After a car accident and the resulting injuries, it makes sense that you start wondering what your case could be worth. Your medical bills start adding up, your missed work gets expensive once you run out of PTO (if you have any), and the daily struggle of an injury can make you resentful of your situation. Suddenly, it makes sense why someone would seek financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit or a settlement agreement. If someone else caused your accident, then there is no reason that you should feel obligated to bear the financial burdens that come along with their negligence or recklessness.
We have laid out some ideas about settlement amounts in California after a car accident, but keep in mind that no two accidents are alike, meaning no two settlements are alike. Depending on the circumstances of your own accident, your outcome may look significantly different than these settlement figures. Take advantage of free case evaluations, like the ones offered by Timothy J. Ryan & Associates Personal Injury Lawyers, to speak with a professional who can give you more insight into your situation.
Is There Really an “Average” Settlement Amount?
In reality, there is no “average” amount for a car accident settlement, and if it were, it would completely misrepresent the reality of your own situation. Some settlements may be in the range of $2,000 for a simple fender-bender and a quick trip to the doctor. In other situations, settlements may be in excess of $1 million. There are a few different factors that go into a settlement, which you can read more about below, and may be able to get a better understanding of why it is so hard to make an assumption without more information..
Economic damages are made to victims in order to compensate for actual expenses associated with the accident. This includes things like medical bills, lost wages, and recovery costs. These may also factor in the possibilities of future expenses of the same kind.
Non-economic damages address the “intangibles” of a car accident, such as the victim’s pain and suffering, depression that comes with their injuries, fear, and other things that are situation-specific. Non-economic damages are often calculated by determining a “multiplier”: a number that the victim and their attorney believes accurately represents the extent of their suffering. This multiplier is then applied to the economic damages. For instance: $100,000 of economic damages and a multiplier of 3x will result in $400,000 or total compensatory damages.
In some instances, a jury may determine that the accident was caused by extreme recklessness or egregiousness, and may assign addition, punitive damages to the victim. These damages are intended to punish the person responsible for the accident, and should not generally be expected or factored into estimates of a final settlement. In addition to the impact that the defendant’s financial situation plays in these numbers, the jury must find that the actions are worthy of the additional damages.
Determining The Worth Of Your Own Case
As you can see from the different factors of an accident settlement above, there is no simple way to determine the value of a settlement, and there is equally no accurate “average” that is worth considering. The best thing that you can do is speak with an attorney as soon as possible, and get working on your own specific case.