Like with many areas of life, the amount you receive in the settlement from your car crash claim will be based on certain factors in your case. Some of them can hurt your case and result in you receiving less compensation. Other factors will strengthen your claim—making it easier to negotiate a settlement for the full amount you are owed. Understanding what these considerations are and how they impact your case will give you a more realistic sense of what you can hope to receive down the road.
Factors That Influence the Amount of Compensation You’ll Receive for Your Injuries in an Auto Accident
An experienced car accident attorney will be able to give you an estimate of the value of your claim in part from his experience negotiating cases similar to yours and in part by evaluating certain factors that affect settlement amounts. The insurance adjuster for the negligent driver may look at some of these issues as well in determining how much to pay you. These are some of the factors that could affect the amount of compensation you receive:
- Your statements. Your consistency in general throughout the process of settling your claim will be important to the strength of your claim. You will have to tell many people—police officer, doctor, and your insurance company are a few—how your accident occurred. While no one expects your statement to be identical each time you tell it, consistency in how you explain what happened will strengthen your credibility as a witness and the amount you could receive in settlement.
- Strong evidence of negligence. If there is no or little dispute as to the other driver’s liability, such as in a rear-end collision or if the driver was texting or drunk, his insurance adjuster will have fewer issues to dispute when negotiating your settlement. This can increase the value of your claim. Obviously, the opposite is true too. If there are serious questions about your own partial responsibility for your injuries, you may need to accept less in settlement.
- Extent of your injuries. When your medical records and doctor’s report supports your claim of how painful and limiting your injuries are, it can help establish the extent of your injuries and your pain and suffering. Having strong medical records and expert testimony can be crucial to proving the amount of your damages.
- Preexisting injuries. If you had pre-existing injuries to the same body part injured in your crash, you should expect the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver to argue that that incident and not your wreck caused your current injuries. While this does not necessarily reduce the value of your claim, it could result in your settlement taking longer to resolve.
- Police report. Your police report can include compelling information, such as negligent driver statements, witness statements, and police officer conclusions as to what caused the crash. This can be very persuasive evidence with the insurance adjuster and can strengthen the value of your claim. Making a police report can also cut off an adjuster’s argument that the crash never happened.
- Prompt medical care. If you seek medical treatment shortly after your accident—even if you are not certain you are hurt—you increase the value of your claim. When you do not seek treatment promptly or do not follow up with recommended treatments, the insurance adjuster could argue that you were not hurt as seriously as you claim and make the likelihood that you will have to accept less in settlement greater.
- Post-accident lifestyle. Living a life and engaging in activities that are consistent with how you claim you were injured can be crucial to having a strong case. Insurance adjusters often look at your social media sites and hire private investigators to spy on you to prove that you are performing activities you should be too injured to do. If they find this evidence, it can be very damaging to your claim.
What Is One of the Most Important Factors That Makes it More Likely That You Will Receive a Fair Settlement?
One of the most crucial factors in ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve is hiring an experienced car accident attorney after your crash. He will increase the likelihood that you will receive what you are entitled to by investigating your crash, interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, hiring experts, valuing your claim, and negotiating your settlement.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, start an online chat or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn how David Brauns can assist you.