Car accidents often involve a lot of money when all is said and done. Insurance companies must sometimes shell out quite a bit of money for repairs, and medical bills must be taken care of. Sometimes victims and at-fault parties alike may find themselves with large bills as a result of having insufficient car insurance in place. Even car and airbag manufacturers might find themselves on the hook for significant payments, depending on what happened.
Because of the high numbers often involved in these collisions, it’s good to know your rights and how to navigate the legal and financial process after the fact, especially if you’re the victim of the accident and are dealing with high medical bills. Sometimes that involves insurance claims only, but sometimes it also involves lawsuits.
How Much Can You Sue for a Car Accident?
There is no set limit when it comes to how much the suing party can ultimately receive from their lawsuit. The amount they receive depends entirely upon what their personal injury attorney (or another legal professional) can win for them to cover their specific injuries and losses.
Therefore, there may be cases that involve minor injuries that only result in the recovery of a few thousand dollars because that’s all that is needed to cover the costs. But more major accidents resulting in severe injuries can lead to much higher numbers, even millions of dollars, depending upon the severity. Medical bills can be pretty high, and so can the costs of lost wages of injury victims due to an accident.
A personal injury lawyer (or another attorney who is well-versed in car accident lawsuits) is critical for helping you determine how much is appropriate for any given car accident case.
Can You File Both a Lawsuit and a Car Accident Claim?
If there are elements of the collision that have been handled by straightforward insurance claims you have filed, you can also file a lawsuit against the other party if they were at fault to receive full compensation. This can be more or less necessary depending on the severity of your losses and the compensation you receive from your and their insurance companies for your personal injury claim or other claims.
Depending upon which state you live in, there may be time limits in place concerning how long you can wait to file your lawsuit, so it’s best not to wait too long if you know you’re going to file one in the end.
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an average car accident settlement amount, and any car accident lawsuit will require several pieces of specific information, all of which directly impact the car accident settlement amount and how it’s calculated.
One of the most important things to determine is the cost of medical care due to the accident. The permanence of the injuries can be a significant factor here, and the specific nature of the injuries can also be.
Car accidents can result in anything from minor whiplash pain to blindness, broken bones, or even loss of limbs. Future medical expenses that may be necessary later on because of current injuries also need to be added to the tally for car accident victims.
Another category of damages that needs to be considered is lost wages. Severely injured parties may be unable to work for a long time after the accident. As a result, they can lose wages and valuable opportunities to advance in their careers and find other jobs.
Property damage is also something your car accident attorney will consider when determining how to approach your case. Vehicle damage can get pricey, and other property damage may also have occurred to items you own that were either in your vehicle or around it.
Other factors may influence how much a car accident settlement is. One potential issue is the behavior of the at-fault party during the accident. If the at-fault party is found to have been negligent or even purposeful in what they did to cause the collision in the first place, punitive damages may be part of your settlement offer.
That’s why it’s essential to take notes and pictures (if at all possible) to document what exactly happened at the scene of the accident.
How Long Do Car Accident Settlements Take?
The amount of time your car accident settlement takes to complete depends upon the severity of the accident and the availability of the personnel needed to process the lawsuit. Accident victims in minor collisions who sue for a car accident may find compensation within just a few weeks, but others may need to wait for over a year to see their case resolved.
It’s a good idea to communicate with your lawyer and insurance company to get a good sense of what to expect regarding the timeline of your case. This can help you prepare practically for what needs to happen in the meantime, and it can help hold all parties accountable for getting things done in a reasonable amount of time.
What if You Were Also At Fault?
If the injured party was also at fault to some extent in the accident, it may become a bit trickier to recover compensation for the damages they experienced. However, it is still possible to do so. The amount you can still receive even when you’re partially at fault depends upon which state you live in, as different states handle it differently.
There are three different systems that different states use. The first is pure comparative negligence, which reduces your compensation by the percentage of responsibility you hold for the accident. California is one example of a state with this system for shared fault accidents.
The second system in use in some states is modified comparative negligence. In this system, the car accident injury settlement amount you can receive is reduced by your percentage of responsibility unless you are more than half responsible, in which case you cannot collect any compensation. Texas uses this system, as do other states.
The third system is contributory negligence, which states that if you share the fault at all (even one percent), you cannot collect any compensation from the other party or parties. This is very uncommon, but Virginia is one state that continues to use this system for shared-fault car accidents.
As for how these situations and percentages are assessed and determined, they are heard by jurors who make the decision. This is another reason why documenting the scene of the accident well is so important.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
Hiring an attorney to help you receive compensation for the full extent of your damages is essential because there are countless ins and outs of the laws and regulations at play in car accidents, and most people who aren’t professional lawyers may miss meaningful opportunities or parts of the process.
A good lawyer can help you file a successful and appropriate personal injury lawsuit to recover payment for bodily injury, pain and suffering, property damage, and other negative consequences of the accident.
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If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the last thing you need is to spend hours figuring out who to call and how much it will cost you. Contact 1800AskGary today to get the professional legal and medical counsel you need quickly and conveniently.