If you have been involved in a car collision, you may have considered hiring a New Hampshire car accident lawyer to help you get a car accident settlement from the other party. Wondering whether you will actually get money from the other driver is not an uncommon experience. Many individuals also wonder how much they may be awarded if they do receive a settlement from their car accident claim. The attorneys at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, are dedicated to pursuing the maximum compensation for your car accident settlement, but there are several factors in your case that could affect whether you get a settlement as well as its total amount. Contact our office today at (603) 707-4800 and schedule a free case review to learn more.
How Much Are Car Accident Settlements?
The purpose of settlements from car accidents is to return accident victims to the financial status they enjoyed before the accident happened. You can recover the costs of medical care, lost wages from missed time at work, and loss of earning potential if your accident injuries are so severe that you become disabled and can no longer work in the job you had before the accident. If your car was damaged, then the settlement can cover the cost of repairing or replacing it. You are also entitled to seek compensation for “non-economic” losses, which, although more difficult to tabulate, still have value. This may be the pain and suffering of your injuries, emotional trauma from the wreck, and diminished quality of life. The New Hampshire Revised Statutes cap non-economic compensation at $875,000. Total economic compensation in your settlement can be the full total of your accident-related expenses.
Because each accident victim’s costs for medical care, property damage, and psychological anguish will vary widely, so also will the amount of a car accident settlement. The settlement potential of your own case will be based on the value of your specific losses, which an experienced New Hampshire car accident attorney can properly value for you.
How Long Do Settlements From Car Accidents Take?
A car accident settlement for a wreck between two private drivers may take a much shorter time to settle than a wreck in which the other driver was a commercial driver, like a delivery driver or semi-truck operator. This is usually because there is a chance that the driver’s employer may also be a liable party for the crash, so your car accident attorney may pursue a case against two different defendants.
Maximum Medical Improvement
The severity of your injuries also affects how long it takes to receive your settlement. Your lawyer may be waiting for you to reach the maximum medical improvement for your injuries before valuing your claim. If you have broken bones or are temporarily disabled, then it may take months to determine the extent of your medical costs. Once you have recovered as much as your doctor believes you are going to, your lawyer will also estimate the cost of ongoing care if necessary, such as a live-in caregiver or accommodations in a skilled nursing facility.
Be Wary of Fast Settlement Promises
Any attorney who promises a fast settlement may not be professionally responsible. The personal injury attorneys with Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, typically provide a professional estimate of the timeline for recovering compensation based on the facts of each client’s particular case.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
Providing a useful “average” for a car accident settlement is difficult because the amounts can vary so widely. A minor “fender-bender,” in which both vehicles are going slowly, may result in a little body damage to one or both vehicles and maybe some bruises for the passengers. In that situation, the settlement may only be a few thousand dollars. In a serious car accident, on the other hand, one in which one or more people suffer catastrophic injuries, or someone perishes, then the settlement could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially if there is a wrongful death suit or a judge determines that the defendants (the at-fault driver or drivers) deserve punitive damages.
The Insurance Information Institute notes that in 2021, the average bodily injury settlement for a car collision was $22,734, and the average property damage claim was $5,314. These numbers represent what an insurance company pays out. If you take your case to trial and win, your award could be much higher. Additionally, if you work with an attorney who is a skilled negotiator, they may be able to help you secure higher compensation for non-economic losses, like pain and suffering.
How Do You Calculate the Settlement Amount?
Experienced New Hampshire car accident lawyers typically tabulate clients’ economic losses in order to ensure a clear understanding of the factors involved, and for the purpose of documenting those losses for a court if necessary. Their procedure often looks something like this::
- Add up total medical care costs, including surgeries, hospitalization, medications, and specialist care.
- Add up any rehabilitative therapy costs, like physical or occupational therapy. If you become disabled or need a prosthetic, any therapy to help you adjust can also be included.
- Calculate the total travel costs (including mileage) for medical care, rehabilitation, or vocational training.
- Calculate the total of any vocational training you may need to secure gainful employment if you are disabled to the point that you cannot continue the job you had at the time of the wreck.
- Compute the total of all lost wages from time missed at work, using the employer’s payroll information. You may also be entitled to have any sick leave or PTO reimbursed.
- Add up all the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, using bills or estimates from a mechanic or the value of your vehicle at the time of the wreck, depending on whether the vehicle is eligible for repairs.
- Total any other property damage sustained in the accident. Common examples include broken cell phones in the wreck and expensive watches or pieces of jewelry lost or damaged in the crash.
Non-economic losses can be difficult to tabulate, but many attorneys calculate their value based on a factor of your economic losses. More severe injuries usually indicate a greater loss of the victim’s quality of life, so non-economic losses will be higher. If you are permanently disabled, then an argument could be made for the state maximum of $875,000.
Do You Need Help Pursuing a Car Accident Settlement in New Hampshire?
If you have been injured in a traffic accident caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorney may be able to help you receive compensation for the losses you have suffered. The legal team at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC works with people just like you to pursue settlements from car accidents so that accident victims can move forward with their lives. Call (603) 707-4800 today to schedule a free consultation to review your car accident claim and discuss your legal options.