Car accident injuries, even minor ones, can have a serious impact on your life or the life of your loved ones. If you have been injured in a crash, insurance companies may try to offer you a settlement deal right away. But how do you know if you are actually getting a reasonable settlement compared to the average settlement for a car accident in Florida?
This is where hiring a personal injury attorney can really help. Personal injury attorneys specialize in helping accident victims get the most out of their settlement, ensuring they are properly compensated for their pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one were injured in a collision in Florida due to someone else’s negligence, speak with the Riverview car accident lawyers at Calandro Law. Our attorneys will fight to make sure you are getting what you deserve out of a car accident settlement and not simply what the insurance companies think they can get away with.
Common Injuries Suffered During Collisions
Car accidents can be violently forceful collisions that can lead to a wide range of injuries from minor to severe. People often suffer bruising, soft tissue damage, and lacerations during a car crash. However, some of the most common injuries suffered in a car accident are neck and back injuries.
Common injuries sustained in a collision include:
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Vertebrae fractures
- Severed spinal cord
- Spinal stenosis
Any of these injuries can lead to debilitating pain and have a negative impact on your quality of life. Even a low impact collision can lead to painful injuries, such as whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head is jerked forcefully back and forth causing muscle tear in the neck. This is possibly the most common injury from car accidents because the head is not secured while the torso is.
Anyone involved in a car accident should immediately get checked by a doctor for any injuries. Accidents cause a large amount of adrenaline to be released into the body and many people may not even realize they have suffered an injury until days or even a week later.
Seeking medical care right away can help you diagnose any potential injuries and promptly receive treatment before injuries are worsened. Getting examined quickly after an accident and keeping detailed documentation of your diagnosis and treatment can also help strengthen your claim for an insurance settlement or personal injury suit.
Average Value Of A Car Accident Settlement
While the average settlement value for a car accident in Florida can be a helpful thing to know, it can also be a misleading figure. Every car accident case is unique and has distinctive factors that will have an impact on how insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers calculate the value of a settlement.
In 2013, the average settlement value for bodily injury claims due to car accidents was $15,433 according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. However, this can be a misleading figure to go by as your settlement will be determined largely by the unique circumstances surrounding your accident and not by Florida’s average settlement value.
How Is The Value Of A Car Accident Settlement Calculated?
There are a number of factors that an insurance adjuster and a personal injury attorney will look at in order to determine the overall value of your claim. These factors can include:
- Severity of injuries
- Medical bills
- Cost of ongoing and future treatment
- Mental, emotional, and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Impact on quality of life
- Cost of damage to your vehicle
It is important to note that there will be differences in the way a settlement is calculated by an insurance adjuster compared to a personal injury attorney.
How Insurance Adjusters Calculate The Value Of A Settlement
The crucial thing to remember when dealing with an insurance adjuster is that they work for the insurer. An insurance adjuster’s job is to analyze the evidence surrounding a claim and use the information to help save the insurer as much money as possible.
What does this mean for your claim? This means insurance adjusters look at your claim differently than personal injury lawyers and will work to reach a settlement that is best for the insurer rather than a settlement that is best for you.
An insurance adjuster will look for any weak points in your case, especially if you are not represented, to exploit in order to offer a smaller settlement or no payout at all. This is why you should not accept the first settlement offer an insurance company provides.
The initial offer will almost always be an attempt to offer a smaller settlement than you actually deserve without giving you time to get a personal injury lawyer involved. Hiring a personal injury attorney can help get you a settlement that takes into consideration the full scope of your injuries and suffering.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Calculate The Value Of A Settlement
When a personal injury attorney is looking at a claim, they see a real individual who has been injured and should be compensated appropriately. A car accident lawyer will analyze the factors of a car accident and look to get you the most out of your settlement.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means most minor car accident claims are filed with your own insurance company rather than that of the at-fault driver. However, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit with the at-fault driver or their insurance company in the case of severe injury and property damage.
Your attorney will need to find evidence to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault driver or party in order to win a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit. To prove negligence in a bodily injury claim you must show:
- The at-fault driver or party had a duty of care to you
- This duty of care was violated by the at-fault driver or party
- Violating this duty of care resulted in injury, loss of income, pain and suffering, or medical bills for you
Most car accident cases will begin with your attorney performing a careful investigation of the accident looking to find evidence that proves negligence. Your claim could be thrown out by insurance companies and courts if negligence cannot be proven.
However, proving negligence is just the beginning of the process for building a strong settlement case. There are a number of other factors your attorney will look at and use to help strengthen your claim and increase the value of your settlement.
7 Factors That Could Impact a Claim
As we mentioned above, there are a number of factors that can have an impact on the value of your settlement. Both your attorney and the insurance adjuster will scrutinize these factors looking to either strengthen or weaken your claim.
Type Of Injury Sustained
The type of injuries you have sustained and the severity of your injuries can have a big impact on the value of your claim. As you would expect, a more serious injury that has a bigger impact on your life and requires more expensive medical treatment usually leads to a higher settlement value than more superficial injuries.
The Need For Ongoing Or Future Medical Care
Car accidents can lead to a whole host of injuries that may require ongoing medical treatment. Your injuries may require treatment by specialists, surgeons, and/or physical therapists. The costs of medical care after being involved in a collision can often include:
- Diagnostic testing (X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans, EMGs)
- Physical therapy
- Back and neck braces
- Medication and pain management services
- Injections to combat swelling and pain
- Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or other mobility devices
All of these treatments combined can become quite expensive, especially when care is ongoing, and should not fall on you to pay out of pocket. Your personal injury attorney will take these factors and potential future treatment into account when calculating the value of your settlement.
It is very important to keep accurate and detailed records of any medical care you receive as a result of your accident. This information can have a major impact on your claim.
How Much Is Covered By The Insurance Policy
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This means that in most cases you will file an injury claim with your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault. The amount you are awarded in a claim can depend on the terms of your own policy.
However, if the cost of your ongoing or future medical treatment goes beyond what is covered by your insurance policy, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurance company to recover damages. If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident, you would file a claim with their employer’s insurance company.
Impact On Your Ability To Work
The ability to work and earn income for yourself and your family is an essential part of life. If your ability to work has been impacted by injuries from a car accident, your attorney will take this into account when calculating the value of your claim.
For instance, if you were able to return to work quickly following your accident you are likely to receive a smaller settlement than someone who was unable to return to work for months or even permanently.
Your attorney will typically consult with a vocational specialist and other experts to determine the potential long term impact of your injuries on your income over your lifetime.
The Validity Of Your Legal Claims
Understanding the strength of your legal claims is important when it comes to fighting for a better settlement. Often the at-fault driver may try to point the finger at you rather than accept responsibility for the crash. Insurance companies will use any doubts about your claim to offer a smaller settlement or eliminate any form of compensation.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can greatly help in these circumstances. Your lawyer will help you understand how the courts will view the validity of your claims and work to build you the strongest possible litigation strategy.
Florida’s Statute Of Limitations
It is always important to know the statute of limitations regarding car accidents in your state. You may lose the right to compensation if you do not file your bodily injury claim within Florida’s statute of limitations.
Florida’s statute of limitations regarding car accidents state that you must file your lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident in question. While this certainly seems like a long time to file a suit, remember that it is in your best interest to file a claim as quickly as possible.
It can take a long time to properly investigate an accident, negotiate a settlement, and prepare the case for trial. The sooner you act, the fresher the evidence surrounding the case is, and the more time your attorney has to build a stronger claim for you.
The Overall Impact On Your Quality Of Life
When negotiating a settlement with an insurance company, your lawyer should also take into account the impact your car accident has had on your overall quality of life. This can include any emotional or mental trauma you have suffered as a result of the accident and treatment to address this trauma, such as therapy.
Also, if you have suffered severe injuries, such as paralysis, it will permanently alter your ability to enjoy life in the way you once had. These factors should be considered when determining the value of your claim.
Should You Hire A Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident?
If you are wondering whether or not you should hire a personal injury attorney following a car accident, the simple answer is almost always a resounding yes! Unless you yourself are a practicing personal injury attorney or are an expert in the laws governing car accidents in Florida, hiring a personal injury attorney will help you get more out of your case than you may have on your own.
Insurance companies will try and take advantage of your lack of expertise regarding car accident settlements if you are not represented by an attorney. Some great reasons to hire a personal injury attorney following a car crash include:
- A personal injury attorney has your best interests in mind and will fight for a settlement that is best for you.
- Personal injury attorneys do not get paid unless you get paid.
- Car accident claims can be extremely complex and difficult to navigate without the help of a legal expert.
Speak With The Attorneys At Calandro Law Today
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car accident in Riverview, Florida contact your local attorneys at Calandro Law. Our trial-tested and experienced personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Schedule a free consultation with Calandro Law today by calling us at (813) 563-6463 or use the form on the right side of this page.