannot pursue more compensation in the future, no matter how many accident-related costs crop up.
For some people, a settlement offer may cover most of their losses from the car accident. In other cases, however—particularly if you suffered a catastrophic injury—a settlement will only cover part of what you have lost. Prematurely settling your claim can leave you footing the bill for many of the damages associated with your injuries from the crash.
Before making a final decision to accept a settlement offer, you can speak with an attorney skilled in negotiations. Your future depends on you getting a full and fair settlement.
How Do You Know When a Settlement Is Fair and When You Should Fight for More?
A good way to find out if accepting a car accident settlement is in your best interest is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Ideally, you should consult with a lawyer before speaking to an insurance adjuster, but it is crucial to seek legal guidance before you agree to settle.
Sometimes, it is worthwhile to accept a settlement from the insurance company. Your attorney can advise you if the offered amount constitutes fair compensation for your injuries and damages, as well as whether it makes sense to continue negotiating or file a lawsuit.
Most car accident claims are settled out of court. However, this is not always the case. The insurer may dispute fault for the accident or won’t budge from a low initial offer. In either instance, you could benefit from partnering with a car accident lawyer.
Is Your Car Accident Settlement Offer Fair?
Settlement amounts for car accidents vary. While a minor car accident with minimal injuries may settle for a few thousand dollars, accidents involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death usually involve greater losses.
Do not settle your case for less than it’s worth. The attorneys at Whitley Law Firm fully evaluate the damages you have sustained and pursue the compensation you are due.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?
If liability for the accident is not in dispute, a settlement can happen quickly, sometimes within weeks of a claim’s filing.
North Carolina requires insurance companies to respond within 30 days of receipt of your claim. Its response may be an agreement, or the adjuster may ask for more information or deny the claim. Generally, a settlement can manifest within a few months to a year once the back-and-forth is over.
If your lawyer cannot reach a settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover damages. In most cases, you have three years after the accident to file, per G.S. § 1-52. If you don’t file your lawsuit within that period, you will not be able to pursue compensation through the court system.
Our team understands that you want compensation as soon as possible. Yet, accepting the first offer may not be in your best interest. For that reason, we urge you to consider legal help.
Start Your Free Consultation With Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Whitley Law Firm, we are believers in fairness, and we strive to help our clients recover full damages. Our commitment to justice is evident in the verdicts and settlements we have achieved for victims and their families.
Please contact Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today to speak to a car accident attorney. It won’t cost anything to consult with us, and we charge nothing upfront for our services.