Most car accident cases in Los Angeles settle through negotiations with the insurance company or at-fault party. Because a settlement is an agreement between parties to resolve a dispute, you might not receive as much as you demand. The settlement amount is negotiated based on a variety of factors.
Some factors strengthen your case and could increase the value of a personal injury claim. However, other factors could hurt your case. If you take your case to trial, jurors might rule in the other party’s favor or award you less money than the insurance company offers to settle the case.
Before settling a car accident claim, always talk with an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer. The insurance company always offers less than your case is worth to settle a claim. An attorney will evaluate your case and analyze the factors involved to determine a fair settlement amount.
What Factors Can Impact How Much To Expect from a Car Accident Settlement in Los Angeles, CA?
Many factors could impact how much you receive in a personal injury case. Each car accident claim is unique. The facts of your case determine the value of your damages.
The top factors that impact how much to expect from a car accident settlement are:
Causation and Fault
Evidence that can help prove who caused a car crash includes:
- Copies of police and accident reports
- Physical evidence from the vehicles and accident scene
- Statements made by drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video of the collision from traffic cameras and other sources
- Reports and opinions from accident reconstructionists and other expert witnesses
- Data recovered from vehicle systems
Without a lawyer, you are responsible for obtaining evidence to prove liability for damages. The insurance company will not help you. Instead, insurance adjusters often work to find evidence that hurts your case.
The Severity of Injuries
Accident victims receive compensation for their financial losses (economic damages). They also receive compensation for their pain and suffering (non-economic damages). Typically, the value of damages increases as the severity of your injury increases.
For example, treating a spinal cord injury generally costs more than whiplash. Also, you are more likely to incur higher out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and emotional suffering if you sustain a catastrophic injury rather than a simple fracture.
Even though an insured driver is at fault for causing an accident, the insurance company is only liable for damages up to the policy limits. The minimum car insurance required in California is $15,000 for bodily injury. Unfortunately, a minor injury can result in damages totaling much more than $15,000.
A Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help you seek additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The attorney can also assist in pursuing a claim against your car insurance coverage for an underinsured motorist claim.
Mistakes You Make
Your conduct after a car accident can impact how much you receive in a settlement.
Some steps that could hurt your case include:
- Admitting fault for causing the accident can lead to allegations of comparative fault
- Failure to seek prompt medical treatment could result in allegations of failure to mitigate damages
- Talking to insurance adjusters before meeting with a personal injury lawyer – the adjuster may intentionally “twist” your statements to use against you
- Posting information online and using social media – insurance investigators search online for information the company can use to allege that your injuries are not as severe as you claim
- Failing to tell your attorney about prior accidents and injuries
- Exaggerating your injuries and symptoms can make you appear unreliable and untrustworthy
On the other hand, steps that can maximize the value of your car accident case include seeking immediate medical treatment, carefully documenting expenses, and seeking prompt legal advice.
Whether You Hire an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Will Impact Your Settlement
Insurance companies frequently take advantage of a person’s lack of knowledge regarding personal injury laws and damages to deny and undervalue claims. Your car accident claim might be worth much more than you realize. However, the insurance company will not tell you.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer means you know how much to expect from a car accident settlement. Your lawyer will know how to maximize damages to get you as much money as possible for your claim.
Signing a car accident settlement agreement releases all parties from any further liability for your damages. In other words, if you later realize you accepted a low settlement offer, it is too late. Therefore, you need to understand how much your personal injury case is worth before you sign the agreement.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.