·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

How to Get Maximum Compensation in a Car Accident Claim

— June 7, 2023

Do not accept the first settlement offer by the insurance company even if they vowed that it is the best they can give.

Accidents are unplanned, and even though preventable, they cannot be entirely evicted, especially on the road.

An individual might carefully observe all the traffic rules, while another driver may be driving under the influence, hence the cause of an accident.

Prevalence of car crashes

In its report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 42,795 people died in a motor vehicle accident in 2022. Even the most cautious drivers, including ride-hailing service drivers, can occasionally get into an accident.

A 2020 Uber report recorded 101 individual motor vehicle fatalities across 91 fatal Uber-related crashes. The company identified peeding, alcohol-impaired driving, and driving the wrong way as the leading causes of these crashes.

Car accident victims may be eligible for compensation. Unfortunately, insurance companies will try as much as possible to refute any filed claim, and if they are to accept responsibility, they would want to offer the barest minimum compensation.

Certain actions, which include hiring a Uber accident lawyer, can help you to get maximum compensation in a Uber injury claim.

Injuries sustained during a car crash will require money to treat. However, any misstep may invalidate your claim, leaving you to cover all the treatment and vehicle repair expenses out-of-pocket.

Types of compensation

There are two common types of compensation commonly pursued by victims after a car accident ― economic and non-economic damages.

Emergency room sign; image by Pixabay, via
Emergency room sign; image by Pixabay, via
  • Economic damages: They are also known as hard costs and will require bills, receipts, and other payment evidence to estimate fair compensation.
  • Non-economic damages: Mostly referred to as general damages, include injury and pains suffered due to the accident. Although they may also require receipts such as medical bills, fair compensation may be assessed using the accident’s impact on the individual’s daily activities. For instance, some victims of an accident might never recover fully.

Meanwhile, there are other damages you may also pursue. They include:

  • Punitive damages: This is more of justice than monetary compensation. If you notice the driver was not just negligent but also intentional, then your compensation may also include punitive damages.
  • Wrongful death damages: The family or estate of victims who died in an accident caused by the negligence or intention of a driver can get compensation for wrongful death damages.

How to calculate car accident settlement

Understanding your right and the extent to which you could prove your personal injury will help you determine the maximum compensation for your case.

In case you are the type that hates court stress, here is good news, 98 percent of car accident compensation was obtained through settlement instead of a court case.

Settlements are usually offered by the insurer representing the driver responsible for the accident. It is mostly provided with the clause that the victim will never pursue a further claim as regard the incident.

It is significantly influenced by some factors, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and other financial losses
  • Driver’s negligence
  • Police records
  • Level of pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Policy limits

The average claim for injury after a car accident

A 2020 report by the Insurance Information Institute estimated the average claim for bodily injury after a collision at $20,235, while the property damage claim was about $4,711.

A similar report that analyzed car accident claims between 2015 and 2020 revealed the average settlement received by victims was $23,900. However, most of the victims got less than $10,000.

Tips to get maximum compensation

Gather enough evidence

An insurance company will only offer a settlement if they accept the liability for the accident. The insurer will be more than willing to pursue the case in court if they discover you do not have enough evidence to prove your claim.

Therefore, gather enough evidence, starting from the scene of the accident. Take photos and record videos of any property damages and injuries. Get eyewitness contacts and keep a record of any expenses as a result of the accident.

Get police report

Report the case to the police and ensure they visit the accident scene. A police report will help prove your claim.

Ask the officers about the accident report number so you can use it to get a copy of the report later.

Seek medical attention

Get yourself or any victim of the accident treated as soon as possible. Keep a record of all medical expenses and doctor’s reports.

Statute of limitation

There is a time frame you are permitted to file a claim after a car accident, and this varies from one state to another. Generally, it can be as limited as one year, such as in Louisiana, or six years, like in New Jersey and Maine.

Negotiate after the first offer

Do not accept the first settlement offer by the insurance company even if they vowed that it is the best they can give. Most of the time, you can demand and get more money for your claim.

Remember, once you accept the settlement, you will lose the right to sue for the damages. Therefore, you should demand the maximum compensation you can get.

Join the conversation!