Car accident settlements vary depending on various factors, and there truly is no typical car accident settlement amount in Georgia and the Carolinas. In order to understand what the settlement for a car accident will be, an attorney must review the case and its context.
Depending on who is at fault, their policy limits, the damages and injuries incurred in the accident, and other factors, a settlement payout could be as low as a few hundred dollars to as high as hundreds of thousands or more.
How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?
Car accident settlement processes can vary, because each case comes with its own set of circumstances. Generally speaking; however, the steps look something like this:
After you get in a car accident, report it to the police, and get medical treatment (if necessary), you may want to consider getting in touch with a law firm for a free case review. They can give you an idea of how the car accident settlement process will work for you and what other steps you can take to build your claim.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys can obtain the accident report, negotiate with adjusters, and facilitate all other legal processes so that you can focus on recovery.
Once you have signed a contract with a personal injury lawyer, they will contact all the involved parties, including any insurance companies that may be a part of your claim.
Your lawyer will also collect your insurance coverage information and find out how much insurance money is available for you through your own insurance plan.
From the moment your attorney takes your case, they will start an initial investigation to obtain all the meaningful evidence available to back your car accident claim. This evidence may include:
- Photographs of the accident and your injuries
- A copy of the accident report from the police
- Eyewitness accounts
- Medical records and bills that you have incurred so far
- Traffic citations
- Traffic camera footage
During your car accident, you may have incurred injuries that require ongoing treatment. Your lawyer can monitor the progress of your medical treatment, following up with your doctors to gauge your progress. Your attorney may do this weekly to keep tabs on your medical bills and other documents that may help them build a solid case and settlement package.
Once your doctor has signed off on your medical care, your personal injury attorneys are able to put together your car accident settlement demand package, for negotiation with the insurance companies. This package contains evidence that reflects the ways the accident has affected your life financially and non-financially.
After your lawyer reviews the damages and builds your settlement package, they will demand compensation from the insurance company. Often, the insurer will come back with an offer that won’t cover all of your losses. Your lawyer can negotiate with them until both parties reach common ground, and depending on how you feel about the offer on the table, settlement may be the final step.
If your attorney and the insurer cannot agree on a fair settlement; however, your lawyer will prepare the case for a trial to continue the fight for compensation. If the case proceeds to court, your attorney will be there to represent you until you receive your car accident settlement.
What Factors Affect Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
There are several factors that ultimately affect the settlement you receive from a car accident. It’s important to understand what these are, and whether each of them will increase or decrease the value of your claim. Some factors that can impact your payout include:
Cases where there is a liability dispute often result in lower payouts. In other words, if the other driver involved in the car accident fails to take responsibility, or blames you for the accident, it can affect your payout. The stronger the other party’s case, the more likely they will be to take their chances with a jury. In these cases, settling for a lower amount to avoid potentially losing the trial is not uncommon.
Furthermore, South Carolina and Georgia observe comparative fault law. This means that you will not receive the total amount of your damages if you were partially at fault for the accident. Instead, the amount payable to you will be reduced by your percentage of fault, and your fault for the accident cannot exceed 50%. If you are 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover compensation.
North Carolina, on the other hand, is a contributory negligence state. That means that if you contributed in any way to the accident or your personal injury, you won’t be able to recover compensation. This is true regardless of how much fault is assigned to your actions, which makes it that much more important to ensure that you are not determined to be in any way liable for your injury.
Whether or not the other party involved in the crash has liability insurance could impact your car accident settlement. Uninsured drivers do not have an insurance company to protect them from liability claims, and, unfortunately, these drivers rarely have the resources needed to pay damages. That’s why it’s often a good idea to consider adding uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy.
You could also face challenges in an accident settlement with underinsured drivers. A driver is underinsured when the limits on their liability policy are below the total value of your damages. An underinsured driver is personally liable for any damages beyond what their insurance covers, and they may not be able to provide the type of settlement an insurance company might pay.
The extent of your physical injuries could play a big part in determining your settlement. Injuries can lead to costly medical care and other expenses, and severe injuries are likely to require extensive financial support.
A serious injury could require weeks, months, or years of treatment to return you to full health. In some cases, you could face lifelong consequences like chronic pain or disabilities. These conditions could result in a larger payout following a car accident.
Each state has unique laws regarding minimum insurance coverage, liability, traffic laws, and governing laws that affect car accident settlement claims. Georgia and the Carolinas are all “at fault” states, which means that the driver who caused the crash will always be responsible for paying the losses. In other words, drivers in these states can file lawsuits to seek compensation even for minor crashes and basic medical expenses.
Although Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are all at-fault states, it’s important to keep in mind that liability does not work the same way in all of them. Georgia and South Carolina are comparative negligence states, which means drivers can receive some compensation even if they were partially at fault. North Carolina; however, is a contributory negligence state, meaning that if a driver was just 1% at fault they cannot receive compensation for the accident.
Financial loss is another major factor in determining car accident settlement amounts. It can include vehicle damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages that may occur from not being able to work. If you sustained substantial financial losses due to a car accident, then the settlement should reflect that.
Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia
There is, unfortunately, no reliable way to determine the average car accident settlement amount in Georgia or the Carolinas. Each case is different and the details of each, like the severity of the accident or the kinds of injuries or damages caused, will greatly impact the amount of money offered in settlement negotiations. Some cases can be worth a few thousand dollars, while others could recover hundreds of thousands in damages.
The amount of compensation a victim receives often depends on negotiations between their attorney and the insurance company, as well as other parties named liable in the victim’s claim. Your lawyer will determine the appropriate payout for your case by carefully gathering all the facts, documents, expenses, and other related losses.
Car Accident Settlement Amounts Awarded to Sink Law Clients
Filing a settlement claim can feel like added stress while recovering from a car accident, but you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will work hard to give you some peace of mind.
Although our results for past clients do not guarantee compensation for future cases, we are committed to pursuing the maximum recoverable damages in each unique case. Here are just some of our results:
- $4.1 million total recovered for a family hit by a truck
- $3 million total recovered for the family of a moped accident victim
- $2.5 million total recovered for two clients hurt in a highway collision
- $1.7 million for a client injured when hit by another car
- $1 million for a group of four people injured in an auto collision
- $957,865 for a family injured by a distracted driver
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
There are three sorts of damages possible in Georgia and the Carolinas, like in other jurisdictions:
- Economic damages can be objectively quantified using estimates, invoices, projections and statements. They are easy to quantify because they’re valued in monetary terms, and they can include:
- Past and upcoming medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Calculating each of these damages can vary greatly depending on the situation. For example, the average cost of medical care depends on the extent and nature of the injuries incurred.
- Calculating compensation for non-economic damages is more complex. It involves putting a monetary value on something as subjective as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of companionship or consortium.
- The most common methods lawyers and insurance companies use to calculate non-economic damages are either the multiplier method or the per diem method.
- The per diem method basically demands a dollar amount for each day you live with your injuries.
- The multiplier method, on the other hand, multiplies specific damages by a figure between 1.5 and 5 to determine the severity of your injuries. The multiplier is dependent on factors such as:
- How serious your injuries are
- How quickly you’re expected to recover
- How your injuries affect daily life
- How medical practitioners documented such injuries
- The diagnosis and prognosis
- Whether you will experience ongoing issues
- How much fault is apportioned to the other party
- Keep in mind that both Georgia and South Carolina operate under comparative negligence rules, which means you are not able to claim damages if you’re more than 50% to blame for your losses. North Carolina operates under contributory negligence meaning that you are not eligible for compensation if you’re found even 1% responsible for the accident.
- Punitive or exemplary damages intend to punish offenders who’ve engaged in outrageous, reckless or irresponsible behavior.
How Do Car Accident Settlement Payouts Work?
During a car accident settlement, your total compensation demands will include economic and non-economic damages. Upon receiving a settlement award, you must first pay back any money owed from your car accident case: medical expenses, attorney fees, property damages and more. You may also use these funds to cover your own economic damages, and the remainder of your settlement will be your personal source of compensation.
If you agree to a settlement following a car accident, you may have the option to receive compensation in a single lump sum or a structured settlement with gradually dispersed payments. Your attorney can help you determine which option may be right for you based on your situation.
How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?
The time it takes to settle a car accident case can vary depending on a variety of factors including: the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, whether a lawsuit is filed, the types of damages sought, and more. Settlements can take as little as 3 months or as long as a few years.
The best way to understand how long your settlement may take is to schedule a free case review with one of our car accident attorneys.
We Maximize Your Car Accident Settlement Payouts
There are many factors that can affect your car accident settlement payout. While we may not be able to define what an average payout looks like, we can review your specific case, and work to provide insight into what your payout may include. Another aspect to consider is time: car accident settlements can take a long time if you don’t have legal representation.
Our experts at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you understand what to expect, serve as your advocates as you pursue compensation following a car accident, and work to ensure you have the potential to maximize your settlement amount.
To learn more about how we could help, call (888) 612-7001 for a free consultation today.