After the jarring experience of a car accident, beyond the immediate physical and emotional trauma, a looming question often emerges: “How much can I expect from a car accident settlement?”
The question reflects not just the pursuit of justice, but also the very real financial anxieties that arise from medical bills, vehicle repairs, and potential lost wages.
While every case possesses its unique set of facts, circumstances, and resulting injuries, understanding the underlying factors that influence settlement amounts can provide some clarity during these uncertain times.
At Berry Law, our experienced car accident lawyers are here to give you a clearer picture of what to anticipate as you navigate the legal aftermath of your accident. Your health and recovery are what’s most important. When you hire us, you can focus on what really matters and we’ll take care of the legal aspects.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?
A car accident settlement is a resolution reached between the involved parties (often including their insurance companies) without going to trial. In essence, it’s a negotiated agreement where the injured party agrees to a specified amount of compensation in exchange for dropping any further legal actions against the at-fault party.
Settlements are designed to compensate the injured party for a range of damages, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Settlements vs. Court-Awarded Damages
While settlements are negotiated outside of court, damages are the monetary awards granted by a court after a trial.
Both parties generally prefer to settle, as it guarantees a certain outcome and reduces legal expenses. However, taking the case to court may be the best option if an insurer is unwilling to offer a fair settlement. If the plaintiff wins, the judge or jury will determine the compensation amount based on the evidence presented.
Having a car accident lawyer can help you to make informed decisions regarding how far to take negotiations or when you need to sue. Remember that as legal professionals, car accident lawyers can guide and advocate for you every step of the way.
Types of Damages in a Car Accident Claim
Damages in personal injury claims are generally identified as either general (non-economic) or economic damages. Both types of damages may require a complex investigation to assess them accurately.
You incur these tangible, out-of-pocket expenses due to the accident. Primary components are medical bills, property damage, and lost wages or income due to time off work. However, these also account for future losses. For example, a chronic injury or permanent disability may prohibit you from returning to work or earning the income that you did before the accident.
Some common economic damages in car accident claims include:
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital stays and surgeries
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Prescription medications
- Medical devices (e.g., crutches, wheelchairs)
- Future medical care related to the accident
- Income lost due to time off work immediately after the accident
- Reduced earning capacity if you’re unable to return to your previous job
- Over-the-counter medical supplies
- Home modifications (e.g., ramps, widened doorways) for severe injuries
- Funeral and burial expenses in the unfortunate event of a fatality
- Costs for ongoing physical or occupational therapy
- Mental health therapy or counseling related to trauma from the accident
In short, an accident can result in a massive economic impact. Document everything. Maintaining organized expense records can significantly enhance your claim’s credibility.
These damages, often harder to quantify, encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship or consortium. They’re also inherently subjectives. However, a skilled attorney can present and uphold an argument that attests to these very real losses and their impact on your life.
Some of the non-economic damages you may pursue include:
- Physical pain resulting from injuries sustained in the accident
- Ongoing discomfort or chronic pain related to those injuries
- Anxiety, depression, or other emotional challenges resulting from the trauma of the accident
- Sleep disturbances or nightmares
- Inability to partake in hobbies, recreational activities, or other forms of leisure previously enjoyed
- Strain or loss in marital relations, including loss of companionship, affection, or sexual relations due to injuries
- Visible scars, burns, or other physical alterations that affect appearance and self-esteem
- In cases of wrongful death, the emotional and relational loss experienced by close family members
- Deep-seated emotional trauma or torment stemming from the accident
- Overall reduction in the quality or fulfillment of life due to physical, emotional, and psychological effects of the accident
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
The Insurance Company’s Role
Often, insurance companies might present a disheartening initial offer for far less than what you might expect or deserve. Consult a car accident attorney before accepting any offers to ensure the insurer doesn’t shortchange you. Partnering with a skilled personal injury attorney familiar with an insurance company’s negotiation tactics can level the playing field, adequately representing you and increasing the likelihood of a fair settlement.
Your Attorney’s Role
Some of the benefits of retaining legal representation and the tactics that they will use to add value to your settlement include:
- Comprehensive understanding of the law: Attorneys well-versed in car accident claims possess a deep knowledge of the laws, rules, and regulations governing such incidents, as well as the law specific to your area. At Berry Law, we possess an in-depth understanding of Nebraska traffic accident patterns and how these interplay with civil and judicial proceedings. This understanding equips us to tackle complex cases, ensuring you get fair treatment and rightful compensation.
- Efficiency and proactivity: Filing a claim requires thorough documentation, from medical records to accident reports. A misstep or omission can jeopardize your claim. Skilled car accident attorneys ensure every document is correctly filed and deadlines are met.
- Skilled negotiation: Dealing with insurance companies can be tricky. An attorney can effectively guide you through the process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
- Good judgment and objectivity: After a car accident, emotions can run high, and pain, frustration, and anxiety can cloud your decisions. Your dedicated attorney offers a clear, objective viewpoint, guiding you through the process with your best interests at the forefront.
Looking to Maximize Your Car Accident Claim?
At Berry Law, our legacy is built on an unwavering commitment to the individuals we represent. Our robust track record of success echoes our ethos—we’re not just in it for the legal battles—we’re here for you, striving for justice every step of the way.
With a blend of experience, skill, and compassionate representation, Berry Law stands as a beacon of hope for those seeking rightful compensation. When you partner with us, you’re not just getting an attorney; you’re gaining an advocate dedicated to your cause.