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How Car Accident Settlement Amounts Are Determined

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 06, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Not all injury lawsuits make it to trial. In fact, almost all of them are decided by out-of-court settlements, either with the defendant or an insurance company. But who decides on the settlement amount? How do you know how much your injuries, pain, and suffering are worth, and how do you get the other side to pay?

Here are a few of the factors that determine the amount of car accident injury settlements.

The Fault

Almost every settlement includes a "no fault clause" where the party paying the settlement explicitly states that they are not admitting fault for the accident. However, determining who was at fault for an accident is often the first step in settlement talks -- after all, the easier it is to prove fault, the more eager the party at fault will be to settle and the more they might be willing to pay.

The Damage

Any car accident settlement will be aimed at putting injured parties in the position they were in before the accident (or as near as possible). Therefore, any settlement will take into account the financial cost of personal injuries and damage to vehicles or other property. There is no minimum amount for injury settlements and, obviously, the more damage done, the higher the settlement calculation will be. Both sides can refer to previous cases with similar damages as a starting point for determining a settlement amount.

The Parties

A settlement is a negotiated agreement, so the amount of the settlement will always depend on the disposition of the parties negotiating. If a plaintiff isn't contentious and just wants to get it over with, he or she may be willing to settle for a lower amount than a plaintiff trying to prove a point. And an insurance company handling hundreds or thousands of claims may be more willing to settle than an individual who thinks he or she isn't at fault. All of these factors will affect the final settlement amount.

Car accident settlement negotiations can be complicated, and you should hire an injury lawyer even if you plan to settle your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will have been through settlement talks before and will be in a better position to assess the value of your claim and advocate on your behalf. If you've been injured in a car accident, contact a lawyer today.

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