Car accidents have three results, namely bodily injuries, wrongful death, and property damages. Often, injured crash victims suffer two out of the three, and they are entitled to settlements. There are several types of auto accident settlements available to victims.
However, while some get fair compensation, others get the maximum compensation. The third group of people gets less than what they deserve because they fail to negotiate well. It could also be that the insurance company coerced them to settle quickly.
This article analyzes the different factors that affect accident compensation. We will also cover how to maximize a car accident settlement in Texas. If you suffer an accident injury, waste no time beginning your claim for damages. You can contact our experienced car accident attorneys at Glenn Law for legal advice.
As common as motor vehicle collisions are, not everyone is aware that they are entitled to a settlement. Some incur medical bills that are beyond their insurance coverage and spend years paying off the debt. This shouldn't be the case if you are not the fault party to the accident.
Personal injury claims are known for three types of damages. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. The first two covers the following compensation:
Punitive damages are not part of the settlement negotiation. You can only get this compensation through an accident lawsuit. Insurance providers do not award punitive damages; only courts have the power to do so. They are awarded against the fault driver for gross misconduct or negligence to deter them from committing the act next time.
Most crash victims are not aware of this. They accept auto accident settlement from insurers without considering if their case is eligible for punitive damages. They shortchange themselves as insurance companies will not pay beyond the insurance limit of the fault party. This is why we advise crash victims to work with an experienced attorney.
According to the Center for Disease Control, about 38,000 die from motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. In 2018, traffic crash deaths resulted in $55 billion in medical and work loss costs. In Texas, traffic crash wrongful death and loss stood at $5.70 billion.
These numbers show that car accidents are costly. But what is the average car accident settlement amount for car crashes in Texas? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The money a person gets in an accident settlement depends on several factors. But generally, it ranges from thousands, tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands.
Below, we look at the factors that affect a settlement sum.
The severity of your injuries determines the outcome of the injury claim settlement. A person with a spinal cord injury will get more money than someone who suffered a minor injury like bruises. Similarly, people who suffer a permanent injury that results in permanent disability will also get more.
This refers to financial losses and non-financial losses. The more you spend on medical bills, the more compensation you'll get. The damage to your car also determines the settlement sum. For instance, the money an injury victim whose car got totaled will get is not the same as someone whose car only had a minor fender bender.
The policy limit of the responsible party's auto insurance coverage determines how much compensation you will receive. Suppose your damages amount to $30,000, and the fault driver's insurance limit is $20,000. You will only get $20,000 as compensation.
The only way to get the balance is by filing an auto accident lawsuit. But a court action is not a guarantee you'll get the outstanding amount. This is because most people cannot pay for damages out-of-pocket. Another way to get your money in this instance is if you have underinsured motorist coverage.
In Texas, the law mandates drivers to have the following coverage:
Always find out the insurance coverage of the fault party before starting the settlement negotiation. Work with a legal professional to ensure you get everything you're entitled to from the negligent driver.
When it comes to getting a fair settlement, the first thing to note is that claims adjusters are not your friend. No matter how friendly and kind they appear, their bottom line is to protect their client, the insurance company. As such, you must follow the steps listed below to give yourself a chance of getting fair compensation.
Insurance adjusters and members of the jury rely on the evidence. The quality of your proof determines the outcome of your accident injury claim or personal injury lawsuit. Thus, ensure you keep a detailed journal of your expenses. Get your medical provider to give you a comprehensive medical report and obtain a police report too.
If there were witnesses at the accident scene, present their statements, and get them to testify, if possible. Strong evidence gets you more money, and a weak one, not so much. If you don't know how to go about it, get a personal injury attorney to handle it.
If you had to undergo spinal fusion surgery or neck fusion surgery, you need expert testimony. The expert will testify as to the nature of your injury, cost, and impact on your life. If future damages will arise from your injury that would need more treatment, the expert will point this out. All this information would add to the value of your accident injury settlement.
It is prudent to get an independent claim valuation before commencing an auto accident claim. This way, you know the worth and value of your claim and won't get cheated by the insurance company. An accident injury attorney can advise you on this and get a claims adjuster to asses your losses.
Crash victims often focus on the now and forget about the future. In their bid to get a quick settlement, they fail to calculate future damages. The latter includes future wage loss and medical bills. If your injury requires physical therapy and medical equipment, ensure you have it in the amount, you're negotiating for. If you don't, you'll handle the cost yourself.
Insurance representatives want to pay very little money as compensation. So, they comb the evidence to find a way to do this. If the evidence yields nothing, they'll focus the light on your life. This is why posting about your accident on social media platforms is a bad idea. Adjusters can misrepresent and misinterpret your post in a bid to back you into a corner and offer you peanuts. Even if a news outlet reports your accident, avoid commenting until the end of the claims process.
In other words, when commencing negotiations for an accident injury settlement, lawyer up! You need to get an accident victim lawyer involved as soon as possible. It will make the insurance company take your claim seriously and make an excellent first impression. Also, the adjuster is less likely to try to bully a licensed attorney into submission.
Furthermore, even if the negotiation process drags out, the personal injury lawyer will commence a personal injury claim in court. They ensure your case doesn’t get statute-barred by doing the preceding, and you'll get compensated eventually.
As personal injury lawyers, we know that dealing with insurance companies is one of the most challenging aspects of a personal injury claim. After going through the stress of proofing the responsible party's liability, you might get a low settlement offer. If it's not the latter, the insurer may apply other bad faith tactics to get you to settle in time.
When either of the two happens, you need to know how to respond. If faced with a low settlement offer, do the following:
Injury victims use the words settlement and jury award interchangeably, but they are different. A settlement is what you or your personal injury lawyer arrive at with an insurance company. It is a lump-sum payment, and you can't demand more once you sign off on it.
Settlements come into play after filing an insurance claim or before a personal injury lawsuit goes to trial. Once trial commences, what you get at the end is a jury award (judgment sum). The jury award is adopted as the judgment of the court and is binding on both parties.
Getting a car accident settlement is easier, faster, and less exhausting when you work with an accident attorney. This is what Glenn Law is here for. The combined years of experience of our lawyers make us the best people to represent your case. We work on a contingency basis and will demand no upfront payment. Get in touch with Glenn Law Firm today for a free case review.