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Car Accident Settlement Value Factors

How much is my car accident case worth? Everyone is eager to find out the answer to this question.  There is information available about “multipliers” and the like (e.g. multiply your medical expenses by three and that is how much your case is worth).  But the answer is simple: each client and case is unique, and the value of a personal injury claim is determined on a case-by-case basis. As a result, there is no single metric used in determining the value of your personal injury claim settlement.

List of Factors In Determining the Value of Your  Personal Injury Case

Here is a list of factors that insurance companies, judges, and juries consider when determining the value of the case:

Did you sustain hard tissue injuries or soft tissue injuries?

  • Broken bones, fractures, death, permanent disfigurement, permanent scarring, surgery, and traumatic brain injury are examples of severe or hard tissue injuries.  Anyone can understand how these types of severe or catastrophic injuries will alter someone’s life by requiring extensive medical treatment, missing weeks of work, or requiring long-term rehabilitation. The value of the case will be higher for these types of injuries as compared with a case involving soft tissue injuries.
  • Whiplash, sprains, and strains, contusions, pinched nerves are examples of soft tissue injuries (e.g. think a person who gets in a fender-bender car accident and then goes to a chiropractor or physical therapy for soreness in their neck or back). 
  • Your medical records will be one of the most important documents in determining the value of your claim, if not the most important document.

 Is it clear who was at fault?

If there is a disagreement about which driver is at fault, the value of your case will suffer. Maryland is harsh because you cannot recover compensation if you are even one percent negligent due to Maryland’s Contributory Negligence law.  If, on the other hand, the fault is obvious (e.g., you were rear-ended), the value of your claim increases because you do not have to worry about determining who is at fault for your motor vehicle accident.

How much insurance coverage is available to compensate you for your injuries?

The unfortunate reality is that, for the most part, your recovery will be limited to the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. For example, if you incurred $50,000 in medical expenses but the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits are only $30,000, you are limited to a $30,000 recovery unless you can find other available insurance. The other available insurance you do have is your own uninsured motorist coverage.  Maryland state law requires that every driver has a minimum of $30,000 uninsured motorist coverage.

In this case, however, let’s assume the at-fault driver has $250,000 in insurance coverage. You can now recover up to $250,000 in damages.

Photographs from the accident scene

You’ve probably heard the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The same can be said for your personal injury claim. Photographs of your injuries and the property damage to the vehicles involved in the accident will have a significant impact on the value of your claim.

Is the defendant a corporation or an individual?

Do you believe a judge or jury would be more willing to award a large sum of money to an individual person or a “goliath” corporation with deep pockets?  If the at-fault driver is connected to a corporate defendant through employment or agency, the value of your case will increase.

How much of your life has been altered as a result of the accident?

How much time you missed from work, whether your home life was seriously impacted, and whether you require long-term rehabilitation are just a few of the many factors to consider when calculating your claim’s “non-economic” damages.

How long does it take to settle a car accident case

Many people ask – How long does it take to settle my personal injury claim? In general, the length of time it takes to settle your personal injury claim is determined by the severity of your injuries.  The length of time for injured persons who suffer severe injuries will be significantly longer than the length of time for injured persons who suffer soft-tissue injuries.

Time period for settling the car accident claim

In general, people who initiate personal injury claims after suffering severe injuries will likely wait 1.5 – 3 years for settlement, and they will nearly always have to file a lawsuit in court for their personal injury claim.

In general, those who submit personal injury claims and suffer soft-tissue injuries will likely wait 3-6 months for settlement or up to 1 year if the case is going to trial.

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, having an experienced personal injury lawyer file a case in court on your behalf will always expedite your claim.

Schedule for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Accident

Don’t go it alone. If you want to ensure that your claim is maximized to give you the best possible result, you need an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer.  Let the Law Office of John J. Leppler fight for the compensation you deserve. Call John at (443) 955-1989 for a free consultation and case review.