No two vehicle accidents occur under identical circumstances or have identical outcomes. That means no two settlements are identical, either. Even within the same state, settlement amounts can vary hugely. Only by consulting with a car accident lawyer can you get a specific idea of the compensation you may be entitled to. However, this article will explain some factors determining the value of your car accident claim.
What Factors Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Settlement?
First, let’s go over what a settlement is.
When you’re injured in an auto accident in Oklahoma, the person who caused the crash may be liable for compensating you. While personal injury lawsuits can arise, it’s more common for injury victims to make a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Negotiating with the insurance company, which occurs outside of court, often results in a settlement. If the insurer is unwilling to make a reasonable offer that adequately compensates the victim’s losses and expenses, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit and go to trial.
Numerous factors impact the amount of a car accident settlement, which is one of the reasons an experienced personal injury lawyer must represent you during settlement negotiations. Remember, insurance companies are profit-oriented and will look for any excuse to deny liability or make a low offer, no matter how friendly or helpful the claims adjuster seems. Determining factors include:
- The extent to which you were at fault. You can be compensated for a car accident even if you were partially at fault, a topic we covered in our article on getting compensated for a partial fault car accident. However, being at partial fault for an accident will cause your compensation to be reduced accordingly.
- Your medical expenses. Car accident victims can be compensated for various medical expenses, including surgery, ambulance rides, prescription drugs, physical therapy, hospitalization, and medical equipment like crutches or wheelchairs.
- The severity and permanence of your injury. You can receive more if you suffer a long-term or permanently disabling injury and cannot earn income. Settlements for minor injuries, such as sprains (torn ligaments) and strains (muscle tears), are lower because the victim’s resulting medical costs are lower—settlements factor in the costs you have already incurred and your future anticipated costs and losses.
- The type of treatment you received. Insurance companies will only reimburse medical expenses deemed reasonable and necessary. It’s a common tactic for insurers to say that certain treatments fall outside of this description, particularly alternative therapies that aren’t considered part of Western medicine.
- The duration of your treatment. Insurers consider factors like how many doctor appointments you make, how many weeks or months of prescribed medication, and how long you will need medical care.