After a car accident, you must collect as much documentation as possible to file an in-depth claim. A successful claim will not only address the damages and injuries incurred from the collision but award you the necessary compensation for recovery.
Once you have your information submitted, it can take weeks, months, and in extreme cases, even years, to receive any word on your estimated award. Additionally, the extent of property damage and the severity of injuries, along with many other factors, play a pivotal role in determining the amount your insurer will provide you. Although there is no clear way to know just how much a car accident case is worth, having an experienced attorney by your side can help you in knowing just what to expect from your case.
Factors That Influence Your Settlement Amount
The amount rewarded in your car accident settlement will be determined by the details you share in your communications with your auto accident lawyer, insurance company, and other authoritative entities (such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the police). If there was any damage to public property (i.e., if your vehicle hit a streetlight, fence, etc.), involved parties incurred injuries, etc., your award may be increased or lowered, depending on your coverage and the determination of liability.
Your responsibility is to deliver all of these details to your insurer as soon as possible. To do so, you must:
- File a police report
- Acquire copies of all expenses: medical bills, repair estimates from mechanics, etc.
- Take photos and video of the vehicles involved in the collision
- Record all details of the incident, including the information of all individuals involved
Your claim information needs to be as objective as possible. None of your communications with the relevant entities should involve any sort of speculation of fault on your behalf. Even if you are unsure of your part in the collision, any indication or admission of fault will significantly impact the amount you’re eligible for. It’s best to leave most communication responsibilities to your attorney.
What to Expect from Your Settlement
One thing you can count on in the claims process is that, when you are awarded compensation at the end of your settlement, you can typically expect an amount that is approximately 3 times more than your medical expenses. Minor accidents (with little to no medical expenses) typically result in awards ranging from $5,000-15,000.
Still, this is not a solid metric, since the presiding judge will consider the severity and type of your injury, treatment plan, and any necessary therapy (psychiatric or physical) needed for your recovery in the final amount. That said, although there are methods to estimate your final award, there is no clear-cut formula to predict your award amount.
If you are the victim of a recent collision and are seeking guidance for how to receive your due compensation, you need the assistance of an experienced lawyer. With legal help, not only will you be able to achieve more accurate estimates of your expected settlement, but you will also be sure to receive the exact funds you need for a speedy recovery.