Getting damages in a settlement after your car accident is one of the quickest ways to resolve your case. Settlements, whether with the insurance company or directly with the defendant, are a quick way to get your damages paid. Many people want to know what the average is so they can figure out what to expect for their car accident case.
Unfortunately, there are no good statistics for averages. There are some important reasons that these statistics are not well-tracked, but there are even more important reasons why some of these statistics would not be very helpful in your case anyway. Each case is different, and it is important to have a lawyer analyze your specific case to help you determine what your case should be worth rather than relying on averages and statistics.
For a free case evaluation on your car accident case, contact the Westchester car accident attorneys at The Martello Law Firm today. Our number is (914) 685-6950.
Statistics on Average Car Accident Settlements in New York
Generally, statistics are kept on court verdicts in New York, but not on settlements. It is generally a matter of public record how much a jury awards for damages in an injury case, but settlements are another matter. There are estimates as high as over $280,000 for the median personal injury lawsuit in New York, but that is not necessarily indicative of what your case could settle for.
First, settlements usually aren’t tracked in any statistics. This is because most settlements are private. They happen out of court between the parties – usually with the insurance companies involved – and aren’t recorded as a matter of public record. So most of these are excluded from the data entirely. Our Yonkers car accident lawyers simply do not have data on settlements beyond some of our previous settlements, some of which are private and cannot be shared or discussed anyway.
Moreover, settlements and jury awards are often different. Many New York car accident cases cannot legally go to trial and would never face a jury verdict. This is because New York uses no-fault insurance rules where each driver’s PIP (personal injury protection) policy covers their damages. Each of these cases technically qualifies as a settlement, and most of them are not for severe injuries. In order to get your case to court in the first place, you have to have serious injuries that meet certain legal definitions. This means that a jury award at trial is almost certainly going to have a higher average than settlements since only severe cases get to that stage.
Statistics are also generally kept on injury cases at large, and specific statistics might not be available for car accident cases.
Ultimately, the statistics on the average settlement will not help you put a value on your case because your case is likely not “average” in many ways.
Calculating Damages for My Car Accident Settlement in New York
To determine how much your case is worth, you should have one of our New York car accident lawyers review your specific case. Each case is different, and there is really no such thing as an average car accident case. The damages are different for each person and will change based on who you are and how the injuries affected your life. This ultimately changes the factors that go into settling as well, potentially shaping whether your case is even appropriate for a settlement or whether it should go to trial.
Simple Economic Damages
To calculate damages in your case, you will generally start with a list of all expenses paid because of the accident. These are generally called “economic damages,” but some economic damages are simpler to calculate than others.
If your accident involved no injuries and you only faced vehicle damage, that will likely be your only expense used to calculate damages. Technically speaking, most car accident cases involve property damage only and no injuries, so this would technically be how the “average” case ends.
If you faced injuries, your damages are going to be more extensive. This will mean claiming compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident. If you were forced to spend money for nearly anything because of the accident – such as alternative transportation, childcare during doctor’s appointments, crutches, and wheelchairs, or even mental health counseling – then those damages should be compensated.
Some damages are harder to calculate based on paper records and will need additional evidence and expert analysis. Many car accident victims face injuries and disabilities that will keep them from returning to work at their old capacity. This could require you to claim damages for ongoing lost wages and lost earning capacity.
If you are totally disabled, then you could be reimbursed for the wages you will miss in the future. This will vary widely based on your job and how much you make, so our New Rochelle car accident lawyers will generally need an economic expert to evaluate your claim and put a value on these damages.
We may also consult experts about your medical condition to gauge expected recovery and future medical care needs.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Additionally, damages for pain and suffering have no price tags or receipts to help us put a value on these damages. The experience of pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life, embarrassment, fear, and more will all vary from person to person. Putting a value on these damages is a very personal experience, so our lawyers will need to work closely with you to evaluate these damages.
When to Settle or Go to Trial
In the end, many cases are severe enough that they should not be settled through an insurance claim. To get the full damages you need, you will often have to go to court, especially since non-economic damages like pain and suffering are barred in insurance settlements. This means that getting the damages you need might mean having your Mount Vernon car accident lawyer negotiate settlements with the other party and their insurance company or reject settlement altogether in favor of fighting your case before a judge and jury at trial.
Call Our New York Car Accident Lawyers for Help with a Settlement
It is important to have a White Plains car accident attorney review your case before seeking a settlement. For a free case review, call The Martello Law Firm today at (914) 685-6950.