If you get involved in a car accident in Missouri, you may depend upon a settlement to help you pay for related medical bills and vehicle repairs. Unfortunately, you cannot trust a car insurance company’s assessment of the value of your case; insurers work for profits and are notorious for devaluing settlements to save themselves money. Knowing how much your car accident settlement is worth is key to collecting the financial compensation that you deserve.
Average Car Accident Settlement vs. What Your Case Is Worth
When you search online for an average car accident settlement amount, you will find many different answers depending on the source. Alleged averages range from $20,235 from the Insurance Information Institute to $23,900 from Martindale-Nolo. However, you will also find that many people received less than $10,000 while others – for severe injuries – received an average of $41,000. Then, there are the catastrophic injury and wrongful death car accident cases that have resulted in six-figure and seven-figure outcomes for victims.
It will soon become clear that you cannot count on an “average car accident settlement” that you find online. Every case is unique, and settlements vary too significantly to calculate an accurate average. The only way to determine what your specific car accident case is worth is by consulting with an attorney. A car accident lawyer will take the time to analyze the facts of your unique case and estimate its potential value. Variables may include the severity of your injuries, how much the accident has impacted your life, your age and income, and the insurance coverage available.
Common Damages Awarded in a Car Accident Settlement
One thing that can help you determine the value of your car accident case is a list of your compensable losses. In Missouri, the law enables injured victims to pursue financial compensation, or damages, for a variety of economic and noneconomic losses. You may be entitled to monetary damages not only for your financial losses but for the intangible ways that the crash affected you, as well.
The average list of car accident settlement damages includes:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Disability costs and accommodations
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Lost capacity to earn in the future
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Attorney’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
- Punitive damages, in some cases
A Kansas City car accident lawyer can create a comprehensive list of your compensable losses. This will serve as the basis of your car accident claim. Then, your lawyer can submit this list along with a demand for a fair settlement to a car insurance company on your behalf (the demand letter). Most car accident cases end there, with a settlement check sent to the victim. However, your lawyer can also take your case to court, if necessary.
Calculating the Value of Your Car Accident Case
Once you have made a list of your damages, you can estimate the value of your case by adding up your losses. Start with economic damages, as they have hard numbers from receipts and bills. Add up all of your current medical bills and project future necessary medical costs based on your health prognosis. Then, add your past and future lost wages, vehicle repairs or replacement, and other financial losses that you suffered.
Next, estimate noneconomic damages. This is more difficult to determine, as it is an arbitrary number that is often assessed at a jury’s discretion. No equation is uniformly used to calculate pain and suffering. Instead, this amount depends on the severity of injuries and various other factors. However, you can get an idea of what your noneconomic damages are worth by using the Multiplier Method – multiplying your total economic damages by a number between one and five that is appropriate for the significance of your injuries.
If you are curious about how much your car accident case is worth, contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney for an in-depth case evaluation.