The average settlement for a car accident is a meaningless figure because it has no relevance to what the value of your car accident case may be. When you consider the injuries, expenses, and other details involved, you will find that settlements in these cases can vary widely.
Factors Contributing to the Value of a Car Accident Case in New York
The recoverable damages in a car accident case depend on many factors and are never the exact same for any two collisions. The differences in these factors significantly affect the value of a case, making it difficult to compare settlements, even between similar accidents. In fact, even when multiple occupants of the same vehicle are injured in the same accident, the value of each of their respective claims or lawsuits can vary significantly.
The Severity of Your Injuries Can Affect Your Settlement
The severity of your injuries and the costs of treatment, rehabilitation, and other related expenses are likely the largest economic loss associated with your accident. As mentioned above, even in the same accident, two victims can sustain dramatically different injuries, both in severity and nature. For example, two different victims of rear-ending may both experience whiplash. While one may recover within a couple of days, the other may experience additional complications as a result. For illustration only, imagine that the additional complications include complex and dangerous cervical (neck) surgery involving the installation of hardware, with a long, painful recovery and a permanent limited range of motion, limitation on activities, and partial or even full disability from employment. The contrast between these two “neck injury,” accident victims is striking. Obviously, the potential value of their respective cases are very different. If both claims settle, averaging the result would, as stated above, be meaningless.
Other Damages Can Impact Case Value
There are also other recoverable damages beyond medical expenses in many car accident cases. This includes lost income from time away from work because of your injuries, as well as related out-of-pocket expenses. For example, you might need to pay for travel and accommodations to see a medical specialist.
Different Legal Options May Make Additional Damages Available
If you qualify to step outside the state’s no-fault insurance laws and pursue a fault-based claim, you will be eligible to pursue additional damages. In a fault-based claim, you can also recover both current and probable future expenses, as well as non-economic expenses for intangible losses.
Understanding Your Recoverable Damages
The idea of an average settlement for a car accident is further shown to be meaningless as we look at the different sources of recovery. The recoverable damages differ between a PIP claim and a fault-based liability claim. According to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), no-fault coverage includes the following:
- Medical care coverage up to policy limits (normally $50,000) for reasonable care costs according to the established fee schedule
- Up to $2,000 each month for 80 percent of your lost wages, up to three years
- Up to $25 per day for one year for “reasonable and necessary” daily expenses
Meanwhile, a fault-based liability claim or civil suit allows you to seek additional types of damages that a PIP claim does not cover. This includes:
- Future medical care costs
- Ongoing care and support for catastrophic injuries
- Diminished earning ability
- Loss of services
- Impaired quality of life
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
- Other intangible losses
Almost all car accident injury victims in New York will receive some level of No-Fault benefits. Not all car accident injury victims in New York will recover compensation in a fault-based claim, but of those who do, the range is enormous. Once again, averaging all these different accident injury victim compensation outcomes does not inform as to what should be expected in your case.
Building a Case for Compensation with Help from a Car Accident Attorney
At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we take our obligation to our clients very seriously. We recognize that every case is unique. Every case demands ongoing careful analysis as information is obtained pertaining to:
- How did the accident happen?
- What is the at-fault party’s insurance coverage or level of personal assets?
- How badly hurt is our client?
- What medical treatment has our client had and anticipates having?
- What level of injury recovery will our client have?
- What long term effects on our client will the injuries have?
These questions demand our full attention, not comparing the value supported by the unique answers to these questions to an “average” that does nothing to help our client.
We encourage accident victims to reach out to our team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., as soon as they can after a collision. Per New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214, we only have a limited time to file suit in a car accident case, if it becomes necessary. We only have a limited time to find the accident witnesses. We only have a limited time to find evidence such as surveillance or dash-cam video. The sooner you contact us, the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible for you.
We provide complimentary case reviews to accident victims on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. We have a multilingual staff who can speak with you in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada.
Let us advocate for your best interests after your New York car accident. Call the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. team now at (516) 932-0400 to get started.