If you are injured in a car accident, you may decide to seek monetary compensation. Depending on the nature of the accident, this may or may not involve bringing a lawsuit against the other driver (or, more accurately, the driver’s insurance company). In order to succeed in your case, it is generally best to enlist the services of a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents. For residents of Houston, finding a local, Houston personal injury lawyer is especially recommended.
A common question about car accident settlements: how much money can you actually expect to get? Certainly, you will desire compensation to account for damages to your vehicle, medical expenses, and any lost wages due to your physical recovery. Additionally, it is often reasonable to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experience.
As such, there is no single number or agreed-upon formula to deduce the car accident amounts average. There are just too many variables. The best way to get a calculation that’s specific to your case is to meet with a personal injury lawyer in Houston.
With that said, and while each accident is different, the typical compensation for a car accident can be anywhere from $25,000 to $150,000 on average. In some situations, it may be even more, but most accidents fall within this range.
How Do You Calculate the Settlement for a Car Accident?
Generally speaking, the compensation to which you are entitled following a car accident is the sum of your injuries plus vehicle repairs.
Let’s tackle these one at a time, starting with vehicle repairs. To calculate the value of damage to your vehicle, you will need to know:
- the original value of the car;
- the condition of the car at the time of the accident;
- the amount of depreciation the car has experienced;
- and the total mileage.
On top of these factors, you will need to consider the cost of specific parts necessary to repair the vehicle.
Calculating the cost of injuries is more challenging; obviously, there isn’t a standard market price for a broken arm or facial lacerations. It’s also worth noting that the effects of an injury can vary from one person to the next. For instance, if a star athlete injures his arm in a car accident, that can potentially mean massive financial and psychological damage. For an elderly, retired woman to injure her arm, the impact might not be as significant.
Once your lawyer gathers all of these details, they will be ready to run some numbers and provide you with an auto accident settlement calculation.
What is a Fair Settlement for a Car Accident, According to the Insurance Company?
While your lawyer will definitely be crunching some numbers on your behalf, don’t forget that the insurance company also plays a big role. Following a car accident, the liable party’s insurance company is typically required to pay the following costs:
- Medical bills and any related expenses
- Lost income/lost wages
- Compensation for pain and physical suffering
- Compensation for any permanent disfigurement or disability
- Emotional damages that stem from any of the above factors
If you do not claim pain and suffering, disfigurement, or disability, then calculating the value of your settlement is pretty easy: It usually involves simply adding medical expenses and auto repair bills. If you do claim something less tangible, like emotional damage, that’s when the insurance company might use a formula, like the multiplier method, to assess how much you’re owed. Naturally, you may wish to challenge their calculations via your personal injury lawyer.
How Much Money Do You Get from a Car Accident Settlement? Consider the Multiplier Method.
Attorneys and insurance companies alike rely on a formula known as the multiplier method to calculate the cost of pain and suffering damages.
So what does this mean, exactly? The basic premise is that if you are in a more serious accident, involving more major medical expenses or vehicle repair costs, then chances are you have experienced a higher level of physical pain and emotional distress. As such, the quantifiable costs of your injuries and vehicle repairs will be multiplied by a number, usually between one and five, to arrive at a more generous settlement amount.
Naturally, this method can be imprecise, and the number the insurance company arrives at will often differ from the one your personal injury lawyer provides. This is why it is often necessary to take legal action against the opposing insurance company.
It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of other formulas used to determine an auto accident settlement amount. One alternative is the per diem method, which involves generating a monetary amount for you to receive every day or week that you remain injured, in recovery, or out of work. Some lawyers prefer this approach, though again, it is not always precise.
I Was Hit By a Car. How Much Money Will I Get?
Ultimately, the best way to determine how much money you should seek in a car accident settlement is to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will weigh the relevant details, apply the most sensible calculation method, and supply you with an estimate.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Texas, make sure you find a qualified personal injury lawyer in your area. At McLaurin Law Firm, you can talk to a Houston personal injury attorney who can help you develop the best strategy for seeking compensation. At McLaurin Law, we have ample experience helping motorists in the Houston area get fair compensation following their accident, while also sparing them the hassle of dealing directly with their insurance company.
Don’t settle for a low payment, or for runaround from your insurer. Get the compensation you deserve following a major collision or even a small fender-bender. Contact our Houston personal injury lawyers today.
Jason McLaurin is a founding member of McLaurin Law. He has over a decade of experience representing clients at trial, arbitration, and mediation in matters concerning insurance policyholder recovery disputes, complex commercial litigation, and catastrophic personal injury claims. He also represents businesses as outside general counsel for clients in a variety of industries including construction, oil and gas, maritime, technology, and professional services. He is licensed and handles matters in both Texas and Louisiana.