FAQ: Car Accident Settlements


Car accidents can leave any driver or passenger with a long list of tasks and phone calls. As if the emotional toll of an accident isn’t enough, those involved must also navigate conversations with insurance companies, law enforcement, and any other people that were involved in the incident. Hiring a personal injury attorney can give you guidance throughout this process of conversations. A personal injury lawyer will also help you seek compensation for the impact an accident has on your physical and mental abilities. Let’s explore some common questions clients have about car accident settlements.

How Are Settlements Calculated?

A good rule thumb for calculating an auto accident settlement is to triple the total expenses that resulted. For example, if your medical bills were $4,000 and your car repairs were $2,000 – it would equate to a settlement in the range of $18,000. It should be noted that for more severe accidents settlement amounts could quadruple.

This number can also change depending on who is on the other side of the accident settlement. If you’re filing against the other party’s insurance company, you’ll be limited on the amount of money you can receive. This is due to car insurance policies having a maximum payout for these types of situations.

One tip to get the most out of your settlement is to have a medical professional examine you immediately after the incident. Even if you don’t feel like you have any major injuries at the moment, it’s possible that a doctor might find back or spine-related injuries that would appear later on down the road. Plus, all car settlements tend to have a small timeline for providing evidence.

Should I Take the First Settlement Agreement Offered?

No, most of the time, the opposition will try to low-ball you. However, it should be noted that if you seek legal assistance, it’s possible the first settlement could be more in the ideal range of money you’re seeking. This is due to the intimidation of having an attorney present. Insurance companies know they can’t try to trick you if you have the support and guidance of a law team on your side.

Where Does the Settlement Money Come From?

In most cases, the money from your personal injury settlement will come from an insurance company. Though there are instances where the at-fault driver could have to directly pay the injured party, it is very rare. This is due to the requirement for every driver in the U.S. to have minimum liability auto insurance. Because each licensed driver needs car insurance for the protection of their vehicle, personal injury settlements tend to take a back seat in the eyes of car insurance companies. This is why lawyers are here to assist clients in obtaining justified compensation for their suffering.  

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

In most cases, the party injured by a car accident usually has up to 18 months to file a lawsuit or fight for a settlement. Though this may seem like a long period, it’s important to act as soon as possible if you’re looking to get the most out of your settlement. Here are a few benefits to filing a settlement case sooner rather than later:

  • Sufficient and clear evidence is available
  • Compensation will be received faster
  • Insurance companies will prioritize your case

With these advantages in mind, most injured parties act quickly. The best way to escalate your settlement and receive your justified money is to hire an attorney. Legal assistance can help you expedite the process and examine the range of compensation you should fight for.

If you’re contemplating a car accident settlement, reach out to Hester Law Group today for your free over-the-phone consultation: (253) 300-3034.

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