Do you always get a settlement from a car accident?
Getting in a car accident is never anything but a bad experience, and it can be a huge headache, in more ways than one! Luckily, only about 1-2% of car crashes in the US are fatal, so in all likelihood, you will walk away from a car crash with minor damages that can be covered by your or the driver at fault’s insurance, and hopefully no injuries.
If you were injured and it resulted in hospitalization, medical bills, or missed work, you are probably eligible to sue for damages. Assuming you are also not at fault, or at least mostly not at fault (this depends on your state’s contributory or comparative negligence laws), the other driver’s car insurance company will probably offer you a settlement to avoid a civil trial.
Reaching a Settlement Following a Car Accident
Settlements are great, because it saves everyone a huge amount of time. Trials can go on for months, and sometimes, personal injury cases can last for years.
One thing to remember is that even if you do receive a good settlement offer, you should consult an attorney before signing anything. The same goes for a settlement negotiation. It’s never a good idea to go it alone. Your lawyer will offer representation that is really unmatched by anyone that lacks the background and training, however good their intentions are.
How common are settlements? More than 95% of personal injury cases involving a car accident will yield a settlement before the case ever makes it in front of a jury.
Personal Injury Cases That Go to Trial
What of those remaining 4% to 5% of cases? This depends largely on whether questions remain as to who was at fault in the accident. It could also be that the insurance policy for the driver at fault simply doesn’t cover the amount of damage that you or your attorneys are demanding.
This can be a serious catch-22 for the driver at fault or their insurance company. Once a case goes to court before a judge or jury, it can be anyone’s guess what happens next and how much money is awarded to you. A lot of it, to be perfectly frank, depends on how good your lawyer is at their job.
Getting a Settlement After a Car Accident
It is possible that you won’t be offered a settlement by the at-fault party’s insurer. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits, not paying people’s bills. If they feel that you will lose in court, they might not offer you enough money or any money at all.
If you end up in court, the opposing counsel could make a strong argument that you contributed in some way to the accident. Depending on the severity of your state’s negligence laws, you might walk away with so little that after factoring in the legal costs and time spent on the lawsuit, it weighs in at a loss. However,this is unlikely.
In most cases, you are going to receive a settlement or be awarded damages that makes the time and money invested into your case worthwhile.
Degree of Suffering as a Multiplier
Much of what determines your court award or settlement amount will revolve around the degree of pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident. Attorneys and insurers may add up all your damages and then select a number between one and five. This number is called the degree of suffering.
This figure will be based upon the seriousness of your injuries. The greater your suffering, the higher the number will be. Once the number is determined, your total damages will be multiplied by that figure.
Remember, the number that is selected as the degree of suffering is not necessarily going to translate into the amount that you are ultimately rewarded. However, if you weren’t at fault in the accident and your case has made it to trial, with the right attorney, you stand a very strong chance of walking away from court with a big check in hand.
For information about how to get a stress-free settlement, you can click here to learn more. When you’re already dealing with your injuries, the last thing you need to cope with is more pressure. Your focus after a car accident should be on recovering from your injuries.