Being involved in any car accident is bad enough. Hopefully, you’re in a position afterward where you can be grateful things weren’t worse. Then again, you might not ever have the chance to catch your breath.
Being in the middle of repairing your damaged vehicle or trying to arrange for new transportation all while dealing with insurance claims and medical bills can leave you feeling like you’re drowning in things to do.
You could be praying your personal injury lawyer arranges for a nice accident settlement that comes in and takes care of most, if not all of this. However, just how much should you be realistically expecting?
Every case is a unique situation, so there are no surefire blanket answers in terms of average settlement values. However, there have been enough cases that standard patterns have emerged over the years.
In general, if you suffer whiplash or soft tissue damage, then your settlement is likely to range between $10,000 and $25,000 for minor injuries. More serious injuries that wind up requiring physical therapy and/or surgery can mean settlements in a range of $50,000 up to $75,000, and $75,000 up to $100,000 for non-paralytic spinal injuries. $100,000 up to $250,000 is common compensation for brain injuries that include lost brain function, necessary surgery, and cognitive impairment.
Truly debilitating injuries, such as ones resulting in paralysis or serious brain injuries where the victim requires assistance on a daily basis, can result in settlements much higher. These can range from several hundred thousand dollars up into seven and even eight-figures.
Given all this, it should be noted that many insurance policies have set limits. Even if the at-fault driver is insured, you might not get full compensation due to the policy limits. For instance, you might have a settlement potentially worth $30,000, but they only grant you $15,000, because that was the policy limit.
You’d then need to sue the person directly for the rest of your settlement. However, based on their financial class and status, the odds of recovery can vary drastically.
Specific factors that can multiply your possible settlement amount include pain and suffering, physical limitations, and psychological or emotional harm and disorders.
While it’s useful to try and project what your settlement amount is likely to be, you might also have to deduct anywhere from some to all of it if you actually contributed to the accident in question. Even another driver or party was primarily responsible for the accident if you had any carelessness or negligence of your own, then contributory or comparative negligence can reduce your settlement.
More than a dozen states practice ‘pure comparative’ negligence rules that reduce your compensation by the specific percentage of your fault. Several dozen states follow a slightly more complex ‘modified comparative’ negligence, where if your fault is equal to or in excess of the state threshold, then you are entitled to no compensation whatsoever.
Also, a handful of states follow a very stringent ‘contributory’ negligence rule system, where any percentage of fault on your part can reduce your compensation drastically, perhaps even eliminating it.
If you are located in the North Carolina area, Lakota R. Denton is an experienced personal injury attorney who has helped people involved in bike and pedestrian accidents. The firm offers a free consultation and has over 70 five star reviews on Google.