It’s hard to determine how much your Georgia car accident claim is worth without doing a deep dive into its aftermath. For example, you’ll need money to pay for your vehicle repairs and medical expenses. However, it is essential to recover a large enough settlement to cover the full value of your current and future damages. Otherwise, the at-fault party’s insurers will offer you less than your claim is worth.
There is no exact method of predicting what your settlement offer will be. Every accident is unique, leaving each victim with different damages. However, a car accident attorney can use various factors to calculate what a fair settlement would be.
How Is a Georgia Car Accident Claim Calculated?
In order to understand your accident claim, it is helpful to know how insurance companies calculate claims. There are several factors that are taken into consideration when an insurance adjuster reviews your injuries.
Some factors that can affect your claim’s value include:
- The severity of the injury
- Whether you had any fault in the accident
- What the average medical costs are for the type of injuries you sustained
For example, head trauma may be worth more than a broken arm since it is a more serious injury with a longer recovery and a greater impact on the victim’s life.
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How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Settlements?
Even though you may have submitted your actual medical bills, you may be surprised to learn that you might get an offer that is less than what you owe. That can happen because adjusters use formulas and averages that determine how much a particular type of injury should cost.
Some insurance companies also use special computer programs such as Colossus. Colossus is a computer program that calculates how much should be paid on a specific type of injury. Many of the large insurance companies use this program to compute settlements.
Where does Settlement Money Come From?
There are many factors that come into 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. This refers to emotional and/or physical stress that is associated with a car accident and the injuries that were caused by it.
For example, 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
How the Accident Affects Your Life Plays a Significant Role in Your Settlement
When it comes to the constraints the injury put on the plaintiff’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, and the temporary inability to drive.
It all depends on how the accident and injury affect the plaintiff. An Atlanta personal injury attorney 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.
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Pain and Suffering Is Harder to Claim in the No-Fault States
Most 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. These are some of the most common car crash injuries and what you may be able to expect from a settlement:
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 don’t result in paralysis but 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.
The legal 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.
What to Do If You Are Offered a Low Settlement
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit, so you can be sure that they want to settle claims for as little as possible. They may try to make you a quick settlement offer that will sound tempting, especially when you are in need of money after your accident. However, it can be a mistake to take this first settlement offer.
If an offer is too low, do not agree to it and do not cash the check. If the situation arises you may be better off negotiating a larger settlement. You can accomplish this more easily with help from an Atlanta car accident attorney.
Georgia Car Accident FAQ
Many Georgia car accident victims hesitate to contact a lawyer for help because they do not understand how the claims process works. For this reason, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding car accident claims in Georgia below.
If you have additional questions that we did not answer on this page, you can contact our office and schedule a free consultation. During that no-obligation meeting, we can further discuss your concerns in greater detail.
What If My Child Sustained Injuries in a Car Accident?
Children who suffer severe injuries in car accidents have a right to compensation for their injuries the same way adults do. However, as your child’s parent or legal guardian, it will be up to you to step up and advocate for their rights. With help from a Georgia car accident attorney, you can fight for the compensation your child deserves.
Children often suffer far more severe injuries. You will need to work with your attorney and go over how your child’s injuries have affected their life to ensure no loss is unaccounted for. It will also be important to consider how their injuries will affect their life well into the future. That way, you can compel the liable party to compensate your child and family in full.
What Happens If I’m Partially to Blame for the Collision?
If you are partially responsible for causing the accident, you still have the right to recover compensation for your damages. This is because Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system (O.C.G.A. § 51-11-7). However, while you will not be barred from recovering compensation for your damages, you can expect a reduction in your injury settlement proportionate to your percentage of fault.
For example, if you did not wear your seatbelt when your car crashed, the jury might find you 10% responsible for your injuries. The jury awarded you $100,000 in compensation. As a result of their finding of comparative negligence, your award will be reduced by 10% (to $90,000) to account for your portion of the liability.
As you can see, it’s of utmost importance to have a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side who will ensure an insurance adjuster or a jury accurately assesses liability in your Georgia car accident claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, you will have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil lawsuit for a personal injury claim (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). You will also have two years to file a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident. However, you might want to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after your wreck because the courts will most likely refuse to hear your case once this window closes.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Many Georgia car accident victims worry that they will have to bring their case to court to recover compensation for the damages. Unfortunately, this may be true for your case if you cannot settle your claim with the insurance company.
Even if you recover an injury settlement from the insurance company, it may not be enough to meet your needs adequately. However, bringing your case before a judge and jury could lead to an award that fulfills all your needs. You can explore your legal options further when your car accident attorney reviews the details of your case.
How a Georgia Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Your lawyer will review your car accident claim and determine how much it’s worth. Then, they’ll negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement. Finally, if they cannot settle your claim, the case will proceed to court. Fortunately, insurance companies generally prefer to settle cases out of court whenever possible. Juries may be sympathetic to people who were severely injured, and the result may not be favorable to the company.
So, if you were injured in a Georgia car accident, contact the experienced legal team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today for a free case review.