There is no precise answer to the question of what constitutes a fair settlement when someone has been injured in a vehicle accident.
Setting a Value on a Settlement Offer
Unlike personal property damage, where it’s easy to calculate the value of damaged car parts, harm to the human body isn’t as easily determined. Injuries sometimes have long-term consequences, possibly impacting the victim’s future quality of life and earning potential. The accident may also cause mental and psychological issues that must be addressed. Factors that may impact the settlement offer include the victim’s:
- Age and life expectancy.
- Health prior to the accident.
- Long-term impact on health.
- Mental state prior to the accident.
- Past earning history.
- Future earning potential.
- Employment history.
- Physical and mental pain and suffering.
- Relationship changes with spouse and children.
- Reduced ability to enjoy life.
Accepting a Settlement Offer
A fair settlement offer should include the costs of your medical care, the damage to your vehicle, and any other expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. If you’ve been permanently injured, or if you’re in need of long-term care, you should also receive compensation for those anticipated long-term costs.
You may think that the at-fault driver’s insurance company would have to cover all of your medical bills and pay a settlement to you, but that isn’t true. All of your medical bills must be paid out of the settlement funds you receive, which may leave little or nothing for your pain and suffering or lost wages. When you accept a settlement, the matter is typically closed forever afterward; it’s not possible to return to the court for a reassessment if you later realize that your settlement is too low.
You Need an Attorney
Unfortunately, the insurance company of the at-fault party will likely want to pay you as little as possible. Its first offer is therefore almost certain to be low. If you’re not sure that the insurance company is making a fair offer for your personal injury claim, you should speak with an attorney before you settle. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover everything you’re entitled to. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.