Car accidents are not a rare occurrence on Alabama roads, and it doesn’t matter where you go. In fact, according to Drive Safe Alabama, most crashes statewide occur within urban areas while most fatalities occur in rural regions. While many of these accidents result in only minor property damage, any collision can still be traumatic and life-altering. If you have been seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
In the hours immediately following an accident, financial compensation may not seem like a top priority – receiving necessary urgent medical treatment and other essential steps must be taken first. However, as medical bills and lost wages begin to add up, a serious car accident can often lead to financial stress. You may wonder what you could receive as a settlement for your collision, or what average you can expect.
The difficulty with determining an “average” settlement is that no two accidents are the same – in reality, there is no “average” accident. Each collision has a set of unique circumstances, and each victim has his or her individual damages. However, there are a few factors that can have an impact on the amount of a settlement you may be able to receive.
As well, a free consultation and claim analysis with one of the team members at Norris Injury Lawyers can help you understand the compensation you may be able to recover. We are available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call our office today at (800) 477-7510.
Factors That Can Have an Impact on Your Potential Settlement Amount
As a general rule, a car accident settlement is usually the sum of all the economic and non-economic damages multiplied by a number that is based on the severity of the damages suffered. Needless to say, you want that multiplier to be higher rather than lower.
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, he or she will thoroughly investigate the individual details of your potential claim to maximize your compensation. Let’s take a closer look at seven factors that can affect how much of a settlement you may be able to receive.
Are you working with a personal injury lawyer?
In many cases, the settlement amount you are able to receive is largely dependent on whether or not you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer or not. The difference in settlement amounts is staggering – according to the Insurance Research Council, personal injury victims with a lawyer representing them receive, on average, 3 times more money than those who did not work with an attorney.
More importantly than simply working with any personal injury lawyer, you should make sure to work with an attorney who is compassionate and understanding of you but also firm and aggressive with the insurance company.
Because you shouldn’t settle for a low offer to get paid faster. You want a lawyer who is willing to go as far as it takes to care of your best interests.
Where did the accident occur?
Each state has its own rules surrounding personal injury law and car insurance. At times, a collision may occur in a different state than the one where your vehicle is insured and registered. In these cases, it is the rules in the state where the accident occurred that will apply to the claims process.
For example, in some states, there is a cap or a limit on settlement amounts after a car accident. In Alabama, however, there are no caps on economic or non-economic damages in most car accident cases. During a consultation with the team at Norris Injury Lawyers, you can learn more about the state-specific rules that may impact your potential claim.
Who was at fault?
In some states, often called no-fault states, car accident victims are able to recover compensation for their damages through their personal insurance coverage, no matter who was to blame for the collision. However, Alabama is one of only a few states that follows a pure contributory negligence system for personal injury claims.
Under this system, a person who is found to be any part to blame for the accident cannot recover any compensation for his or her damages. Even if the share of fault is only determined to be 1 percent, this would bar a victim from recovering any amount of the damages.
Insurance companies can try to use this to their advantage by trying to cast blame on the victim in an effort to avoid a payout. Despite this, local Birmingham, Alabama, personal injury lawyers well versed in state law are often able to fight the insurance company and recover compensation for their clients.
Your lawyer may also be able to identify more than one party who is liable for the accident. For instance, while the other driver may have been negligent by driving too fast or failing to use a turn signal, perhaps there was also a defect in the vehicle that also contributed to the accident. This could make the manufacturer partially liable as well. Identifying all potentially liable parties is essential in recovering maximum compensation.
How serious was the injury?
One major factor that will influence the amount of compensation you may be able to receive is the nature and seriousness of the injury. All relevant medical expenses should be included in the settlement, so the higher the medical bills are, the higher the settlement should be as well.
For example, some injuries need long-term care or treatment, perhaps even resulting in a disability with a need for ongoing care and support. Additional compensation can also be pursued in the case of paralysis, amputations, scarring and disfigurement, and other permanent limitations or losses.
Of course, supporting documents are also necessary to further strengthen your case. Your lawyer can gather all necessary evidence and documents, such as medical receipts and records, as well as doctor’s notes and opinions.
What were the economic and non-economic damages of the accident?
Economic damages refer to the specific financial losses related to the accident. This includes all related medical expenses, including ambulance costs, medications, and physical therapy. In addition to the medical expenses, economic damages cover lost wages as a result of the accident. Days of lost work, as well as a reduction in earning capacity over time, can be included in your compensation.
However, the damages caused by a car accident go further than the purely financial costs. Stress, pain and suffering, and emotional distress are real damages that do not have an easily discernible dollar value. These non-economic damages should also be compensated as part of the settlement.
How much insurance coverage is available?
Another factor depending on the parties involved is the amount of insurance coverage that is available. For example, in Alabama, the minimum amount of mandatory liability insurance coverage is $25,000 for one victim and $50,000 in the case of multiple victims.
When an accident only results in minor damages, that amount of coverage will likely be enough. However, for serious injuries, lengthy hospital stays, or long-term care, this minimum amount of insurance can quickly be used up. Additionally, if there are other victims with whom the money must be shared, this reduces the amount available to cover your damages.
In addition to the liable party’s coverage, there may be other sources of insurance money, such as uninsured/underinsured or PIP coverage.
What were the details of the accident?
There are a number of accident-specific details that can also affect a potential settlement amount after a crash. During the investigation, your personal injury lawyer will take the time to examine details such as:
- Finding eyewitnesses
- Collecting video evidence
- Verifying the police report
- Identifying liability, such as distracted driving or driving under the influence
Thus, a strong case can be constructed, improving your chances of recovering a higher settlement amount.
Norris Injury Lawyers Can Fight for Your Maximum Compensation
In the aftermath of a serious car accident, many important details demand your attention, and the health and safety of you and your family is paramount. When you work with a personal injury lawyer at Norris Injury Lawyers, you can leave the essential legal steps in our hands while you can focus on your family and your recovery.
Our legal team is committed to offering our clients personalized, professional, and prompt legal representation while we fight to recover the maximum compensation available on your behalf. When you work with us, you can be confident that your legal rights are being protected by an experienced and compassionate legal team on your side.
As part of our No Fee Guarantee®, we believe that your family has the right to receive quality legal assistance regardless of your financial situation. That is why we charge no fees for an initial consultation and case evaluation – you don’t owe us a dime unless we get you money.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with our team and learn more about your legal options after your Birmingham, Alabama, car accident.