As experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers, we get this question a lot – “How much can you get from a car accident?” It is not an easy question to answer. Every car accident case is different, and many factors may affect how much you can recover after an accident. We discuss factors that affect car accident settlements and how an insurance company calculates certain damages below.
Average Settlement for a Car Accident
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average car accident settlement was $20,235 for bodily injury in 2020. This number includes economic damages, such as medical bills, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The average car accident settlement for property damage was $4,711.
However, these numbers do not reflect the potential value of your car accident claim. Your potential injury settlement amount depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. For example, the severity of your injuries, accident liability, and financial losses are just a few factors that affect the value.
Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers Fight for Our Clients
The personal injury lawyers of Steers & Associates have a record of success litigating on behalf of car accident victims. Some of these cases include:
- $360,000. Our client was the passenger in a car that was rear-ended and sustained serious injuries.
- $335,000. Our client was side-swiped by another motorist, resulting in serious injuries and necessitating spinal surgery.
- $255,000. Our client was the passenger in his car in a rollover accident.
These cases do not guarantee any outcome or specific result for your case. In order to get a more accurate estimate of your case worth, an experienced attorney needs to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
We recommend discussing your car accident with an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer from our firm. After evaluating the circumstances of your case, we can help you determine the potential value of your claim.
Factors That Affect the Worth of a Car Accident Settlement
After being in a car accident, you may wonder how much your personal injury claim is worth. While it is difficult to give a definitive answer, as every case is different, a few factors will affect the settlement amount.
A few factors to consider include, but are not limited to:
California is a comparative fault state, meaning two or more motorists may share liability for a car accident. If you contribute to causing the accident, you may share liability, reducing the amount of your car accident injury settlement.
For example, speeding, failing to use your turn signal, or allowing someone else to drive your car could cause you to share liability. You may still be able to recover damages, but your percentage of liability would reduce them.
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Financial Damages Incurred as a Result of the Crash
Common examples of financial damages from a car accident include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
Did you sustain physical injuries from the accident? If so, the severity of your injuries will affect the settlement worth.
Severe injuries generally result in greater medical bills, lost wages, and future treatment costs. For example, if you have suffered permanent damage or disfigurement, you can expect to receive a larger personal injury settlement than if you have suffered minor injuries.
Additionally, if your car was damaged, you may recover compensation for property damages done to the vehicle.
If You Experienced Further Pain and Suffering After the Accident
One type of damage that may be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit is pain and suffering damages. These damages compensate an injured person for the physical and emotional trauma they have experienced due to their injuries.
Pain and suffering can encompass many types of damages, including, but not limited to:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Psychological disorders
- Loss of quality of life
How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages, also known as general damages, encompass an accident victim’s physical and emotional suffering. These damages include physical pain, emotional and psychological distress, and trauma.
How did the car accident impact your quality of life? Have you been left with emotional trauma? Will you make a full recovery, or do you have temporary or permanent physical limitations or disabilities from the accident? Answering these questions can help you determine whether you may be able to recover pain and suffering damages.
Pain includes both temporary and long-lasting physical pain from your injuries. Physical injuries can be excruciating, with pain lasting from days to years. In severe cases, the pain can be chronic and permanent.
Examples of car accident injuries that may qualify for pain and suffering damages include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Dislocation injuries
Emotional and Psychological Disorders
Suffering encompasses the psychological anguish and emotional distress an individual experiences due to their injuries. For example, emotional suffering may include, but is not limited to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Physical Limitations and Disfigurement
After a car accident, it is not uncommon for victims to suffer from physical limitations. These can include anything from broken bones to whiplash. While some of these injuries may heal relatively quickly, others can lead to long-term physical limitations.
If you sustain an injury that limits your ability to move, coordinate actions, or perform daily living activities, you can pursue damages for physical impairment.
In some cases, victims may never fully recover from their injuries. If an accident causes permanent damage or changes to a person’s body, it is considered disfigurement.
What Is the Multiplier Method?
Insurance companies may use an equation called the multiplier method to estimate the value of pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. The multiplier method first takes the amount of your incurred medical damages, including medical bills, hospital bills, and treatment costs.
Then, the insurance company multiplies the value of medical damages by a certain factor between one and five to get an estimated value of a claimant’s pain and suffering damages. In order to get an estimated value of the claim, the insurance company will add together the medical damages, estimated pain and suffering damages, and the claimant’s lost wages and future lost income.
What Factors Affect the Multiplier?
Many factors can affect the multiplier, including, but not limited to:
- Injury severity
- Evidence of pain and suffering
- Extent of recovery
- Accident liability
- Available insurance coverage
The multiplier may be one or two in a minor car accident with minor injuries and a quick recovery. However, if the plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries like brain damage, the multiplier may be four, five, or even higher. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Potential Car Accident Settlement With an Experienced Lawyer
Serious car accidents generally result in complex cases. You need a dedicated attorney on your side to protect your best interests and fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries.
If you do not consult with an attorney, you may be at a disadvantage in your claim and may receive less than what you are entitled. It is common for the insurance company to lowball you and try to pay you less than what your claim is worth.
Do not take the money from the insurance company before consulting with a car accident attorney. Remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It hurts their bottom line to pay out car accident claims, so they will try to minimize their payout.
How Can a Los Angeles Auto Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A lawyer can help you maximize your car accident settlement. At Steers & Associates, we handle our clients’ car accident cases from the start, ensuring our clients are protected from the very beginning of a claim. We also work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no risk in pursuing a claim.
We may be able to help you in the following ways:
- Answer your legal questions
- Help you understand your best legal options
- Conduct an independent investigation of your accident
- Determine accident liability for your damages
- Collect strong evidence for your case
- Negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Litigate if we cannot reach a fair car accident injury settlement
Reach Out to Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Have you or a loved one suffered injuries after an accident in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas? We encourage you to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer from our team. Our attorneys have extensive experience and success handling cases involving car accidents, and we may be able to help you too.
We can answer your legal questions and help you to understand your best legal options in a free consultation. We can help you determine whether you have a viable car accident claim and what it may be worth.
Call us at (800) 824-5416 – Link to your phone number here or fill out our online contact form to request a consultation. We provide consultations by phone, video, and in the office. We have offices across Southern California, including Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Lancaster, and Long Beach.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.