New York’s personal injury law firm

Click For Your Free Consulation

Top 10 Factors That Determine How Much to Expect From a New York City Car Accident Settlement

Posted in Car Accidents on August 3, 2021

Many individuals wonder how much they will receive for their injury claim after a car accident. Many factors impact how much a car accident claim is worth. Unfortunately, some of those factors are not within the accident victim’s control.

We look at 10 factors that can influence your car accident settlement below.

Factors That Could Impact the Value of Your Car Accident Settlement

1.  The Availability of Car Insurance

New York requires drivers to have minimum liability insurance for registered vehicles, even when the vehicle is not in use.

The minimum car insurance for New York are:

  • $25,000 for injury and $50,000 for death to one person involved in the car accident
  • $50,000 for injury and $100,000 for death to two or more people involved in a car accident
  • $10,000 for damage to property

Unfortunately, there are many uninsured drivers on the road. Additionally, many drivers only carry the minimum coverage amounts. If the damages in your case exceed car insurance limits, you must sue the driver personally. This process can cost more money than it is worth if the driver does not have the assets to pay a judgment.

2.  Type and Severity of Injuries

In many cases, severe injuries increase the value of a car accident settlement. The costs to treat severe injuries are high, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.

Also, a severe injury victim is likely to be out of work for an extended recovery period and could be entitled to significant damages for lost wages. Likewise, severe injuries may increase the value of pain and suffering damages. It is presumed that severe injuries result in increased pain, discomfort, anxiety, emotional distress, and other damages.

Keeping detailed records of all expenses and losses can help increase your odds of receiving all damages.

3.  Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Financial Losses

Most accident victims are entitled to reimbursement for their financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses if another party is wholly responsible for their car crash.

Examples of financial losses (economic damages) include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
  • Medical care and treatment
  • Over-the-counter medications and medical supplies
  • Specialized medical equipment
  • Cost of therapy, including physical, occupational, vocational, mental health, and other therapies
  • Modifications to your car and home because of an impairment or disability
  • Assistance with personal care and household chores

If you want to be reimbursed for financial losses and expenses, you need proof of the expense. Keeping detailed records of financial losses and expenses is crucial to maximizing the value of your accident settlement.

4.  Your Statements After the Car Accident

Never apologize or say you are sorry after a car accident. Saying “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of fault for the car accident. Instead, focus on making notes about what other people say after the crash.

When you speak to the police officer, do not lie. Instead, focus on the facts of what happened. Likewise, when you talk to medical providers, focus on your injuries and symptoms instead of the car accident.

An insurance claims adjuster may ask you to make a statement. It is not in your best interest to provide a recorded or written statement without first consulting an accident attorney. Claims adjusters are skilled at asking leading questions or questions that result in ambiguous responses.

Beware – Many insurance companies record telephone conversations, even if they do not tell you.

5.  Pre-Existing Conditions

An insurance company may argue that pre-existing conditions or a prior injury are the cause of your current condition. Do not allow the insurance company to talk you into a low settlement because you have a health condition or prior injury. You are entitled to compensation even if the accident merely aggravated a condition.

Do not agree to sign a medical records authorization without ensuring that the information is limited to the car accident injuries. Insurance companies might try to access your complete medical history to search for pre-existing conditions or injuries they can use to their advantage during settlement negotiations.

6.  Evidence of Fault

You have the burden of proving that the other driver caused your accident before you can recover compensation for your injuries. If your evidence is weak, the insurance company may lower its settlement offer. An attorney can help you determine whether to accept a lower settlement offer or risk trying your case in court.

7.  Allegations of Contributory Negligence

Under New York’s contributory negligence laws, your damages can be reduced if you are partially to blame for the car accident. For example, if the value of your claim is $200,000 but you are 50 percent to blame for the crash, you would only receive $100,000 for your accident claim.

8.  Prompt Medical Care

Delays in medical care can complicate settlement negotiations. For example, the insurance company may argue that your delayed treatment worsened your condition. It will contend that this failure to mitigate damages should decrease the value of your injury claim.

Prompt medical treatment after a car accident is best for your health. It also increases the chance that you receive maximum compensation for your damages.

9.  Permanent Impairments and Disabilities

When an accident causes permanent disabilities and impairments, the victim may be compensated for additional damages, such as:

  • Ongoing medical and personal care
  • Nursing home or long-term assisted care
  • Loss of future wages
  • Reductions in future earning capacity
  • Ongoing mental anguish, grief, emotional distress, and physical pain
  • Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life

The value of future damages depends on many factors. Car accident attorneys generally hire medical experts, economists, and other professionals to assist in valuing future damages.

10.  Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

The insurance company will not tell you the actual value of your injury claim. The insurance company will do everything in its power to pay as little as possible to settle your car accident claim.

Having an experienced car accident lawyer protects your right to fair compensation. Insurance companies know the personal injury lawyers in the area. They know which attorneys settle all claims and which are willing to fight in court to protect their clients’ best interests.

You are not required to accept a low settlement offer. You have the right to seek legal advice and negotiate a higher settlement amount that compensates you for the damages and losses caused by a negligent driver.