Car accidents are not only terrifying, but they often cause severe injuries and property damage. According to the CDC, damages from accidents are significant and cost billions of dollars annually.
Local and state laws allow car accident victims to seek compensation for damages from at-fault parties. If you’ve been involved in an accident, hiring a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Greenwood is essential to protect your legal rights. A Greenwood injury attorney will assist you in maximizing your chance of financial recovery and presenting the most persuasive proof of your damages.
It is essential to know the worth of your claim. This will prevent the at-fault party’s insurance companies from giving you a lower settlement than you deserve.
Keep reading to learn how much to expect as damages after a car accident in Greenwood.
Recoverable Damages in Greenwood Car Accidents
You have the legal right to seek compensation for financial damages if you suffer harm due to an accident that was not your fault. In South Carolina, damages include:
- Economic or Special Damages: These are damages with a specific dollar value like medical bills, lost wages and loss of future income.
- Non-Economic or General Damages: Non-economic damages are often hard to tabulate because they have no exact economic value. They compensate victims for pain and suffering, emotional distress or even loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages: Courts may award punitive damages to punish extreme cases of negligence or recklessness. These damages aim to deter similar conduct.
Damage Caps in South Carolina
The State of South Carolina caps different types of damages that accident victims can recieve through a personal injury claim. When suing governments and government personnel, damages are capped at $300,000 per person or $600,000 per incident. The cap for non-economic damages in some medical malpractice claims is $350,000 per defendant. Punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the actual damages.
Factors Influencing the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
Car accident claims are rarely open and shut cases. There is no magic formula for calculating your case’s value, but an experienced auto accident attorney can help determine a reasonable figure.
Understanding how insurance companies arrive at settlement amounts is crucial. When investigating claims, insurance adjusters consider factors such as the severity of the injuries or property damage, who was at fault and medical expenses.
Here are some of the primary factors that determine your case’s worth:
The amount of available insurance is a crucial factor in determining the value of a settlement after a car accident. Any motorist in South Carolina must carry a minimum liability policy with a minimum coverage amount of $25,000 for personal bodily injury and $50,000 for all persons injured in a single crash. However, drivers can opt for more comprehensive policies at a higher cost. Commercial car insurance policies are typically much more extensive, ranging from half a million to several million dollars.
Even if you sustained severe injuries, the value of your vehicle accident compensation might be capped at the minimum liability insurance policy limit. If the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, you may be able to recover compensation under your coverage policy.
The Severity of Injuries and Property Damage
The seriousness of an accident is sometimes self-evident. It’s easy to prove how you or someone else could suffer severe injuries in a totaled vehicle. On the other hand, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not serious if the damage to the car was minor or moderate.
There may be a need for expert testimonies or legal action if the visible property damage does not adequately reflect the accident’s severity and the impact’s intensity. Having a seasoned lawyer on your side increases your chances of recovering total value.
Soft tissue injuries that heal entirely and do not cause lasting damage frequently settle for a minor multiple of your damages. In contrast, accidents that cause major, catastrophic injuries often receive large sums of money.
Did You Receive Prompt Treatment?
Since your health is the top priority after a crash, getting medical attention as quickly as possible is the best action. See a doctor immediately if you are experiencing severe pain, have sustained apparent injuries, are feeling faint or have difficulty breathing.
Waiting too long before getting checked out may allow the insurance company or defendant’s lawyer to claim that you weren’t injured in the collision. It can be challenging to overcome these defense arguments and obtain a reasonable settlement offer. That’s why it’s crucial to get medical attention for your injuries soonest possible after a collision.
Type of Treatment
The kind of medical care you receive depends on the extent of your injury. Settlements for soft tissue injuries that respond only to chiropractic care or physical therapy are typically lower. Cases involving more severe injuries that require hospitalization, continuous medication, or surgery usually settle for more money.
If your injury is not healing rapidly, you must keep up with your medical appointments and follow your doctor’s advice. Without treatment, you may be unable to convince an insurer to provide you with a fair settlement, even if you’re still in agony.
Total Medical Expenses and Lost Earnings
Current or future medical expenses and lost wages help determine your claim worth. High hospital bills usually translate to a more significant case value. Retain all proof of lost income and medical bills to build a solid case.
Average Car Accident Settlements in Greenwood, SC
Data from the Insurance Information Institute reports that the average settlement for a car accident was $18,417 for personal injury claims and $4,525 for property damage in 2019.
The compensation you receive primarily depends on talks between your attorney and the insurance company or any other at-fault parties. Your lawyer will need to compile all the evidence and document your costs and any relevant losses to calculate an acceptable settlement in your case.
Insurance adjusters often use averages and formulas to determine the cost of various injuries. So, you may still receive a low-ball settlement offer even if you submit enough proof of your damages and expenses.
Here’s a summary of what to expect as settlement for various types of injuries:
Minor Injuries: One of the most common minor injuries is soft tissue damage like whiplash and bruises. Since symptoms may delay, injuries like whiplash are usually challenging to document. The average settlement for minor injuries is between $10,000 and $25,000.
Long-Term Injuries: Long-term injuries that need surgery and extensive physical therapy range from broken ligaments to fractures. Such damages can secure settlements of between $50,000 to $75,000, depending on the accident.
Brain Injuries: Brain injuries are some of the worst you can suffer in a crash. They can be life-changing and cause various issues like cognitive impairments. These injuries settle at $100,000 to $250,000 on average.
Spinal Injuries: Spinal injuries that don’t cause paralysis are severe and usually require therapy or surgery. If you suffered a spinal injury, expect a settlement of anything between $75,000 to $100,000.
Severe Injuries: Some severe injuries leave victims dependent on daily assistance. Compensation for such injuries ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
Protect Your Legal Rights
Investing in excellent legal representation ensures you don’t get tricked out of the settlement you are entitled to. When negotiating for compensation, don’t underestimate the importance of having a lawyer on your side.
Retain a reputable and skilled car accident lawyer Greenwood, South Carolina, to help evaluate your claim and fight for fair compensation.