According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas roads had 12,907 serious car crashes in 2019, and 15,855 people were seriously injured. A significant number of these people will need to obtain monetary compensation by filing an auto insurance claim for a car accident injury.
After a car collision, people want to know what the average settlement could be. It’s difficult to come up with one number for this question because the amount of your settlement will depend on many different things. Therefore, the answer can be dramatically different for each person.
Because each person’s car accident is different, the following will determine the amount that you could receive in monetary compensation for a car accident injury:
- Your attorney’s ability to present your side of the case.
- How much evidence your attorney presents demonstrates that the at-fault driver is negligent.
- The insurance coverage the at-fault party has and the insurance coverage that you have.
- Texas follows the modified comparative negligence statute. Under this statute, you can only receive monetary damages from an at-fault driver if your level of negligence in the collision is equal to or less than that of the at-fault driver’s negligence.
- Lost past and future wages.
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
- The severity of the injuries.
The best way to know how much you could receive in monetary compensation for your injuries is to contact and hire a car accident attorney.
The Seriousness of the Injuries Determines How Much Compensation One Receives
The most important factor in determining how much someone deserves in a settlement is the extent and type of injury the person sustained. Medical special damages encompass the amount of money you must spend on medical examinations and treatments for your injuries. Your insurance agency uses this amount during the negotiation process.
In Texas, you are entitled to receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering, but pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify. The insurance company uses a personal injury settlement formula, and pain and suffering are a significant portion of it. The formula judges the most painful injuries as requiring the highest compensation. If the car accident injury is extremely painful, the insurance agent plugs in the highest multiplying number into the formula.
If your injury fits into one of the categories below, you may be entitled to higher compensation:
Car Accident Injury: Soft Tissue Injuries
The evidence of soft tissue injuries is usually the description of the patient. For example, these can be sprains or strains of your knee, ankle, neck, or back. They are “soft tissue” injuries because the only parts involved are the soft connective tissue and the muscles. They aren’t as serious as “hard” injuries. Insurance companies assign these injuries one-and-a-half to three times the special medical damages in most cases. These injuries are not believed to be permanent or dangerous, even if they are very painful. It’s also difficult for plaintiffs to demonstrate the severity of a soft tissue injury in court.
How Do You Get Fair Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries are difficult to prove because they do not show up on X-rays or other diagnostic tests. When you cannot bring this type of proof into the courtroom, the at-fault driver’s attorney can suggest that you are experiencing pain for various reasons other than the car collision. If you suffer a car accident injury in a collision, you must go to the emergency room so that a physician can write medical records that will support your Claim of the injury.
You can obtain a fair settlement for soft tissue injuries by hiring an expert witness. The expert witness will testify at the deposition and explain how the car accident caused the injuries you are experiencing. By providing proof of the type of accident you suffered, you may obtain a fair settlement in a smaller case. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is aware of a car collision that causes soft tissue injuries. Therefore, you will need to present medical records demonstrating that you have those injuries, and the insurance company will, most likely, offer a fair settlement.
Car Accident Injury: Hard Injuries
Hard injuries are considered more serious than soft tissue injuries, and you will receive larger amounts of money in compensation for them. They will be four or five times your special medical damages or even higher. These injuries can be demonstrated through a medical examination, so you will be able to show that you received these injuries in court by presenting medical documents. For example, your physician may have observed the injury on an X-ray or written it in your medical records. This will increase the monetary value of your case. If your doctor needs to repair an injury by stitching a wound, setting a bone, or performing an arthroscopic examination of a joint, your Claim’s value will increase.
Hard injuries include the following types:
Injury to the Vertebrae of a Spinal Disc
If you can state that vertebrae became displaced, it will sound as if it is more serious than a sprained back. The insurance adjuster will award you higher compensation if you state that you have a neck or back injury using medical terms other than “sprain” or “strain.” If you complain of back or neck pain in the emergency room, the physician will order an X-ray of your cervical, thoracic or lumbosacral spine, which may show that a spinal disc is abnormal.
Lacerations that require treatment may increase the value of your Claim. For example, serious cuts, tears, and gashes fall under this category.
Cartilage Tears, Ligament Tears, Dislocations, and Separations
These terms are much more serious than “sprain,” “strain,” or “bruise,” so if your physicians use these terms to describe your injuries, they will entitle you to a higher amount of compensation. A joint separation or a joint dislocation implies that the car accident injury is much more painful than a sprain. If cartilage or a ligament is “torn,” it can amount to the same thing as a sprained joint. A tear is also considered more serious than a sprain or a strain, but the treatment and the amount of time required to heal the injury may be comparable.
Car Accident Injury: Head Injuries
You cannot always tell how serious a head injury will be in the beginning because the car accident injury may last longer than the doctors believe that it will. Insurance adjusters are aware that head injuries have healed and gotten worse as time goes by. If you have a head injury, it can cause the insurance company to increase your monetary compensation. Head injuries also encourage insurance adjusters to settle your case in a much faster fashion because they are concerned that you will incur even larger bills in the future related to the head injury.
Before you enter into negotiations, examine your medical records and determine if there is any mention of a concussion, dizziness, disorientation, or nausea. Find out if you were unconscious at any time after the accident. If you had these injuries, make sure that you state this fact in your Claim. You may continue to experience dizziness or headaches. If so, you must report these to your physician and then make sure to state that you are experiencing these side effects in your insurance claim.
Head injuries can lead to highly serious consequences, such as memory loss, behavioral changes, and cognitive impairments. If you are going to settle your case, it will save you a lot of time, but you must know how much you are willing to accept in monetary compensation.
Damages Possible for a Head Injury Case
You may be entitled to receive two types of compensable damages. They are the following:
Special damages are the expenses incurred because of your injury, including the following:
- Property repairs
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
General damages are non-economic losses that result from a car collision. These are harder to quantify, and they include the following:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and shock
- Pain and suffering
Hiring an Attorney
You don’t have any obligation to hire an attorney because it is within your rights to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you wish to do so. Although you can do this, you may find that the negotiations are not going well at all for you. The best thing is to hire an attorney, but if you are experiencing the following situations, the need for a lawyer is even greater:
The Other Side Claims that You Are At Fault.
If the at-fault driver denies that they cause the collision, you need an attorney to help you identify the at-fault driver. The other side may even blame you for the collision, so definitively determining which motorist has the majority of the fault for causing the collision is a step you must take. Car accident attorneys have extensive experience determining fault, so it is good to take advantage of them.
You Need Monetary Compensation in the Future.
You may lose a significant portion of your income in the future. You may also need additional medical treatment that continues beyond the current year. You will need an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to accomplish this for you.
Your Claim Is for Serious Injuries and Pain and Suffering that Comes to More than $2,000.
If your Claim comes to $10,000 or more, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not take it seriously if you do not have legal representation.
Contact an attorney today.