If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you may be experiencing a range of emotions. You’re in pain, you’re scared about what will happen next, and you’re angry that the other driver’s carelessness put you and your family in this situation to begin with.
In the midst of dealing with piling medical bills, property repair costs, and a number of other expenses, two of the first questions that come to many accident victims’ minds are, “Can I sue the other driver?” and “How much money can I get?”
While it’s always best to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer in this situation, we’ve broken down what goes into determining the worth of your case.
Understanding the Difference Between a Lawsuit and a Settlement
The first thing to understand is that most car accident cases are able to be settled before you even need to file a lawsuit. In other words, after an accident you and your attorney will negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company until a fair number is agreed upon to cover all of your accident-related expenses.
However, if a fair settlement isn’t able to be reached, then you may need to file a lawsuit and take your case to court. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side in either scenario will be to your advantage.
Will I Receive a Car Accident Settlement?
So, how do you know if you can receive a settlement after your car accident? The key here is the ability to prove that the other driver’s actions were the direct cause of your accident and your injuries. This is known as proving “negligence.”
In order to prove negligence, you must be able to demonstrate:
- The other driver owed a “duty of care.”
- The other driver breached this duty of care. In other words, they acted in a manner which threatened the safety of others.
- The other driver’s carelessness caused the accident.
- Your injuries and other damages were a direct result of the accident.
While this may sound straightforward, proving negligence is not always easy. The other driver’s insurance company will likely try whatever they can to escape liability for the accident so they don’t have to pay you. This can include anything from claiming your injuries were pre-existing to bullying tactics to push you into signing away your rights.
Factors That Can Affect Your Auto Injury Settlement
There are many factors that go into determining how much your auto injury settlement is worth.
No matter what, always remember that you should NEVER accept an insurance adjuster’s first settlement offer until you’ve spoken with an attorney. Many times, they try to lowball injured victims on their first offers and pressure them to accept, simply so they can get away with paying as little as possible for their claims.
Furthermore, accepting a settlement offer before you’ve finished your medical treatment can cause you to receive less than what your medical bills will actually end up costing you.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, it’s always in your best interests to contact an auto accident lawyer to learn how much you should demand from the insurance company. Here are the main factors that will affect your settlement amount:
- The seriousness of your injuries and the cost of treating those injuries.
- Any lost wages that resulted from your injuries.
- Physical pain and suffering, as well as any mental anguish caused by your accident.
- Property damage costs.
Can You Guarantee a Settlement?
No auto accident lawyer can guarantee that you’ll get a settlement after your car accident. If an injury law firm does guarantee a certain amount, this is a red flag.
It’s important to keep in mind that no two cases are the same, so it’s difficult to know just how much you may be entitled to until all the facts of your case have been evaluated.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, don’t leave your compensation up to chance. Contact The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux today for a free case review. We’ve been helping auto accident victims in Lafayette, Metairie, New Orleans, and surrounding Louisiana communities get what they deserve for over 20 years. We can help you determine the true value of your claim and fight for every penny you’re entitled to!