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What Amount Can I Expect for a Car Accident Settlement? — By Pauline Nassif, Civil Litigation Paralegal

Many times a personal injury lawsuit will settle out of court without a trial. In fact, more often than not out-of-court settlements occur. But who decides on the settlement amount? How can you determine how much your injuries, pain and suffering and other damages incurred are worth?  How do you get the at-fault party to pay for all this?

The following are some of the factors which determine the amount of car accident injury settlements.

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Who is at Fault?

Just about every settlement will include a “no fault clause” whereby the party who is giving the settlement explicitly states that they are not admitting any wrong doing or fault for the accident. However, the determination of who is at fault for an accident is the starting point in negotiating settlement for damages.  Naturally, if it is clear who the at-fault party is in the accident the easier it is to prove fault and the more determined the at-fault party will be to reach a settlement.

How much are the Damages?

A settlement from a car accident will aim to put the injured party back into the position they were before the accident occurred, or as close to that goal as possible.  Many times, injuries suffered in an accident may be permanently debilitating therefore the injured party could never be the same physically.  Financially speaking, the cost of personal injuries and damage to vehicles or other property can be compensated which can bring the injured party to the position they were prior to the accident.  The more damage that has been done to a person and their property, the higher the settlement calculation will be.

The Parties

A settlement is negotiated between the parties involved in the accident and their representatives.  The amount of the settlement is dependent upon whether or not one or both of the parties are willing to negotiate.  If a plaintiff wants to settle as quickly as possible then he or she may be willing to settle for a lower amount than a plaintiff who wants to negotiate long term in an effort to increase the settlement offer.  Insurance companies are the opposing parties and they handle hundreds or thousands of claims so they may be more willing to settle than an individual who thinks he or she isn’t at fault for the accident. All of these factors will affect the final settlement amount.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney, even if you plan to settle your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney has been through settlement talks many times and will be in a better position to assess the value of your claim and advocate on your behalf.

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