Finding out how much money you should expect from your car accident settlement can help you plan your recovery and determine what the path forward will look like. It’s understandable if this is one of the main points of focus for you because it is an important factor in your healing process. Unfortunately, this is a difficult topic to answer. There are no typical car accident settlement amounts with injury because of the vast differences in the types of injuries and costs associated with recovery.

Consulting with an accident attorney can provide more targeted information about your case, but there are no guarantees that the insurance company will offer you what your case is worth. Even so, having a general idea of what to expect from your settlement can relieve some of the stress.

What Affects Settlement Value?

If you are determined to settle your injury claim outside of court through negotiations with the insurance company, be prepared for some back and forth. The insurer will base their settlement offer on a variety of factors, including:

  • The insurance company’s calculated value of your vehicle

  • The cost of your medical treatment

  • The severity of your injuries

  • Your need for ongoing care

  • Their shareholders’ interests

If that last factor is surprising, consider that insurance providers are for-profit companies. Their bottom line is a top priority for them. Remember that they are not offering to compensate you in order to help you but rather out of a legal obligation and to save themselves money.

With that being said, fair settlement amounts from insurance companies are not unheard of. A car accident attorney with experience and in-depth knowledge of New York accident law and negotiation tactics can often get the insurer to offer an amount that everyone can be satisfied with.

What Damages Can I Receive After an Accident?

If you and the insurance company cannot decide on a fair amount, the case will then progress to litigation. The court will consider similar facts about the case to decide on fault and what, if any, compensation is needed.

A judge or jury will look at each driver’s percentage of fault for the accident, the severity of injuries, the treatment needed for the injuries, the strength of the evidence on both sides, and numerous other details. The amount you receive will be based on these factors and will fall into any combination of three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic damages are based on clear costs you have incurred since the accident. Expenses like hospital care, property damage, and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are less objective because they are based on elements like loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

The third category, punitive damages, is rare. Punitive damages are awarded not to compensate the victim for their injuries and losses but to punish the at-fault party. These are only awarded in cases when the person responsible for the accident acted with complete disregard for your safety or in an intentionally reckless manner.

Common Injuries from a Car Accident

Your injuries will be a major factor in settlement discussions because much of the compensation will be calculated based on your healthcare and medical needs. Plus, many severe injuries cause non-economic damages like pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, permanent disfigurement, and emotional distress.

Spinal Cord Injuries

When an accident damages your spinal cord, the consequences can range from minor to lethal. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include chronic pain, infections, loss of muscle control, numbness, muscle spasms, and paralysis. Settlement amounts for spinal cord injuries tend to be relatively high, considering the severity of many of these injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury

As another common accident-related injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI) has the potential to permanently change the victim’s life. Depending on the severity of the TBI, symptoms may include behavioral changes, loss of memory, sensory impairment, and paralysis. Even though many concussions are considered mild with positive recovery rates, there is a small percentage of concussion patients who develop post-concussion syndrome, which can last for years. The short-term and long-term consequences must be considered in settlement discussions.

Broken Bones

As with most types of injuries, there is a broad range of severity associated with broken bones after a car accident. Depending on the location of the break, the type of fracture, and underlying or exacerbating conditions, broken bones can be a significantly challenging injury to recover from. Surgery is sometimes required to repair the damage or set the bone. Physical therapy and long-term adaptive equipment may also be necessary.

Settlement Negotiations with the Insurance Company

Preparing for an auto accident settlement requires careful planning and strategy. You should not assume that just because the insurance company has determined the other driver was at fault, they will offer you a fair settlement amount. There is no statutory minimum settlement for a car accident, but each case’s relative minimum is based on what the insurance provider believes the claim is worth. The injured party or their lawyer will almost always negotiate for a higher amount than what is first offered, which is why being ready for this process is crucial.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Car Accident Settlement?

New York does not require that you hire an attorney to represent you in your car accident claim or settlement negotiations. However, history has shown that people who work with an attorney receive higher compensation than those who choose to go through the process alone. Not only does working with a lawyer generally lead to better settlement offers, but having a trusted advocate on your side reduces your stress so you can focus on physical and emotional recovery.

Seitelman Law Offices, P.C. offers free consultations so you can spend time discussing your case with no obligation. Contact us to schedule your appointment.