Nine Factors That Determine How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

Learn about the factors that can impact how much to expect for a car accident settlement in Portland, including what you can do to maximize how much you receive for an injury claim.

Yellow background with black and white animation of car crash
Headshot of white male with short beard in dark suit

Aaron Tillman

January 27, 2023 12:00 AM

One of the most common questions a car accident attorney is asked is, “How much will I receive for my accident settlement?” There is not an average car accident settlement. Instead, the answer to that question depends on the facts and circumstances of your case.

An experienced personal injury lawyer analyzes each factor that impacts the settlement for a car accident claim. The attorney works to minimize factors that could lower the value of a claim while maximizing factors that increase how much a car accident claim is worth.

Nine factors that could impact how much to expect from a car accident settlement are:

1. Fault for the Cause of the Car Accident

In most cases, the party who caused the car accident is liable for the victim’s damages. However, contributory negligence can impact how much money the victim receives for damages.

If you are partially to blame for the cause of the car accident, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you live in a state with a bar to recovery for contributory fault, you might not receive any money for your damages if you are more than 50% to blame for the car crash.

You should never admit fault for a car crash without talking with a car accident attorney. Insurance adjusters often twist victims' statements to falsely accuse them of contributing to the cause of a car accident.

2. The Amount of Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability insurance compensates accident victims for damages. Most states require minimum amounts of liability car insurance. For example, some states require drivers to have a minimum of $25,000 in car insurance for bodily injury.

Unfortunately, $25,000 is not much money when a person sustains a severe injury in a car wreck. However, a car accident lawyer might be able to help you recover more money by filing an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company. You might also consider pursuing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and other parties.

3. The Severity and Type of Injuries After Your Auto Accident

Typically, the damages in a car accident case increase as the severity of the victim’s injuries increases. Therefore, the amount of a car accident settlement for a case involving a spinal cord injury might be higher than the settlement amount for a case involving a minor injury.

Furthermore, victims who sustain permanent impairments or disabilities can seek damages for future monetary losses. They might also receive compensation for ongoing pain and suffering.

4. Strength of Evidence

You have the burden of proving that the other driver caused the car accident. Your car accident settlement is more likely to be higher if you have strong evidence proving fault. Weak evidence or a lack of evidence could lower the amount of money you receive for a car accident claim.

A personal injury law firm has the resources to investigate a car accident case and gather evidence. A lawyer might hire expert witnesses to assist in strengthening the evidence in your case.

5. Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Most people understand they can receive compensation for their lost wages and medical bills. However, you can also demand reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses can include, but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with household chores
  • Someone to help with personal care
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
  • Medical equipment and supplies for your home
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications
  • Modifications to your home and vehicle because of a permanent impairment

You can increase the amount of a car accident settlement by carefully documenting your out-of-pocket expenses. Keep copies of all receipts, bills, and invoices related to your car accident, injuries, and recovery.

6. Ability to Return to Work

A car accident settlement includes reimbursement for loss of income while you recover from your injuries. However, you could receive compensation for future lost wages if you cannot return to work.

You could receive compensation for diminished earning capacity if you cannot earn as much money after an accident because of an impairment. A car accident lawyer might hire a financial expert to assist in calculating the loss of future wages to maximize your settlement amount.

7. The Amount of Medical Expenses

Your medical expenses are another factor in your car accident settlement. Victims can recover reimbursement for all costs related to medical treatment and care for car accident injuries.

However, insurance companies try to undervalue medical expenses. For example, the company might use the amount your health insurance provider or you paid to the medical provider. However, this amount might be discounted.

A lawyer carefully reviews all medical bills to ensure the correct amounts are included in the calculation for medical expenses.

8. The Willingness of the Parties to Settle

Some car insurance companies are easier to deal with than other companies. If the insurance company is unwilling to agree to the amount you demand for settlement, you might be forced to accept a lower settlement amount. Otherwise, your option is to file a lawsuit and let a jury decide the case.

Before accepting a settlement offer, talk with a personal injury attorney. An experienced car accident lawyer can analyze the pros and cons of going to trial versus accepting a settlement offer. You should have this information before deciding whether to accept a settlement amount.

9. Whether You Have A Car Accident Lawyer On Your Side

Many people are unaware they are entitled to more money for their car accident claim. Insurance companies prefer accident victims to represent themselves because it is easier to take advantage of the victims’ lack of legal knowledge.

When you hire an experienced car accident attorney with a record of winning cases, the insurance company considers that factor when making a settlement offer. The company may be more willing to settle for a fair amount when it knows you have a lawyer willing to take your case to court if the company refuses to negotiate in good faith.

Aaron Tillmann is a personal injury attorney and founder of Tillmann Law LLC, the law firm where clients come first. He has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injury victims in Portland. Contact Tillmann Law LLC for a free consultation today.

Headline Image: iStock/Best Content Production Group

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