In a car accident, those involved may have property damage and bodily injury claims. The at-fault party or their insurance company is responsible for covering the costs of property damage and physical injuries resulting from the accident.
Unfortunately, these costs can significantly burden the injured party depending on the nature and extent of the injuries. Personal injury claims, especially those arising from motor vehicle collisions, aim to relieve the injured party of this burden if the accident was not their fault.
The Elements of Negligence: Do You Have a Valid Injury Claim?
Determining the viability of a car accident claim involves assessing the elements of negligence. These elements include:
- Duty of care: The other driver owed a duty of care, such as obeying traffic rules.
- Breach of duty: The other driver breached that duty, such as not stopping at a stop sign.
- Injuries: The breach of duty led to your physical injuries.
- Damages: The injuries resulted in measurable damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If these elements of negligence are present in your accident, you likely have a car accident claim worth pursuing. However, it is advisable to consult with a car accident attorney in Denver to assess the validity of your claim.
What are Damages in a Car Accident Claim?
In a car accident, damages refer to the losses suffered by individuals involved. These can include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages typically cover tangible losses such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost income. On the other hand, non-economic damages include intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a reduced quality of life.
Seeking compensation for damages involves assessing the overall impact on the individual’s well-being and financial situation, with the goal of restoring them to a state as close as possible to their condition before the accident. Legal representation is often crucial in navigating the complications of quantifying and pursuing these damages.
Car Accident Injury Claims
Options for pursuing a car accident claim vary based on the insurance system in place. In no-fault insurance states, both parties typically use their insurance policies for compensation. In third-party fault states, the injured party has the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Compensation can cover property damage, medical expenses, and other related compensable damages directly caused by the accident.
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffered property damage or bodily injuries due to another person’s negligence, you have several options:
- File a claim with your insurance company (first-party claim).
- File a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance carrier (third-party claim).
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault person or party.
Deciding how to handle your insurance claim may be confusing, but consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can help you make an informed decision based on your situation and goals for your claim.
What Factors Can Determine What a Car Accident Claim Is Worth?
Hiring a seasoned car accident lawyer tends to result in higher compensation for injured parties. Various factors also contribute to determining the amount a victim may receive for their claim, including:
- The type and severity of their injuries
- The extent of pain and suffering endured
- The value of property damages incurred
- Accumulated medical bills and expenses
- Policy limits of relevant insurance coverage
- The strength of evidence supporting the claim
- Shared fault among multiple parties in the accident
- The jurisdiction where the lawsuit is filed
Car accident claims typically range from a few thousand to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, determined by these factors. Your car accident lawyer can give you a ballpark range of what you might expect based on similar cases during your initial consultation.
Maximizing Your Car Accident Claim Compensation
Injured parties can take practical steps to enhance their settlement outcomes. Prompt medical attention is crucial to document all injuries in the medical record. Additionally, hiring a reputable car accident attorney is essential. Collaborating with the attorney and providing necessary information when requested aids in expediting and maximizing the claim. Other actions contributing to maximizing personal injury settlements include:
- Closely following their doctor’s medical advice including any activity or work restrictions
- Collecting and preserving evidence, such as taking pictures of injuries
- Maintaining records, bills, and receipts for submission to the attorney
- Refraining from engaging with the insurance adjuster without the attorney’s presence
- Avoiding the acceptance of a settlement without prior consultation with an attorney
- Avoiding the use of social media, especially posting about the accident or injuries
Car Accident Claim Resolutions
After a car accident that results in an injury claim, resolution can take one of two paths. Those affected by injuries or property damage and the applicable insurance company may:
- Reach a settlement agreement without resorting to the legal system
- Proceed to civil court to litigate the claim
It’s strongly advised that individuals filing a car accident insurance claim secure representation from an experienced car accident attorney, whether opting for a settlement or litigation. Drawing from their knowledge and past experiences, lawyers understand a case’s rightful value. Without their guidance, there’s a risk of settling for less than you deserve for your damages and injuries. Attorneys can negotiate fair settlements with insurance companies and their legal representatives. Suppose the insurance company won’t offer full and fair compensation and negotiations prove unsuccessful. In that case, they can pursue the claim through litigation in civil court.
It’s important to note that agreeing to a settlement often involves signing an agreement “with prejudice.” This agreement stipulates that the claimant won’t file future lawsuits for the same accident upon receiving compensation. Such an agreement protects the insurance company from further legal actions even after settling the case.
Settlements are often preferable in handling car accident claims for several reasons:
- Faster claim resolution
- Cost-effectiveness compared to court proceedings
- More control over the resolution process for all involved parties
- Less stress for victims and witnesses who can avoid trial testimonies with a settlement
- Absence of a public record that may include private details, in contrast to the public documentation associated with a court case
Factors Influencing the Possibility of a Settlement in Car Accident Claims
Determining whether to pursue a settlement in a car accident claim involves carefully considering various factors by both parties. These factors play a crucial role in deciding the appropriateness of a settlement and the agreed-upon amount. Key considerations include the following:
Severity of Injuries
More severe injuries, such as damage to the spinal cord, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, disfigurement, loss of mobility, or permanent loss of a body part, generally result in higher settlement amounts. Soft tissue injuries, like bruising or sprains, usually settle for comparatively lesser amounts.
Life Disruptions from Injuries
Injuries that significantly disrupt a victim’s daily activities or job responsibilities are more likely to lead to an out-of-court settlement. These injuries are often easier to prove, making settlements a practical option.
Clear liability on the part of the at-fault party increases the likelihood of a settlement. If the extent of the at-fault party’s liability is evident, their legal representation is often motivated to avoid the uncertainties of a court trial and may prefer negotiating a settlement.
Cases with the potential for negative publicity, whether in the news or on social media, may prompt a higher inclination toward settlement. At-fault parties may find settling preferable to risking damaging public attention and associated costs.
The expenses related to a lawsuit can be significant for both parties. When a case is already challenging for the defense, they are often more inclined to settle. Settling helps reduce overall litigation costs, making it a reasonable choice when the case is not firmly in their favor.
Dealing with an Uninsured Driver
While not mandated by law in most states, many drivers opt for uninsured motorist coverage in their auto insurance policies. This coverage becomes extremely useful when you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance coverage. If you have this coverage, you can initiate a claim with your own insurance provider. They will cover your damages within the policy limits and may seek compensation from the at-fault uninsured party. The same process applies if you fall victim to a hit-and-run driver.
However, suppose you do not have uninsured motorist coverage at the time of the accident. In that case, consulting car accident lawyers becomes crucial. They can guide you in exploring options to pursue financial recovery from the uninsured driver responsible for your accident. Depending on the extent of property damage and medical expenses incurred due to the other driver, pursuing a legal claim against them may be the best course of action.
Affording Legal Help After a Car Accident
Meeting with an attorney for various legal services often comes with upfront costs, posing a challenge for individuals with limited financial resources, especially if they’re dealing with everyday expenses and medical bills following an accident. This financial constraint can deter car accident victims from seeking the necessary legal assistance after an injury.
However, the good news is that many car accident attorneys offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations for injury victims. Furthermore, if you choose to hire them, these attorneys frequently work on a contingency fee basis, which means:
- No upfront payment to secure the attorney’s services
- Payment to the attorney as a predetermined percentage of your settlement or court award after receipt
- There is no obligation to pay the attorney if they are unable to secure compensation for your damages
Therefore, initiating a discussion with an attorney about your claim typically involves no financial risk. Often, car accident attorneys secure larger settlements than injury victims without legal representation.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are generally opposed to claimants having legal representation. Attempting to handle your car accident claim without an attorney may jeopardize the rightful compensation for your damages and the associated benefits an attorney can offer.
The Timeline of a Car Accident Case
Predicting the exact duration of a car accident case is nearly impossible. However, consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer allows for an estimation of the time required to pursue damages on your behalf. Simple cases with clear liability might conclude within a few weeks or months, while more complex cases can extend for several months or even a year or more. While obtaining a quick settlement is preferable, patience in negotiations with the insurance company often yields a more just outcome.
Do You Have Injuries from a Recent Car Accident? Connect with a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve recently experienced a car accident and are curious about the potential value of your claim, determining an exact figure can be challenging. There’s no universal answer or formula to ascertain the amount you might receive. To find out what your claim might be worth, it’s best to schedule a consultation with a skilled local Denver personal injury attorney. By examining the specifics of your accident and injuries, they can provide a case estimate based on your unique circumstances.