When car accident victims inquire about our firm’s representation, they often have many of the same questions. While they frequently have questions about the experience our auto accident lawyers have and the types of accident claims we have handled in the past, they also want to know: How much is the average settlement for a car accident?
If you search online for the average car accident settlement amount, you will find a broad range of numbers. These numbers come from various different sources, some of which are more reliable than others.
However, regardless of how accurate (or inaccurate) a purported average settlement amount may be, the truth of the matter is that it is entirely irrelevant to your claim for financial compensation. Here is why:
New York’s “No-Fault” Auto Insurance Law Limits Accident Victims’ Recoveries in Some Cases
New York is one of a limited number of states that has adopted a “no-fault” auto insurance law. Under this law, unless a car accident victim suffers a “serious injury,” he or she is limited to seeking coverage for medical expenses and lost wages under his or her personal injury protection (PIP) and/or medical payments (MedPay) policy.
While New York’s mandatory no-fault auto insurance policy minimum is fairly high at $50,000, the inability to collect compensation for emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-financial losses is a factor that limits car accident victims’ financial recoveries in many cases.
Regardless of the circumstances involved in your accident and the extent of your injuries, it will be important for you to work with an experienced auto accident lawyer to seek the maximum compensation available. If your attorney can prove that you suffered a serious injury, this will open up the opportunity to seek significantly more than the coverage limits of your PIP or MedPay policy.
Regardless of Whether You Have a Fault-Based Claim or Are Limited to Seeking “No Fault” Coverage, Your Losses Are Unique to You
Even more important than the effects of New York’s “no-fault” insurance law is the fact that your losses are entirely unique to you. When you file a car accident claim, you are seeking compensation to replace what you have lost as a result of the accident.
Even if you were involved in a horrific crash, if you escaped unscathed, then the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive will be limited. On the other hand, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other serious injuries in a fender bender, then the amount you are entitled to recover could be substantial.
In addition to the extent of your injuries, various other factors will determine how much compensation you may be entitled to recover as a result of your car accident. Some of these factors include:
- Your occupation
- Your weekly wage or annual salary
- Any benefits you receive through your employment
- Your number of years until retirement
- Your family composition (i.e., if you are married and/or have children)
- Whether you suffered permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Whether you have experienced emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress as a result of the accident
Of course, some of these factors will only be relevant if you have a fault-based claim that entitles you to recover your non-financial losses. However, in any case, the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be determined by your unique personal circumstances – not by any average figures or other extrinsic factors.
Unrepresented Car Accident Victims Frequently Settle for Far Less Than They Deserve
Another important factor to consider is the fact that many car accident victims choose not to hire a personal injury attorney. Generally, accident victims who hire an attorney are far more likely to receive just compensation for their injuries.
Why? Simply put, the insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented claimants. As a result, the average settlement amount for unrepresented claimants is generally far lower than the average settlement amount for those who hire an attorney.
If you don’t know your legal rights and you don’t know how much you are entitled to recover, you are not going to be able to negotiate a fair settlement. On the other hand, if you hire an experienced attorney who knows the law and who is prepared to fight for your rights at trial if necessary, you will be far more likely to obtain a settlement that reflects the amount you deserve.
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers Today
The lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have more than 150 years of combined experience representing clients in auto accident claims. We have earned millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in crashes with negligent drivers.
Please call (845) 303-8777 today for a free case review. Our auto accident lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and throughout the Hudson Valley region of New York.