Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident in Arkansas or Oklahoma can be overwhelming. You might face mounting medical expenses combined with income losses and other problems. Even if you have medical insurance, it may not cover all of your bills. The copays and deductibles could quickly spiral and leave you with a stack of bills you cannot afford while you’re simultaneously unable to return to work. If your accident and injuries were caused by another driver or entity, you can file a lawsuit to pursue damages. But do you know how much to expect from a car accident settlement?
How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement
When you file a claim after a car accident, your attorney will try to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement offer. This is an agreement through which your legal claim can be resolved. Typically, the insurance company will agree to pay you a specific amount of damages in exchange for you agreeing not to file a lawsuit or to end a lawsuit you have already filed. Most car accident claims are resolved through settlement agreements instead of going to trials.
The amount you can expect from a car accident settlement will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your individual case. The following are some of the factors that can affect your potential settlement:
Who Was at Fault
To recover damages, you will have to show that the party or parties you are suing are at fault for your accident. Most car accidents involve negligence claims. You will need to be able to prove that the defendant’s actions fell below an expected standard of conduct that the defendant owed to you. You will also have to show that the defendant’s actions directly or proximately caused your accident and injuries, and you suffered actual harm as a result. If you shared some of the blame, the compensation you might recover will be reduced. If you were primarily or solely at fault for your accident, you might not be able to recover any damages for your accident.
The severity of your injuries and your likelihood of recovering from your injuries play a major role in determining what a fair settlement might look like. If your injuries are severe, your settlement amount will likely be higher than if your injuries are minor. When your attorney values your claim, he or she will begin by calculating your past and expected future medical expenses related to your injury and adding them to your past and future expected wage losses. After calculating this total, he or she will then multiply it by a multiplier to value your non-economic losses. The higher your medical expenses are, the greater your settlement will likely be.
Whether the Defendant’s Actions Were Outrageous
In some cases, a defendant’s conduct may be so outrageous that punishment is warranted. Since civil claims do not involve jail or prison sentences, punishment can be handed down through a punitive damages award. If the defendant’s actions in your case were particularly egregious, you might be entitled to punitive damages on top of any compensatory damages you might receive. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to recover a higher settlement offer if it would be likely that a court would award punitive damages after a trial.
Available Recovery Sources
While the other party might clearly be at fault, and you may have suffered severe injuries, your settlement might be limited by the policy limits of any involved insurance policies. If the defendant was underinsured, you might be limited to the policy limits of his or her policy even if your losses were greater. If you have UM/UIM coverage on your car insurance policy, you might be able to recover compensation from your insurance company up to your UM/UIM policy limits to pay for losses that are not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy. Your attorney will also search for additional sources of recovery to try to maximize the damages you might receive.
Get Help from an Experienced Attorney
You are much more likely to recover a maximal settlement amount after your car accident if you work with an experienced attorney. A lawyer at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can properly value your claim, determine liability, and work to find all potential recovery sources. Contact us today by calling 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith) or 918-912-2132 (Tulsa).