How Much To Expect From an El Paso Car Accident Settlement
David Muñoz | June 30, 2023 | Car Accidents
Most personal injury claims resolve at the settlement table, not in court. Nevertheless, the parties’ expectations about how much money a court would award exert a great influence on settlement negotiations. To estimate the value of a car accident settlement in advance, you need to look at the factors that influence that value.
How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
It is impossible to give a precise figure for a car accident settlement until after a deal has already been negotiated. Even an average is of little utility since so many settlements deviate greatly from the average.
Nevertheless, for what it’s worth, a survey of car accident claims over a recent five-year period reported an average settlement value of $23,900.
Factors That Influence The Amount of Your Settlement
The following factors, among others, influence the ultimate value of an El Paso car accident claim.
The Severity of Your Injuries
There is a big difference between a broken thumb and a fractured skull. There are thousands of ways to injure the human body, and many car accident victims suffer several different injuries simultaneously.
How much money you recover depends on how much medical treatment you require, how your injuries affect your ability to work, and how much pain and suffering you must endure.
The Length of Your Recovery Period
The recent popularity of “remote work” notwithstanding, it is almost impossible to work while you are hospitalized. Even after you leave the hospital, you will probably need some time to recover at home without having to concern yourself with job responsibilities. The longer you spend recovering, the more work you miss and the more money you lose.
Are Your Injuries Permanent?
If your injuries are permanent, do they prevent you from performing your job duties? Will they prevent you from returning to your pre-injury occupation? Will they prevent you from returning to work at all? If your injuries force you into early retirement, you will qualify for compensation to cover all of the wages you would have earned until you reach retirement age. The younger you were at the time of your accident, the greater this sum will be.
How Much You Were Earning Before the Accident
The more money you were earning before your accident, the more money you will lose by taking time off work to recover.
When more than one party is at fault for an accident, Texas applies a modified comparative negligence rule. If you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, your total compensation will be zero, no matter how serious your injuries are. If you were 50% or less at fault, you will lose compensation in exact proportion to your percentage of fault. If you are 25% at fault, for example, and your damages totaled $100,000, you would recover only $75,000 in court. This is also likely to be the amount the opposing party is willing to settle for.
The Availability of Insurance Coverage
Texas requires every driver with an automobile registered in the state to purchase at least the following amount of insurance:
- Bodily injury liability: $30,000 per person;
- Bodily injury liability: $60,000 per accident, no matter how many people are injured; and
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident.
If you finance the purchase of your vehicle, it is likely that your lender will require you to purchase additional insurance to cover the value of your own vehicle in the event of a collision.
On-duty rideshare drivers (Uber/Lyft) and commercial truck drivers carry far more insurance than the foregoing totals.
Can You Hold a Third Party Responsible?
The At-Fault Party’s Employer
If the at-fault party was acting within the scope of their employment duties at the time of the accident, you can hold their employer liable. If the employer is a company, the company probably has the financial resources that their employee lacks.
A Bar or Nightclub
Under the Texas dram shop law, you can sue a bar or nightclub for a DUI accident if they served the perpetrator after they had already become visibly intoxicated. There must be an obvious causal relationship between the nightclub serving the perpetrator alcohol and the occurrence of the accident.
In a car accident claim, “property damage” usually refers to damage to a vehicle. Strictly speaking, a property damage claim is not a personal injury claim. Nevertheless, for the sake of efficiency, courts usually resolve vehicle damage claims together with personal injury claims. The more expensive the vehicle, the greater the property damage claim is likely to be.
Your Own Mistakes
There are dozens of mistakes you can make that will reduce the value of your claim or destroy it entirely. Here are a few of them:
- Delaying medical treatment. This is an invitation for the insurance company to claim that your injuries didn’t occur until after your car accident.
- Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions. Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions might increase the severity of your injuries. The defendant is not responsible for paying for any losses that you could have avoided.
- Talking about your case on social media. A court can use your social media posts as evidence, and “anything you say can and will be used against you.”
- Contradicting yourself. The opposing party, especially an insurance company, is likely to be skilled at eliciting contradictory statements. They can then use this inconsistency to attack your credibility.
- Making other statements that an insurance company can use against you. Even if you do not contradict yourself, the opposing party can use certain statements against you.
Your lawyer can help you avoid mistakes such as these.
Talk to an Experienced El Paso Car Accident Lawyer
No lawyer can guarantee that you will win your case, much less walk away with a certain amount of money. What hiring an experienced lawyer can do for you, however, is enhance the odds that you will receive a generous settlement. Consider scheduling a free initial consultation with an experienced El Paso car accident lawyer.
Contact the El Paso Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
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Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108