Every car accident settlement represents a unique set of circumstances. In Huntsville, TX and Rockdale, TX, some of the same major factors impact the settlement amount time and again. These include how quickly a person sought medical attention, what was said at the scene, and the strength of the available evidence.
9 Factors That Impact the Value of a Car Accident Settlement
1. Fault in the Collision
Texas is an “At Fault” state. This means the driver responsible for causing the accident is liable for paying the damages. In most cases, this is handled through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, the insurance coverage isn’t enough to pay for the victim’s expenses, and suing the at-fault driver is the next step.
Ultimately, the legal system decides who is at fault in a car accident in Huntsville, TX or Rockdale, TX. Evidence that can prove fault includes the police report, cell phone records, and pictures or videos from the accident. Other evidence includes witness testimonials, testimony from crash reconstruction specialists, and auto industry experts.
2. Timely Medical Attention
People don’t always feel their injuries immediately after a car accident. It may take weeks or months before many people seek medical advice after a collision. Unfortunately, insurance companies see this timeline and claim there is no proof that the injury is from the accident.
Visiting a medical professional immediately after an accident can help avoid this situation. Other solutions include consulting an attorney to help you gather evidence and prove your case. Gathering as much medical documentation as possible and opinions from multiple medical specialists can also help.
3. Public Statements
Anything said at the scene of the accident, on social media, or to the insurance company directly can be used as evidence. An insurance claim agent may ask questions in a way that confuses you and has you admitting fault. For example, you might say that you were slightly tired while driving, or you may express empathy for the at-fault driver. These words can be used to say that you were actually the one to blame, which will impact your final car accident settlement value.
To avoid this scenario, consult an attorney on what is appropriate to say before speaking to anyone. Avoid speculating on the cause of the accident at the scene or at a later date. It is not in your best interest to express your frustration or any speculations you have in an online post. If you hire an attorney, they can speak to the insurance company for you to make sure this scenario is avoided.
4. The Strength of the Available Evidence
To get the compensation you deserve, you may need to prove fault for the accident. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will gather witness testimony, talk to experts, and gather documentation.
You’ll also need evidence to prove damages. You’ll need documentation that shows property damages, lost wages, mental and emotional suffering, medical bills, and lost earning potential. This can involve medical records, police reports, receipts from the auto shop, and testimony from your employer.
5. The Types of Injuries
A broken bone with a few months of recovery time will have associated medical costs that can be outlined as part of a settlement. Other cases may include more severe injuries, like a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. These types of severe injuries will have more medical costs, lost wages, and more involved expenses.
Then, there are instances of permanent disability. An ongoing impairment will need a larger settlement amount to compensate for pain and suffering and lifelong care.
6. Additional Expenses
There are many expenses after an accident that go beyond the typical medical visits. After the accident, you may need to pay for someone to help clean your home while you’re injured. You may also need to pay for modifications to your home to help you navigate a physical impairment.
Your lawyer will ask you about all the changes in your life after the accident. They will then ask you for every receipt you have to help prove the associated expenses and justify your claim’s value.
7. The Car Insurance Company’s Willingness To Settle
Every car insurance company is different. Sometimes, a person presents the company with the amount they demand for settlement and the company accepts it. Sometimes, a person may need to negotiate with the company. There are times when a company may firmly refuse to negotiate or listen.
If an insurance company is refusing to negotiate or is not doing so fairly, your lawyer can help. They will help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of filing a lawsuit. They will talk to you about the realities of how much you can legally expect and help you decide whether you want to accept a low settlement. The insurance company’s attitude can be a major factor impacting your settlement experience and value.
8. Insurance Coverage
Drivers in Texas have minimum liability insurance requirements. The minimum coverage in this state is $30,000 for one person’s injury and $60,000 for multiple injured parties. The insurance company will not pay for more than the policy dictates.
In the event that your damages exceed the amount covered by insurance, the next step may be suing the at-fault driver. This can be difficult, especially when it comes time to collect. The driver would need to reasonably have the money you need to sue for, or there is no way to receive the compensation. This scenario becomes complex very quickly and will only be an option in certain situations.
9. Hiring a Lawyer
Insurance companies don’t have a reason to rush to pay a settlement. When you hire a reputable legal professional, this changes. The insurance company knows that the lawyer is willing to go to court to get the maximum compensation possible. This involves a lot of additional costs for the insurance company, and they would rather avoid that.
Hiring a lawyer who prepares your case and presents it to them motivates the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. This is one of the most important factors impacting your settlement’s ultimate value.
A Huntsville, TX and Rockdale, TX Attorney Can Help You Refuse Low Offers
Early on, an insurance company may offer you a low settlement amount for your claim. It may not cover some of your medical expenses or the costs of lost wages. Some people falsely believe they have to accept whatever offer comes up. Unfortunately, once a settlement claim is accepted, there’s not much more that can be done to raise the amount.
You are allowed to say no to a low settlement offer from your insurance company and counter with a higher number. This is one of the ways a personal injury attorney helps their clients. Your attorney can refuse the offer and counter with an appropriate number that will cover costs from the accident. Your attorney will know how to prove the value that you actually need for your settlement.
Hiring an experienced and reputable personal injury trial lawyer can remove some of the stress after a car accident. Your attorney’s job is to look out for your best interests. They will build a strong case to help you get the maximum compensation possible. Contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial lawyer today for a free consultation.