One of the most important questions people ask after being involved in a crash is: How much should I expect from my car accident settlement? Considering how quickly medical bills can pile up after a car accident, it’s no wonder car accident victims are so curious about the amount of compensation they could potentially receive.
The truth of the matter is that no two settlements are alike. Every car accident is different, causing various injuries and damage, so it follows that every settlement will be different as well. Car accident settlements often vary from state to state, as well. A number of factors go into calculating a car accident settlement. This article is a guide to understanding how car accident settlements are computed and what you should expect from your own car accident claim.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
A car accident settlement is built upon the 4 contributing factors:
- Physical injuries, like broken bones, whiplash, and injuries requiring surgery
- Damage to property, such as a totaled vehicle
- Lost wages from time missed from work
- PTSD or mental anguish, otherwise known as “pain and suffering”
All of these factors are used to compute the total financial compensation a car accident will ultimately receive. According to a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, the average car accident liability claim for bodily injury and property damage was just under $20,000 in 2013. And with car accident medical expenses increasing at a greater rate than inflation, such settlements will only grow larger with time.
How Much Money From a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by another person, the eventual settlement you receive could be based on the policy limits of the driver who hit your vehicle. In the state of Utah, the following minimum car insurance coverages are:
- $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for Bodily Injury Liability
- $15,000 per accident for Property Damage Liability
- $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for Uninsured Motorists
- $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for Underinsured Motorists
- $3,000 per accident for Personal Injury Protection
Bodily Injury Liability is used to cover the medical expenses you incurred after your car accident. Property Damage Liability is meant to cover any damage to your vehicle or other possessions as a result of your crash. The other two types of coverage, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists, are meant to protect accident victims if they are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident with a driver who does not have automobile insurance.
Since Utah is what is known as a no-fault state, every driver is required to have Personal Injury Protection insurance. Due to Utah being a no-fault state, car accident victims can’t sue for general damages, like mental anguish, unless the following criteria is relevant:
- The accident caused a fatality
- The accident caused dismemberment of some sort
- The accident resulted in a disability, disfigurement, or impairment
- The total medical expenses exceeded the $3,000 PIP limit
How Much Do Car Accidents Settle For – Average Amounts
Considering how each car accident case is different, it is hard to put an accurate estimate to any one car accident. While the following numbers are in no way indicative about what you could potentially receive after your accident, they do give a good enough idea about what a ballpark estimate could look like:
- Minor injuries, such as whiplash: $10,000 up to $25,000
- Serious injuries that require chiropractic treatment or minor surgery: $50,000 up to $75,000
- Injuries to the spine that do not cause paralysis or disability: $75,000 up to $100,000
- Brain injuries: $100,000 up to $250,000
- Injuries that cause disability or permanent paralysis: $250,000 to $1,000,000+
When looking at such numbers, accident victims should keep in mind that many insurance policies have maximum limits. Oftentimes, your potential settlement may exceed the policy limits. This will leave you with little choice but to file a lawsuit against the responsible person or party to recover the full amount of your damages. A useful rule of thumb many people employ to estimate the potential value of a car accident settlement is to multiply your medical bills by 3. This is why it is so important to seek out qualified medical assistance if you experience even a minor injury after your car accident.
Salt Lake City Car Accident Lawyer
The best way to learn the true value of your car accident claim is to call the Advocates for a free case evaluation. Our injury attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims all throughout Utah. We know exactly how to get you fair compensation for your injuries and losses. We will negotiate with insurance adjusters, thoroughly compile all of your medical bills into a comprehensive file, and even help you get into a rental car while your damaged vehicle is repaired. When you hire an Advocate to lead your legal team, you can rest easy knowing that your recovery is always our first priority.
Don’t wait to contact the Advocates today about your car accident. You can either call us at (801) 326-0809 or chat online right now with a live personal injury attorney from our homepage. Our professional staff is ready to help you get back onto the road to recovery, so contact us today. You deserve an Advocate!
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