Each car accident is different, and as a result, each settlement. Some result in significant property damage and serious injuries while others are fender benders that cause just a few scratches. Whenever individuals are involved in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, they deserve to be compensated fairly for their losses. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many ask their Atlanta auto accident attorney about how much they’re likely to get in compensation.
Accident victims can typically recover various types of damages. If you have been involved in a car accident you need to contact a lawyer to get a better idea of how much your case is worth. In the meantime, let’s look at some of the damages you can claim, how they’re calculated, and how you can ensure you get fair compensation.
Types of Damages Following Atlanta Car Accidents
The amount you can get depends on several factors. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the average auto liability claim for property damage was $4,525 in 2019. Meanwhile, the average claim for bodily injury was $18,417 in that same year.
It is important to remember that these figures are merely averages. Therefore, some people will get more money and others will get less, depending on the nature of their losses.
Damages resulting from personal injury cases are typically categorized into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property repair or replacement costs.
These damages can usually be easily quantified and verified via invoices, estimates, payslips, and other financial or monetary statements. That’s why it’s important to hold on to all documentation related to your injuries.
Economic damages vary significantly depending on each person’s unique situation. For example, if you suffered mild whiplash you may receive less than $10,000. However, damage to the spinal cord could easily lead to a settlement of over $1 million. Other injuries that tend to result in large settlements include severe brain injuries and severe back injuries. Wrongful death cases also result in sizeable settlement amounts for families.
Meanwhile, non-economic damages refer to intangible losses such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. These types of losses don’t come with clear financial values but attorneys can still gather and present evidence to support these claims.
If a case makes it all the way to trial and the court decides in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant may be ordered to pay punitive or exemplary damages. This is only done in cases where the defendant was grossly negligent or they displayed significant disregard for the lives of other people. Therefore, while punitive damages are rare, they may be awarded in hit-and-run and drunk driving accidents.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and prevent them from acting similarly in the future. However, Georgia law caps them at $250,000 in most cases and 75 percent of the total goes to the state treasury, not the injured person. The cap doesn’t apply when the defendant acted intentionally to cause harm or they were under the influence of intoxicants.
How Car Accident Settlements Are Calculated
A number of factors come into play when insurance companies calculate the value of a car accident claim. These include:
- The amount of insurance each driver has
- The severity of the injuries
- Whether the injuries are permanent or long-term
- The type of medical treatment required
- The injured person’s degree of fault in the crash
- The strength of the evidence proving the injured person’s injuries and damages
Your attorney will first seek to get the insurance company to pay an amount that adequately covers your losses. If they can’t negotiate a fair settlement, they may recommend taking the case to trial so the court can order the at-fault party to pay you a certain amount.
However, most car accident cases are settled out of court since trials can be costly and time-consuming. It’s difficult to predict the decision the judge or jury will make.
Identifying a Fair Settlement Offer
Many car accident victims are unaware of how much their case is really worth and they accept the first offer the insurance company makes. This is usually a low offer that a car accident lawyer would have advised them to reject. That’s why it’s so important to seek legal advice.
Accident victims who have lawyers working on their behalf tend to get higher settlements than those who don’t. That’s because attorneys know what’s a reasonable settlement amount and they’ll see the initial offer as merely the starting point for negotiations. They’ll also be able to accurately quantify your losses.
You may be able to calculate your medical bills and lost wages but projecting future lost income or putting a dollar figure on pain and suffering may be difficult. In contrast, attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and access to experts to get you a fair offer. It is especially important to consult an attorney following a serious accident.
The higher the claim is, the more effort the insurance company will dedicate to minimizing the amount they have to pay. While you may be able to get a few hundred dollars without an attorney following a minor accident, you’ll have a much harder time getting tens of thousands of dollars. Given all that you have to deal with in the aftermath of a crash, you shouldn’t have to deal with insurance adjusters and paperwork as well.
Get in Touch With a Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta Today
If you need a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, contact Calvin Smith Law for a free consultation. We will evaluate your case to determine whether you have grounds to seek compensation. If you do and you choose to hire us, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for all your losses.
We’re skilled negotiators but we’ll take your matter to court if necessary. There’s no need to try to secure compensation on your own. You can focus on healing from your injuries while we take care of the legal issues. Contact us today to get an expert opinion on your case.