There’s no “average” car accident, thus there’s no average car accident claim. These types of claims are impacted by a range of factors. Car accidents involve different variables, like road type, road conditions, and vehicle size. For example, an accident involving a semi-truck will pan out differently than an accident between a car and a bicyclist.
Car accidents are often expensive, regardless of their circumstances, though. In 2020, the average cost of an accident involving evident injuries was $29,200. A car accident claim can help you pick up the slack of your own insurance plans. Without a claim, you might find yourself going into debt to cover your mounting costs.
Damages in a Car Accident
Damages are the core of car accident claims. They cover the types of losses victims can sustain and receive compensation for after a car accident. Car accident claims largely hinge on the severity of damages. They include:
Medical expenses are arguably the most important type of damage. They cover:
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Assisted living devices, like wheelchairs or stair lifts
- Hospital stays
Generally, the type and severity of your injuries will have the greatest impact on this type of damage. Severe injuries are typically more costly than minor injuries. If you can prove that your car accident caused significant injuries, it could improve the value of your claim.
Your personal insurance can offset some of these costs. However, if your health insurance plan falls short, you could be left with an enormous medical bill. This is where a liability insurance plan could prove helpful.
Car accidents don’t just involve medical expenses, though. It’s not uncommon for cars to get totaled in accidents. Vehicle costs have skyrocketed since 2021, which only exacerbates the challenge of finding a new car. Luckily, property damages are included in liability insurance claims. This extends to other types of personal property, too, like bikes.
Pain and Suffering
The previously mentioned types of damages are economic – they reimburse you for the financial toll of your accident. However, car accidents don’t just negatively impact your finances, they can also impact your quality of life.
Pain and suffering damages cover:
- A reduction in your quality of life
Calculating these damages is less straightforward than calculating economic damages. Trauma unfortunately can’t be attributed to invoices or receipts. A lawyer can advise you in assessing the pain and suffering damages you’ve experienced. If they’re knowledgeable, they can assign a fair value to the emotional toll of your accident.
Unfortunately, some car accidents involve wrongful death. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths statewide.
If your case involved wrongful death, these values could contribute to your claim:
- Funeral expenses
- The loss of a close personal relationship – similar to pain and suffering damages
- Medical expenses incurred prior to the passing of your loved one
Not everyone can pursue wrongful death claims and lawsuits, though. These lawsuits are typically limited to:
- Surviving spouses
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- A court-appointed executor of the estate
Executors are appointed by probate court judges and are usually family members. If you’re unsure if you have a wrongful death claim, consider speaking with a lawyer. They can outline wrongful death claim eligibility for you.
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Negotiating with Insurers
Damages can be totaled to assign a fair value to your case. Just because you know the fair value of your case doesn’t mean you’ll receive a fair settlement, though. Car accident claims usually involve insurers, who oftentimes try to lowball claimants. If you accept a low-value claim, you’re stuck with it. Agreed-upon insurance settlements bar you from seeking further compensation.
This means that insurance negotiations need to be approached with caution. Their outcome will impact the value of your claim, too.
To succeed during insurance negotiation, take these steps:
- Be careful about providing a recorded statement to insurers; they may use it against you.
- Don’t admit fault.
- Consider seeking legal counsel.
There’s one more factor that can alter the valuation of your case: comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a legal precedent that applies to personal injury cases in Georgia. Under its guidelines, negligence can be shared across multiple parties after a car accident. This sharing of negligence could reduce the value of your claim, too.
For example, if you were 30% responsible for your car accident, you could only receive 70% of your potential claim’s value. Fault is apportioned in car accidents by reviewing evidence, including:
- Eyewitness statements
- Footage from traffic cameras
- Expert testimonies, think doctors or crash reconstruction specialists
- Medical records
- Images of the crash site
Evidence can be contentious in a car accident case. An insurer might dispute your version of the events that preceded the crash. A lawyer can assist you with this process. They’ll closely review your case, gather evidence, and fight for a fair settlement.
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Let Us Handle Your Case While You Recover
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we understand what you’re going through. Car accidents are stressful. Between recovering from your injuries and handling expenses, you already have a lot on your plate. Let us make your life easier. We’ll deal with insurers while you recover from your injuries.
Call our offices for a free case review.