Nine Factors that Determine How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement
May 2, 2022 | Car Accidents
One of the most common questions a car accident lawyer hears is, “How much is my car accident settlement worth?” Each case is different, and many things factor into the total amount of your settlement.
1. Insurance Coverage
The policies you and the other driver hold influence how much you’ll receive. Pennsylvania requires all drivers to carry a minimum insurance policy that covers:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to the other vehicle
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or if you don’t carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, then recovering damages is more complicated.
2. Who Was Liable for the Accident?
Determining liability in a car accident is the most important factor in whether you receive a settlement and how much you receive. If the other party was entirely at fault, you should (ideally) receive the maximum amount for your claim.
However, the judge might find that you shared some responsibility for the accident, such as failing to use your turn signal. In this case, your compensation could be reduced under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault statutes.
3. How Much Are Your Medical Expenses?
Your medical bills include any treatment you received immediately after the accident and any ongoing medical care you need. For example, back and neck injuries are common car accident injuries, so your claim should cover any ongoing chiropractic or specialist care to help you heal.
4. Are You Able to Work?
You may have missed work due to the accident, and you may need to miss more work to recover from your injuries, undergo surgery, or receive other treatments.
Or you may have been hurt too badly to continue doing your usual job and be put on a reduced schedule or assigned to a lesser-paying position. Your settlement should include compensation for time missed at work, lost wages, and, if you’re permanently disabled, loss of future earnings.
5. Did You Have Property Damage?
Your settlement should cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Determining this amount is fairly straightforward, as the insurance adjuster will estimate the value of the damage to your car, truck, or motorcycle.
6. Miscellaneous Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Recovering from a car accident isn’t as simple as fixing your car and getting medical treatment. Other expenses can go along with the accident, such as:
- Cost of a car rental or other travel expenses until your vehicle is replaced
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Cost of home modifications needed to accommodate your injuries
- Cost of any needed prosthesis
- Cost of home care or home health care
To recover these costs, you’ll need to document the expenses and show that the expenses arose from the accident.
7. Diminished Quality of Life
PTSD or emotional trauma after a car accident is common. You may be able to claim damages for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. If your injuries make it impossible for you to participate in your favorite hobbies or pastimes, you can claim damages for that, too.
8. Will the Other Party’s Insurance Company Offer a Fair Settlement?
Insurance companies are notorious for offering as low of a settlement as possible. They may claim that you weren’t hurt as badly as you claim or try to dismiss non-economic damages.
If you have a strong case and don’t share liability for the accident, you should receive a fair settlement. However, if the circumstances of the accident are unclear, the insurance company may try to fight the settlement.
9. Are You Willing to Wait for Negotiations to Conclude?
The more patient you are during the process, the better chance your lawyer has to prepare a strong case on your behalf. You’ll also have more documentation of ongoing medical care or any other out-of-pocket expenses as time goes on.
Contact an Award-Winning Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer For Help
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in Wyomissing or elsewhere in the state of Pennsylvania, contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates. Our award-winning Wyomissing car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and fight to secure the financial award you may deserve. Please contact us at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610