There’s no such thing as a typical car accident. There are minor accidents that cause major physical damages, and once in a while, even a serious accident where everyone walks away mostly unharmed. Due to the varying nature of each accident, it’s impossible to put even a ballpark number on the average car accident settlement.
We have worked on minor accidents with high payouts based on unforeseen contingencies and major accidents with relatively low recovery, with settlements ranging anywhere from $15,000 to over $1,000,000. Many attorneys will give you estimates of $20,000 to $30,000 for the “average” minor accident but that can be very deceiving just like the lawyers on TV who claim to be able to get you $500,000 for your accident. These claims are baseless and you should always question the integrity of any law firm that quotes exact numbers on such vague questions.
Only an experienced attorney that has fully evaluated all the evidence in your case, as well as the available coverage can give you a reasonably accurate estimate of what your settlement may turn into, so make sure to contact our Colorado auto accident attorneys for an in depth consultation of your case.
The Truth About Car Accident Settlements
After a car accident, you may be wondering what kind of settlement you could get for your injuries. There is no way to put an exact dollar amount on this because every accident is unique in many ways that can’t be taken into account in this article. You may have seen lawyers on TV bragging about high cash settlements, and they usually have a healthy looking person talking about how “so and so got me 500,000 dollars!” These advertisements are misleading and dangerous because you’re probably not getting the whole story. Most healthy people don’t get half-million dollar settlements. In fact, even talking about the “average” value of a car accident case in general terms would be misleading, as each case is unique. Each person is different, each injury is different, and the way each claim is handled by an individual insurance company is different. All of these factors contribute to the way a case is valued at the end of the day.
The most honest way to look at it is like this: the majority of car accidents are very minor, with people walking away with a bruise or mild soreness that will heal on its own. Major accidents with severe injuries are thankfully less common. Keep in mind that the value of a car accident case is based on economic damages, such as hospital bills, other medical treatment, and lost wages. Generally, half million and million dollar settlements are not the norm, and usually accompany significant, life-altering injuries from major accidents. This is not to say that you might not amass substantial medical bills from a seemingly minor accident, or suffer nagging physical pain.
If you base your decision about who to hire from the guys spending big money on TV ads, it looks like all you have to do is stub your toe on someone else’s fender and you’re well on your way to cashing that big check. It’s impossible to gauge the value of your case based upon incomplete sound bites or another person or attorney’s past success. We have represented hundreds of personal injury clients and settled cases from anywhere between $15,000 to over $1,000,000. We can’t, and won’t, make any promises about the value of your case until we’ve looked at every piece of information. The only promise we make is that if you hire us, we’ll work as hard as we can to maximize your financial recovery while working to minimize your stress and frustration.
No two cases will ever be the same. If you’re injured in an accident, don’t base the decision on which attorney to hire on empty promises based on incomplete information. Instead, be sure you choose an experienced team who will guide you through every step of your case. Make sure to contact our top rated Colorado auto accident attorneys at Rector Stuzynski LLC.
Not All Car Crashes Are Created Equal
As mentioned above, not all car accidents are created equal, meaning that some are just fender benders with a little damage to the cars themselves. Some of these minor fender benders can turn serious if the drivers or passengers get whiplash or sustain back or other injuries from the impact. If broken bones occur that adds to the effect and as we all know, doctor visits, surgery, chiropractor sessions and rehabilitative procedures are all very expensive. These bills add up quick and are the major factors to consider when valuing your settlement. Also, take into account that if you were considered at fault for any part of the accident, your overall settlement amount may be reduced.
The behavior of the at-fault driver is also a factor in determining the value of a case. Those who are intoxicated and cause an accident are typically penalized even more than normal because it was their choice to drive while impaired. Reckless driving also ups the penalties as speed limits and traffic signals are meant to keep drivers from traveling in a dangerous manner so abusing the rules is never favorable in front of a judge.
Minor Car Accident Settlement Amounts
Fender benders and minor car accidents typically don’t have a bodily injury settlement if there aren’t any injuries. Many accident claims are resolved simply by insurance paying for damages done to the vehicles or any other property damages from the wreck. But even minor accidents can cause injury, to include whiplash, strains, or sprains from the impact which can require substantial treatment and recovery time. These injuries not only come with doctor bills that will need to be paid for, but you will also suffer lost wages from not being able to work. Sometimes, even a minor accident can cause injuries requiring ongoing treatments or physical rehabilitation to get back to normal.
As you can see, even a minor accident can have major consequences, and these types of low-impact accidents can be some of the toughest to negotiate, as insurance companies will try to fight you at every twist and turn. It’s typical that an insurance company will try to downplay the severity of any injury you suffered to the point of offensively outright accusing you of making up more serious symptoms just to increase your settlement amount. Oftentimes the insurance company will look at the amount of property damage and try to infer the significance of injury based on that alone, which is neither an effective nor fair method of evaluating a claim. It can be frustrating to hear an adjuster’s comment that, because the accident only caused $2,500 in property damage, the company doesn’t think your weeks of physical therapy to get over a neck strain is legitimate, and they don’t want to pay for it.
Our attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies that don’t want to pay a fair value for your claim and will work for you to ensure that you are properly compensated for any legitimate injuries you suffered as a result of your accident, no matter how big or small it was.
Severe Car Accident Settlement Amounts
A severe car accident usually means there were significant damages to the vehicles and drivers or passengers were badly injured. We have all seen bad accidents, but few understand the reality of how bad these injuries can be for the injured person. Many severe accidents result in broken bones, road rash, gashes, back & neck injuries and sometimes even death. These types of injuries usually require hospitalization and extensive medical treatment, including ongoing physical therapy to help the victim get back to a normal life. Serious accidents can sometimes cause permanent disabilities and in severe cases a complete inability for the victim to return to work, or a normal life.
These types of accidents present an entirely different set of challenges in settlement of the claim with an insurance company. Many Colorado drivers carry minimal limit policies, which will only pay out $25,000 per accident regardless of the extent of a victim’s injuries. That can be eaten up by an ambulance ride and a night in the emergency room, leaving nothing left to compensate for any future treatment, lost wages, or pain and suffering. While our top rated Colorado Springs car accident lawyers will work hard to find additional coverage that may exist to compensate you for your injuries in these cases, we constantly recommend that our clients carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on their own automobile insurance policy for at least $300,000. It is a very unfortunate truth that even with over $100,000 in medical bills, it’s impossible to recover more than $25,000 total on your case if the person who hit you has minimal policy limits and there is no other coverage out there to make you whole.
Settle Quickly On Your Own Or Hire An Attorney?
Deciding to settle quickly or use an experienced car accident law firm and take the case is going to be a major factor in how much you get in your settlement so always consult with an attorney before making a decision. Insurance companies usually give you a low ball offer quickly to get you to go away and once you accept that check there is no going back. Having an experienced auto accident attorney fighting for you is the best way to get maximum compensation for your injuries. Lawyers know what to look for and can find things that the at-fault person is responsible for that you may not have even known were factors to consider.
Damages That Play A Role In Settlement Payout Amounts
The list of damages that may be involved in determining accident settlement amounts is pretty long, but we will list a few of the most common damages below.
- Broken bones
- Sprained wrist/ankle
- Road rash
- Cuts & gashes
- Internal Bleeding
- Back, neck & spine injuries
- Brain damage
- Vision impairment
- Medical bills
- Past & future lost wages
- Property & vehicle damages
- Physical therapy & rehabilitation
- Chiropractor sessions
Were You At Fault Partially?
It’s easy to believe that your actions had no effect on the outcome of the auto accident however, there are many things that may cause partial liability to fall on your shoulders. Some examples are: Were you driving too fast? Did you use your turn signal? Were you too close to the car in front of you? Did you check your mirrors? Were your lights working properly? Did you wear your seatbelt? All of these are common causes of a liability shift in cases that most would think are easy to place blame. This is not always the case and if you are found partially liable for the accident, your settlement may be drastically reduced so make sure to consider all possibilities and relay the information to your attorney effectively.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm
At Rector Stuzynski LLC, we have been fighting for car accident victims for decades and have won many favorable settlements for our clients. We look at every little detail to ensure our clients are getting a fair and accurately represented trial while fighting for maximum compensation. Our past clients have had nothing but good things to say about our Colorado car accident attorneys as you can see from our 90+ five star reviews on Google. We offer free virtual consultations 24/7 at (719) 578-1106 so give us a call and let’s discuss your auto accident case with no obligation.