What is an average settlement for a car accident? After being involved an accident, you may be wondering about how much you can expect in an insurance settlement.
This is, of course, an important consideration when you have needed medical care, lost income from work and are dealing with other consequences of a serious injury. Because many court settlements are kept confidential, the actual average is almost impossible to determine. Settlement estimates vary widely depending on the source of the information.
It’s very important to remember that all personal injury cases are unique, so it is difficult to make general statements about how much a specific claim might be worth.
There are several factors that may come into play when valuing a settlement in a car accident injury case.
The details of your individual case are far more important than what an average settlement is for a car accident. Your Fort Collins car accident lawyer may work with doctors, financial planners, vocational experts and others to calculate your losses before negotiating the value of your settlement.
Colorado law will also affect the value of your final car accident settlement. For example, if you were partly at fault in the accident, your settlement would be reduced by as much as 49 percent. If your fault is determined to be 50 percent or greater, you won’t be entitled to compensation from the other party’s insurance company.
Determining Factors in Settlements: Economic and Non-Economic Damages
A crucial factor in the amount of a car accident settlement is the extent of the injuries you sustained in the collision and whether you will require further treatment or face permanent disabilities.
Depending on the degree of injury, the medical costs can be extensive, with more to come in the future. All medical costs are included in what is called “economic damages.” These also cover other costs, such as lost income from work, transportation costs, rehabilitation, nursing care, lost earning capacity and any estimated future costs associated with the injuries. Economic damages must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Non-economic damages are paid for the impact on your quality of life, such as pain and suffering and the mental anguish caused by a serious injury. In Colorado, there are “caps” or limits on how much can be paid in non-economic damages.
Damages for physical impairments and disfigurement are calculated separately from non-economic damages. The value of this portion of the settlement may vary widely, based on degree of the injuries and the types of impairments suffered by the victim.
The limits of the insurance policy held by the at-fault driver can also be a determining factor in what is an average settlement for a car accident. Colorado drivers are required to carry minimum levels of liability insurance, at least $25,000 for each injured person up to a total of $50,000 per accident. Many motorists carry only the minimum coverage, which may not be enough to pay all your losses. Some drivers have no insurance at all. In these instances, you may be able to recover compensation under your own auto insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
It should be clear that the national average is nothing more than a ballpark figure and not sufficient for estimating the value of your case or what may finally be negotiated with the insurance company. Some serious injury cases will be resolved in civil court, with the jury making the decision about the amount that will be paid to you.
To get a better idea of the specific factors that may affect how much you could recover in a car accident claim, discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney in Fort Collins.
Contact Our Colorado Car Accident Law Firm
Attorney Steve Ray is a former Marine Corps judge now fights for the rights of accident victims in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, he brings more than 35 years of legal experience and military discipline to pursuing your claim for compensation.
He will meet with you to discuss your case and, if a claim is possible, pursue the maximum financial recovery available. If we cannot recover money for you, you will pay nothing for our legal services.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
- Boulder County Bar Association: Selected Civil Claims