Nine Factors That Determine How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement in Texas
Car accident settlement amounts are based on the facts and circumstances of the case. There is no average settlement because each claim is unique. However, the factors determining how much to expect after a traffic collision in Texas are similar.
Nine factors that can impact how much you could receive from a Texas car accident settlement are explained below:
1. The Type and Severity of Your Injuries
Generally, the value of a car accident case increases as the severity of the injuries increases. There are many reasons for this increase in the value of damages.
For example, catastrophic injuries tend to require a greater level of medical treatment, which increases the medical costs. Additionally, the victim is out of work for a longer period to recover, thereby increasing the amount of lost wages.
Severe injuries may also result in future damages, such as ongoing medical and/or personal care. Non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) also increase as the severity of the injuries increases.
2. The Availability of Insurance Coverage
Texas requires drivers to have a minimum of $30,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries per person. Therefore, if someone has minimum coverage, the insurance company is only liable for up to $30,000 in damages (or $60,000 per accident). You would need to sue the driver for additional damages, which might not result in a recovery.
An experienced Dallas car accident lawyer can explore all sources of compensation for your claim, including filing an underinsured motorist insurance claim and claims against third parties. Talk with a lawyer before assuming you can only recover what the insurance company offers.
3. Whether You Sustained Permanent Impairments
Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, internal organ damage, and many other injuries can cause permanent impairments and disabilities. Lifelong disabilities can result in future damages, including ongoing medical treatments, future lost wages, long-term nursing care, and assistance with personal care. These damages could total millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime.
4. The Financial Losses Incurred
Car accident victims can receive compensation for their financial losses or economic damages. However, they can also recover compensation for their non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages.
There is no standard amount for non-economic losses. The facts of the case determine the value of these damages.
However, a common method for calculating non-economic damages is multiplying the amount of financial losses by a number between 1.5 and five. Therefore, the higher the amount of financial losses, the higher the value of non-economic damages.
5. Whether You Are Partially to Blame for Causing the Car Accident
Texas has a modified comparative fault law that applies in car accident cases. Being partially to blame for causing an accident will not automatically prevent you from recovering damages unless you are more than 50% to blame.
If you are 50% or less at fault, you can still recover compensation for damages. However, the court reduces the amount you receive by your percentage of responsibility. Therefore, if jurors decide you were 25% to blame for causing the car crash, you will only receive 75% of the jury award for damages.
6. The Parties Involved in the Case
The parties involved in a car accident case can impact how much you might receive for a settlement. For example, trucking companies are required to have higher insurance coverage limits for commercial trucks than passenger vehicles. Trucking companies generally have the ability to pay large claims compared to the average person.
Texas also caps damages in certain types of cases. For example, the amount you could receive for a car accident settlement is capped if you sue a government entity.
7. The Duration of Your Recovery Period
The longer it takes you to recover from your car accident injuries, the higher the value of a personal injury settlement. Your damages increase each day you cannot work or require medical care for your injuries.
A more extended recovery period increases the claim’s value if a per diem is used to calculate non-economic damages. The per diem method uses a daily amount multiplied by the number of days it took to recover from your injuries.
8. The Strength of Your Evidence
Texas is an at-fault state for car accident claims. Victims have the burden of proving that the other driver caused the collision to recover damages. Negligence is the most common basis for a car accident case.
Therefore, the victim needs to prove:
- The other driver owed them a legal duty of care
- The driver’s conduct breached the legal duty of care
- The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of the victim’s injuries
- The victim incurred damages because of the other driver’s conduct
The stronger the evidence proving causation and fault, the better your chance of receiving a fair settlement amount.
Evidence in a car accident case can include, but is not limited to:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- The traffic accident report
- Videos of the collision
- Eyewitness statements
- Testimony from the drivers and passengers
- Medical records
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Opinions of expert witnesses
- Data collected from vehicle recording systems
Your attorney will investigate the car crash to gather evidence proving your case. However, the insurance company for the other driver will also investigate to dispute liability for your damages.
9. Whether You Hire an Experienced Dallas Car Accident Lawyer
Insurance adjusters are not on your side. They work to protect the insurance company’s interests. Their goal is to deny your claim if possible or decrease the value of your damages to limit the company’s payment to you.
When you hire a Dallas car accident attorney to handle your case, you level the field with the insurance company. It is no longer the only party with resources to investigate the accident, hire expert witnesses, and gather evidence. Furthermore, the company cannot take advantage of your lack of knowledge about insurance claims and personal injury laws.
Most car accident lawyers in Dallas offer free consultations. Therefore, you can find out if you need to hire a lawyer and how they can help you receive a fair settlement without paying for the consultation.