I get this question asked a lot. How much is my car accident case worth? How much money can I get for my car accident? It’s a good and fair question. But it’s not a question that can be answered at the beginning of your case. If any lawyer or online calculator tells you how much your case is worth soon after the accident, they either don’t know what they’re talking about or just telling you what you want to hear.
Let me explain: the other party’s insurance company owes you for two main things: 1) your property damage claim and 2) your bodily injury claim.
Your property damage claim is fairly straightforward. They owe you for the value of your car or how much it costs to repair your car, whichever is less and for a rental car while your car is getting repaired or until they pay you for your totaled car.
Now your bodily injury claim is much more complicated. The other party owes you for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The value of your bodily injury claim depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- What injuries do you have?
- How have your injuries affected your life?
- How will your injuries continue to affect your life?
- How much are your medical bills?
- Will you need future medical treatment?
- What do you do for work?
- Did you miss any time from work?
- Will you be able to return to work?
What’s important to remember is this: the more serious your injury, the more your case is worth. Let me say that again, the more serious your injury, the more your case is worth. This is why soon after the accident it’s too hard to say how much your case is worth. After your accident, we don’t know how much you’re hurt, how long you’ll be hurt, and how much medical treatment you’ll need to get to get better.
Some people only need a few weeks of medical treatment to get better. Other people need months of chiropractic treatment, X-rays, MRIs, epidural injections, and even surgery to get better.
At the beginning of your case nobody can really say with much accuracy how much your case is worth because we don’t know how much medical treatment you’ll need to get, what your x-rays and MRIs will show, and how your injuries will impact your life.
On top of not knowing how injured you are, we don’t know how much insurance coverage the other party has or if they have any assets (like a house) that are worth pursuing. If the other party doesn’t have any assets worth pursuing, then it’s best to seek payment from the other party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, in California, the other party’s insurance coverage might only by $15,000.00, which is the state minimum.
If you have underinsured motorist coverage greater than $15,000.00, then you might be able to pursue payment from your own insurance carrier too.
Most car accident cases, maybe about 75% of them, settle between $10,000 and $20,000, but that’s when the person only needed to get conservative treatment for a short period of time and didn’t miss much time from work.
The only time anyone can tell you the true value of your case is when you have completed your medical treatment and we know how much insurance coverage there is. Our job as personal injury lawyers is to make sure that you get paid the true value of your case.
After a car accident, make sure to call a personal injury lawyer, we’re the side that helps you – and makes them pay.