What your car accident case is worth depends on a number of factors, some of which you have no control over. If you have damages, can prove that the other driver is liable, and retain an experienced attorney, your chances of winning your car accident claim are good. Remember, statistically speaking, 95 percent of personal injury claims settle out of court, and 57 percent of car accident cases that go to trial are decided in favor of the plaintiff.
There are a couple of factors that act in your favor in the case of a car accident lawsuit:
In general, insurance companies would prefer to settle your car accident claim over going to court because a settlement means more control of the final outcome than if a jury decided the award.
In a car accident claim, you don’t have as high a burden of proof of liability or damages as you would in, say, a medical malpractice claim or a slip and fall claim.You don’t have to prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care, because just getting behind the wheel means the driver was responsible for following traffic safety laws. It’s also easier to prove that your injuries resulted from a car accident than it is to illustrate that a doctor’s error was the direct and sole cause of a negative health outcome.
Factors that could keep you from receiving a settlement are:
Not having sufficient proof that the other driver was at fault for the crash. This proof may come from witness accounts of the collision, photos of the accident scene, police reports, and testimony from accident reconstruction specialists. Having an attorney will be invaluable in proving fault for the accident. If you aren’t likely to have the basis for a successful case because there isn’t enough proof of liability, a lawyer will let you know that upon reviewing your claim.
Not having sufficient damages to warrant compensation. Again, you need to prove the damages you claim through your medical records, documentation of income loss, and testimony from experts – in this case, medical experts (doctors). You may face more hurdles if, on your auto insurance policy, you selected the verbal threshold option for your limitation on lawsuit selection. Under this option, you must prove that your injury meets certain criteria to be eligible to sue for pain and suffering.
Not having an experienced car accident attorney on your side. There’s no law that says you must have an attorney represent you in a car accident claim, but opting not to hire a lawyer could sabotage your chances of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. Unrepresented claimants are more likely to walk away with claim denials instead of compensation and, if they do secure a settlement, it’s likely to be less than what they really deserve.
How Much Is Your Claim Actually Worth?
For most car accident victims, the question isn’t whether they will win a settlement, but how much they will receive. How much is your case worth?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple settlement calculator where you can plug in a few numbers and come up with a dollar amount. How much your car accident case ver.
You can’t control the policy limits of the other driver’s auto insurance coverage, although you may be able to seek more money from your own under-insured motorist coverage, if you purchased that option.
You have little control over the damages you sustain – the injuries, the resulting medical bills, how long you are out of work, and how much your injuries impact your life. However, you can maximize your damages by working with an attorney who knows what to look for in car accident cases and will make sure that none of your losses go unreimbursed.
You can’t control where the crash occurred. In the legal world, we talk about a concept called market value, based on differences in the behavior of juries and judges between jurisdiction. If your collision occurred in a jurisdiction where juries are known to award high payouts to plaintiffs, your case may be worth more than if it occurred in a jurisdiction where jury awards tend to be more conservative.
So, how do you find out how much your unique case is worth? You take it to an experienced NJ car accident lawyer. The only way to reliably determine how much compensation you deserve is to have a professional who knows the legal process inside and out take a look at all of the details of your situation.
One thing is for sure – having the right lawyer on your side means you’ll get as much money as you possibly can for your claim. Studies have found that, on average, attorneys get their clients more than 3.5 times what unrepresented claimants get for themselves, according to the study Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims by the Insurance Research Council.
What Happens If You Don’t Win the Suit Against the Insurance Company?
Although the odds of a successful lawsuit are likely in your favor, you may not be feeling especially lucky right now, right after a serious car accident. You may be wondering what you are risking if you pursue a case and lose.
Regardless of the outcome of your case, depending on your individual auto policy, it may still cover your medical bills. If your medical bills add up to more than your maximum coverage limit, then your health insurance provider will need to pay the amount that exceeds your coverage. If you don’t have health insurance, you will be personally responsible for your outstanding medical costs.
If you don’t win the case, then you won’t receive money from the other driver’s insurance company (or your own uninsured/under-insured coverage) towards your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages. Although you didn’t get the compensation you were hoping for, you haven’t lost any money, either.
Most car accident attorneys handle claims on a no-win, no-fee basis. Sometimes called a contingency agreement, this means that your payment for legal representation is contingent on the results. Your attorney receives a percentage of the settlement he or she gets for you – and, if the claim is not successful, you pay nothing for attorneys’ fees. They also advance all costs of pursuing your claim, from court filing fees to the expense of hiring expert witnesses, and normally you pay them back only if they recover money for you.
Basically, pursuing a claim often is risk-free. You have nothing to lose by speaking to a car accident attorney to see if you can move forward with a claim, and you have plenty to gain if your case is successful.