Clients are focused on how much money they can receive in financial compensation for their lawsuits. We almost never have an initial consultation where a client does not ask, “how much is my case worth?” When we answer that question (which we cannot really do on the spot at first), we will focus on the value of your case. While some people may focus on the average car accident settlement, there is nothing average about your case to us.
In any personal injury case, damages depend entirely on the individual plaintiff. No two people are similarly situated in a car accident claim. Therefore, any statistics about settlements are not particularly useful and may even be misleading.
Focus on Your Claim Instead of the Average
When someone gives you a statistic telling you what the average car accident payout is, you have little idea about the individual numbers that have gone into that calculation. Some of the payouts that were included in that number could have been to people who did not have an attorney and got far less than they deserved. The “average” number could also include minor and serious car crashes. Simply stated, an average number is an aggregation of many accidents, and the only thing that they have in common is that they have nothing to do with you.
Your personal injury damages are something that is unique to you. Two plaintiffs can suffer the same exact physical injury and receive completely different amounts. Your own financial recovery depends only on how your accident injuries have impacted you.
Economic Damages in Your Car Accident Case
There are two categories of damages in a car accident case. (We are not counting punitive damages that are extremely rare in a car accident lawsuit). You can be paid economic damages. These are the costs and expenses related to your accident. Economic damages include:
- Lost wages for the time that you missed from work or any money that you missed out on from your job because of your injury
- Medical costs (both past and future) related to your injury
- Property damage from the accident
Lost wages will be completely different depending on who the plaintiff is. A 25-year old who cannot work again because of their car accident would receive far more than a 60-year old who is nearing retirement. Similarly, younger plaintiffs who face lifelong costs of their injuries should expect more money. If you were driving a late-model BMW, you should receive more for your property damage than someone driving a 15-year old Ford.
Non-Economic Damages from Your Car Accident
The other class of damages is non-economic costs. Instead of paying you for actual costs, this pays you for the experience of the car accident. Between the accident itself and the aftermath, you are likely dealing with far more than just financial losses. Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional trauma
Non-economic damages are all about how your injury impacted you personally. Every physical injury will have some component of non-economic damages. For example, if you suffered a broken wrist in a car accident, the injury itself and any surgical procedure to repair it will be physically painful.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may experience more than just physical pain. Some accident victims will experience depression and anxiety after their accident, while others may not. Some people led a very busy and active life before their accident and can no longer enjoy the activities that they once did. It follows that an active outdoors person may lose more enjoyment of life than someone who rarely leaves their home.
Not only are you paid for past non-economic costs, but your settlement will cover future costs as well. Your injury could be far more severe and mean that you will suffer perhaps for the rest of your life. This is not always an easy cost to quantify in a car accident claim, but it is one that you must value correctly at the time that you file your claim.
Do Not Settle Your Claim for Far Less than it Is Worth
Therefore, while we can rattle off statistics about car accident payouts, they will not be of much relevance to you. They may give you an unrealistic view of what to expect. Instead, you should focus on getting as much as possible for your specific injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get top dollar for your claim by negotiating with the insurance company and advising you to reject an offer that is too low. If you are fixated on an average payout, you may accept a settlement that is too low but is above the average amount because you might think that it is a good deal for you. It is not.
What is more important to focus on is your claim itself. Your attorney will value each individual line element of your claim when you present it for consideration. They will be prepared to defend it when they are questioned, either by an insurance company or in court. If you do not get the right amount of compensation, you may have problems in the future because you could run out of money when you need it.
Contact a Greenville Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in an accident, the attorneys at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm will help you work for the best payout possible, considering your own situation. Call our office at 864-280-7660 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
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What happens if the insurance company will not pay me what I deserve?
You can file a lawsuit and have the jury decide your damages.
How do I prove pain and suffering?
You should have evidence of your own individual experience since the accident, including a daily log.
How long will it take to reach a settlement agreement?
It can take anywhere from a few months to years for an injury case to settle.