If you have been in a car accident, you likely want to do whatever it takes to put the accident behind you and move on with your life. Car accident settlements from insurance companies are intended to do just that — compensate you for expenses related to injuries and property damage to make you whole and move on with your life. After all, it’s the reason you pay for and have car insurance.
But when receiving a settlement offer, people frequently want to know whether it is a reasonable and fair settlement. While it can be tempting just to take the money and do your best to move on, insurance companies are interested in paying out as little as possible or denying claims. By knowing how accident settlements are calculated, the factors that can affect settlements, and how a car accident lawyer can help, you can be more confident you are receiving the settlement you deserve.
How are car accident settlements calculated?
After you report an accident to your car insurance carrier, they will investigate the facts of the collision. This will include how much damage occurred, if there were injuries, and who or what was the cause of the accident. Initial settlement offers will be based on compensation for straightforward economic damages and non-economic damages, which can be harder to calculate.
Economic damages that can go into a settlement can include:
- Medical expenses for accident-related injuries
- Lost wages from taking time off of work
- Repairing or replacing a damaged automobile and calculating diminished value
- Replacing other lost or damaged personal property
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost time with family and friends
- Reduced quality of life
Some economic damages can be more challenging to calculate, including future medical expenses and lost earning capacity due to injuries, but can be factored into a settlement offer.
Factors That Affect Accident Settlements
No two accidents are alike, and there is a wide range of factors that can impact how much of a settlement offer you receive from your car insurance carrier, such as:
- The severity of the accident
- The extent of property damage
- The seriousness of injuries
- Whether the accident was determined to be your fault, the other party’s fault, or both are partially at fault
- If alcohol or illicit drugs were involved
- If reckless or negligent driving were involved
Average settlements for Florida car accidents can range from $10,000 to $60,000 or much higher depending on the factors above. To know whether a settlement offer is fair for you requires making an accurate calculation of your damages and fully understanding your case’s facts.
Car Accident Settlement Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do after a car accident?
Taking the proper steps after an accident can maximize your chances of a fair settlement. This includes:
- Staying on the scene of the accident and offering reasonable assistance
- Contacting the police and emergency services if needed
- Taking pictures and notes of the scene of the accident
- Exchanging insurance and contact information with the other party
- Not admitting fault but cooperating with law enforcement and offering reasonable assistance
- Getting checked out by a doctor to treat any injuries and establish a medical record
- Report the accident to your insurance company and provide all supporting documentation needed
How long does a car accident settlement take?
The length of a settlement can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case. Typical settlements can take anywhere from a few months to a year or longer if there is a dispute or the case goes to court.
Is Florida a no-fault state?
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning every motorist must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover medical expenses regardless of who was at fault. Motorists can still be held liable for other damages, particularly if they caused an accident due to negligence or reckless driving.
What is comparative negligence?
As a comparative negligence state, drivers in Florida can be found to be partially at fault for an accident if a case goes to court, which can impact settlements. For example, if you have $30,000 in damages but are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you may only be entitled to receive $24,000 in damages from the other party in a settlement.
Do I have the right to sue the other party if they are at fault?
Most cases are settled out of court between insurance companies. But motorists in Florida have the right to sue for damages exceeding the amount of liability insurance the other party has if they are found to be at fault.
Should I meet with an attorney?
In all but the most minor and straightforward accidents, you should meet with an attorney specializing in car accident and personal injury law to ensure you receive fair compensation and protect your legal rights and assets.
An attorney can help you calculate your damages accurately and ensure you submit letters, records, and paperwork correctly and promptly to your insurance company. A car accident lawyer can also help you understand your potential level of fault or negligence based on the facts of the case and take appropriate steps.
Contact Clark Law Today for a Free Consultation
The experienced team at At Clark Law understands the stress of car accidents and dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath. With our experience working with car accident cases, we know how to deal with and work with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve.
We promise to fight to get you a reasonable and fair settlement in a time frame that fits your life and needs without settling for less. We do not charge for consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, meaning you have no out-of-pocket costs unless we win the case.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.