You’re driving down the street for a quick grocery run. You’re keeping to the speed limit like the good driver you are bobbing your head softly to your favorite jam on the radio. You slow down as you approach the red light, and then, bam! Someone rams into your car from behind.
Great, just what you need – a car accident on a Sunday afternoon.
You step out of the car and head over to the back to inspect the damage. And much to your surprise, the other driver seems pretty annoyed at you for “braking suddenly” without warning. You’re confused and a little amused. The nerve…
It looks like you have to wait for the police to arrive at the scene and determine who’s responsible. It looks like it’s going to turn into an insurance nightmare.
This is the first time something like this has happened to you, and a million questions start running through your mind. Who’s going to pay for this? Should you hire a lawyer? What is the average settlement for a car accident anyway? How will you prove that the other driver was at fault?
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Car Accident Settlement – Can You Put a Price on It?
Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. There’s no such thing as an average car accident settlement. It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Accidents vary in their severity, and so do the settlement amounts that come with them. It all boils down to the nature of the damages.
Some estimates put that number at around $20,000 to $30,000 for what would be considered a minor to a moderate collision. Severe car accidents, on the other hand, have settlement amounts that go well into the six-and seven-figure realm. Only a car accident lawyer would be able to give you a true reflection of what your settlement amount could potentially be worth.
The same applies to the actual settlement amounts truck accidents have. Once again, it’s all about the specific circumstances surrounding that particular incident and the extent to which the victim suffers physical, emotional, and financial injury.
You’re now likely wondering when to get a lawyer after an auto accident or if you should get one at all. The thing is – if you have to ask that question, then it’s probably a sign that you need to retain a lawyer as soon as you possibly can.
As a rule of thumb, anytime you’re going up against an insurance company with gladiators for lawyers, you should probably lawyer up as well.
Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend
Suppose you were involved in a car accident that resulted in physical injuries; you need to get a lawyer to help you file a claim with your insurance company along with that of the at-fault party. Here’s why.
Insurance companies may look like they’re in your corner, but they are not. At the end of the day, they’re running a business. As you know, every enterprise’s goal is to minimize the amount of money leaving the business and maximize what’s coming in. It’s all about their bottom line.
So, anytime a company has to pay out claim settlement, it’s bad for business. That’s why you need a lawyer to handle this process for you. Otherwise, you might get much less than what you deserve.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Here are some of the benefits of retaining a lawyer straight away:
- They are in a better position to identify all the parties from whom you can recover compensation.
- They can evaluate all the economic and non-economic losses you suffered in the accident and demand a settlement amount that adequately compensates you.
- They are familiar with all the different tactics insurance companies use to get you to settle for less.
- They protect your rights throughout the entire process and are not afraid to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle your claim for a reasonable amount of money.
If several weeks have gone by and you’ve been handling the claim yourself but don’t appear to be making much headway, you’re likely wondering – When is it too late to hire a lawyer? The good news is – there’s no time limit. As long as you haven’t signed or agreed to any settlement, you can retain a lawyer at any point to pick up from where you’ve left off.
How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits?
It is hornbook law that car accident victims can get full compensation for all the economic and non-economic losses and injuries caused by an accident. In reality, however, it’s not often that you come across cases where the victim received a settlement that exceeded the defendant’s insurance policy limits.
That is not to say it’s impossible. It’s just extremely rare. If your claim exceeds the policy limit, it is entirely likely that your attorney will opt to go the lawsuit route if they believe you have a strong case.
How Much Do Lawyers Take From Settlement?
Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee arrangement. This is where the attorney agrees to represent you but only collects their fee when the claim is resolved in your favor. If they lose, they don’t get paid.
The next logical question might be – why do lawyers take cases on contingency? After all, it might seem like they’re taking on a big risk.
Well, lawyers only agree to this arrangement when they’re assured of a quick and easy settlement. And the reward they get per case is quite substantial. A typical contingency fee in a car accident case could range anywhere between 25 and 33.3 percent if the case settled before trial and up to 40 percent if it went all the way to trial.
It’s a win-win for all since this arrangement serves as an incentive to get you the highest possible settlement amount in the shortest time.
Get an Experienced Lawyer to Get You the Best Settlement
If you were injured in a car accident, you need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to handle the claim on your own. You’re no match for the team of attorneys representing the interests of the insurance company.
That way, you can rest easy knowing that your rights are protected throughout the process.
If you have any legal queries, chat online with a Laws101.com attorney today.