Millions of Americans commute to work by car or truck every single day. Thus, accidents are an unfortunate inevitability.
And no matter how safe you are while driving on the road, someone else may not be.
Every year, 20 to 50 million people are injured while driving. Those crashes cost the world over $500 billion a year, and United States car accidents account for almost half that amount.
If you’ve been in an accident and it wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible for a hefty settlement. If this is the case, you might be wondering how much to expect from a car accident settlement.
The amount you could receive from a car accident settlement depends on a few different factors. Keep reading to learn more about car accident settlements and how much to expect.
Where Does Settlement Money Come From?
There are many factors that come in to play when an Atlanta Car Accident lawyer calculates a proposed settlement amount. For example, you don’t have to break your arm in an accident to deserve compensation.
“Pain and suffering” is one of the most significant reasons for a victim to deserve compensation in the event of a car accident.
Pain and suffering refer to emotional and/or physical stress that is associated with a car accident and the injuries that were caused by it.
If a driver broke a bone in a car accident and it wasn’t their fault, they’ll likely receive money for enduring the pain of the break itself. They’ll also receive compensation for things like:
- The treatment for the break
- The discomfort of the break
- The limitations imposed on the victim’s lifestyle
When it comes to the constraints on that driver’s lifestyle, there are many things to consider. For example, that driver may receive compensation for missed work, time and gas spent going to and from the doctor’s office, a temporary inability to drive, amongst other things.
It all depends on the many ways in which that accident and injury affect the individual. A seasoned lawyer will take everything into account and leave no stone unturned when it comes to analyzing the many ways in which an individual’s life has been affected.
Pain and Suffering Is Harder to Claim in the No-Fault States
Most United States follow the same fault-based liability system in the event of a car accident.
The way that system works is that the person who caused the accident is deemed negligent. Thus, they (or their insurance company) are held financially responsible for any damages that result from a crash.
There are 12 states that follow an insurance system that is “no-fault.” What that means is that you can’t make a personal injury claim or collect compensation for pain and suffering, unless your medical bills are over a certain amount.
That amount varies from state to state, and some states also require that the claim meets a “serious injury” threshold.
While Georgia had a “no-fault” law in effect in 1975, that law was repealed in 1991. Currently, Georgia follows a fault-based liability system, as most other states do.
How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement
How much you’ll get from a car accident settlement depends on the injury.
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. Making your claim can be tricky because whiplash is hard to document, and symptoms tend to be delayed.
It’s essential that you document your injuries and what you feel from the very first moment. It’s also vital that you see a doctor who can record and treat your injury.
Whiplash is considered a “minor injury” so the average settlement typically falls between $10,000 and $25,000. For very moderate cases, it might land between $2,500 and $10,000. If the injury requires extensive physical therapy, the damages will be on the higher end.
Long-lasting injuries are those that require extensive physical therapy or surgery. An example might be a broken bone or torn ligaments.
Long-lasting injuries might warrant a settlement ranging from $50,000 to $75,000, but again, this all depends on the accident.
Spinal injuries that DO NOT result in paralysis but do require surgery or therapy might result in compensation ranging from $75,000 to $100,000.
Brain injuries are dangerous and detrimental, and one of the worst things that can occur as a result of a car accident. 20% of all brain injuries are motor vehicle-related.
Depending on the severity, brain injury compensation might range anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000.
These are injuries that impair cognitive function and require surgery.
For brain injuries that are severe, spine injuries that result in paralysis, and other injuries that require daily assistance, compensation can run anywhere from a few hundred thousand to millions.
What Impacts a Settlement?
Things like the state you live in can significantly impact the settlement you receive.
Plus, some insurance companies and policies have settlement limits, so even though you may deserve $30,000 in compensation, you might only get $15,000.
If the insurance company doesn’t give you the settlement you deserve, you might have to sue the individual responsible for the accident. And if they don’t have the funds, it’ll be like drawing blood from a stone.
How severe your injuries are, whether or not they are long-term, and whether or not you missed work, as a result, are all factors that may impact the settlement you receive.
Plus, the professional you hire to take your case can have a significant impact on the results. Look for a lawyer that shares testimonials to back up their work.
Call a Lawyer If You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident
You might be surprised at how much to expect from a car accident settlement. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could be too in shock to notice any pain right off the bat.
And even minor injuries can seriously impact your life and your salary, especially if you have to miss work.
Plus, car accidents are traumatic and depending on how severe one is, you might suffer from emotional anxiety for a long time after the accident.
If you’ve been in an accident, contact us to get a free case review. We concentrate on car accidents and personal injury claims.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.