How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth?

February 26, 2024 | Steve Fields
How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth?
How Much Is a Car Accident Claim Worth

How much a car accident claim is worth depends on several variables. The specific injuries the victim suffers, the nature of their injury symptoms, the cost of their property damage, and other factors will determine the value of their car accident claim.

There is no algorithm or blueprint for determining the value of a car accident claim. Instead, a car accident attorney in Minnetonka will thoroughly investigate your unique damages and assign a financial value to each. This process will reveal the value of your car accident claim.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Key Factors That Determine the Value of a Car Accident Claim

While each case has a different value, there are a few common variables that increase the cost of a claim. These variables include:

The Severity of Injuries

Injuries are one of the most common outcomes of car accidents. Injuries are also the primary reason why many accident victims hire attorneys. Some common ailments among car accident victims include:

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries, which can be particularly expensive
  • Internal injuries, including internal bleeding and injuries to vital organs
  • Burns
  • Severe cuts and bruises
  • Eye injuries
  • Amputation injuries

The specific injuries you have suffered will be important in determining the value of your claim. Just as important, though, will be the severity of your injuries and the symptoms those injuries cause.

If any of your injuries are disabling, this will be noteworthy for your attorney. Disabling injuries can cause lifelong economic and non-economic harm, and a disability tends to increase the value of a car accident claim.

The Extent of Vehicle Damage

Property damage is common among car accident victims, and the cost of your property-related expenses may depend on:

  • The value of the vehicle you drive
  • The extent of damage to your vehicle
  • Whether you can repair your vehicle or need to replace it
  • The value of any other property damaged during your collision

Your lawyer will consult automotive repair technicians to determine the cost of vehicle repairs and other property costs.

The Duration of a Victim's Absence from Work

Professional damages will be another of your lawyer's concerns, as they seek compensation for your absence from work. Some considerations when valuing professional damages include:

  • The amount of money you earn
  • How long you cannot work
  • Whether you can return to work in a full capacity (or whether you must adjust your role to accommodate injury symptoms)
  • Whether you were up for promotion or eligible for performance bonuses when you got injured 
  • Whether you lose benefits because of your car accident

Your attorney will get access to employment records when valuing your professional damages. They may also consult economists and speak with your employer to determine the complete cost of your professional harm.

The Severity of the Victim's Pain and Suffering

Car accident lawsuits often include the cost of a victim's pain and suffering. This class of damages does not have a clear financial value but undoubtedly entitles the victim to compensation.

Car Accident Claim

Your attorney will consider:

  • Specific conditions that have resulted from your accident (such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety)
  • The severity of your mental health symptoms
  • The severity of physical pain related to your injuries
  • The cost of treating any physical, emotional, and psychological conditions related to your accident

Attorneys do not begin settlement negotiations until they accurately calculate their clients' economic and non-economic damages. With an experienced lawyer leading your case, you should trust that they are fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Specific Damages Your Lawyer Will Factor Into Your Car Accident Claim

Car accident victims suffer specific damages that require a fair financial recovery. Your attorney will categorize each of your damages into several groups, which can include:

Healthcare Expenses

Auto accident victims often dread the arrival of medical bills, which can be overwhelming after a car accident. An attorney will work to ensure that liable parties—not the victim—pay for all accident-related medical services, which may include:

  • An ambulance ride
  • Emergency services
  • Hospital services
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment
  • Medical professional appointments
  • Medical imaging 
  • Rehabilitation services

Your attorney will become well-acquainted with your injuries, medical needs, and recovery plan. They will work with doctors and their medical professionals to determine the cost of all accident-related healthcare services.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is a legal term that covers many of the non-economic harms that accidents cause. A car accident victim's pain and suffering may include:

  • Acute physical pain from accident-related injuries
  • Chronic physical pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of physical or cognitive abilities
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Lost quality of life

While attorneys can recognize symptoms of pain and suffering, they won't evaluate yours on their own. Your lawyer may have a mental health professional provide a formal diagnosis of your conditions and symptoms and will refer to these diagnoses during settlement talks.

Professional Harm

The professional cost of a car accident can include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Lost bonus-earning opportunities
  • Failure to earn promotions 
  • Lost benefits
  • Loss of fulfillment and psychological stability provided by steady employment 

Your lawyer will gather relevant employment-related documentation to determine the cost of your professional damages. They may also consult professionals to determine the future value of such damages.

Cost of a Totalled Vehicle

Property-related costs in a car accident claim can include:

  • The replacement cost of a totaled vehicle
  • The cost of repairing damaged vehicle components
  • Temporary transportation expenses
  • The cost of repairing or replacing any personal items (like clothing and electronics) damaged during the car accident

Attorneys account for every type of harm car accidents cause, from medical costs to vehicle rentals and everything in between.

A Wrongful Death

Nearly 43,000 victims died in traffic accidents in 2022, and many of those victims likelyleft behind grieving loved ones. Coping with a loved one's death is overwhelming, and you should not try to handle a lawsuit amidst your grief.

A fatal car accident attorney can seek a financial recovery for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Survivors' pain and suffering (including grief)
  • The decedent's pain and suffering
  • Loss of the decedent's household contributions
  • Loss of the decedent's income 
  • Loss of the decedent's non-economic value (such as a spouse's companionship)

Wrongful deaths are tragic, but an attorney will work to achieve justice by holding liable parties accountable. 

Your Attorney Will Supplement Their Settlement Demands with Evidence 

Your attorney will seek evidence of each damage for which they are seeking compensation. Relevant documentation for common types of car accident damages include:

  • For medical costs: X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, medical bills, and doctors' notes about injuries and treatment needs
  • For professional damages: Past income statements, an employer's notes about how injuries have affected you, and professional opinions about how injuries impede your ability to work
  • For pain and suffering: Bills for counseling and medications, a mental health professional's diagnosis of your conditions, and professional testimony about the likely duration of mental health symptoms
  • For property-related costs: Generate invoices for vehicle repairs and determine the Kelley Blue Book value for a vehicle that requires replacement, as well as invoices for temporary transportation

Attorneys know how to document accident-related damages. Your lawyer will work quickly to secure any proof of damages that will be relevant to your claim or lawsuit.

Steps Your Lawyer Will Take to Secure the Financial Recovery You Deserve

Car accident claims are multi-step processes that your lawyer will oversee from start to finish. The sequence for resolving a car accident claim usually involves:

Step One: Find Evidence of Fault

Your attorney will seek video footage, professional testimony, witness testimony, photographs, cellular records, and other evidence proving who caused your car accident.

Step Two: Compile All Proof of Your Damages

Your lawyer will secure and organize all documentation of your accident-related damages. This documentation will be essential to the success of your claim.

Step Three: Complete Settlement Negotiations

Your lawyer will lead settlement negotiations for you, at which time they will:

  • Explain how much compensation they are seeking from liable parties
  • Present proof of the liable parties' negligence (that caused your accident to happen)
  • Point out specific details of insurance policies that support your claim
  • Present documentation of your damages
  • Address any arguments made by liable parties against your claim

Settlement negotiations are dynamic, unpredictable processes that require a nimble negotiator. Your attorney's legal training and prior experience may be especially valuable during settlement negotiations.

Step Four: Complete a Trial, if Necessary

Some car accident claims become lawsuits. Those lawsuits sometimes go to trial. Whether or not your case goes to trial will depend on whether or not liable parties offer a fair settlement.

Your attorney will also handle every other aspect of your car accident claim, which will likely include:

  • Communicating with insurance companies and others involved in your case
  • Providing any documentation of your damages that the insurance companies require
  • Completing all claim-related paperwork 
  • Evaluating all settlement offers (and discussing them with you)
  • Coordinating settlement negotiations
  • Preparing you for any aspects of the claim you must participate in
  • Protecting your rights throughout your case

Lawyers handle the administrative needs of their clients' cases, ensuring that those clients can remain focused on recovering from their injuries.

Can I Handle My Car Accident Claim?

Every car accident victim has the right to handle their claim without an attorney, but there are several reasons why you may choose not to. Handling a claim without an attorney can mean:

Settlement Demands
  • You invest significant time and effort into your claim (with no guarantee of a positive result): Your time may be extremely limited after your car accident. You must recognize the time and effort required to complete an insurance claim or lawsuit. Investing such time and effort during recovery can compromise your physical and mental well-being.
  • You miss crucial evidence or documentation: Because of your limited time and possible inexperience, you may fail to recognize or collect evidence that may be pivotal to a positive case outcome. 
  • You take on insurance companies without help: Insurance companies employ trained, experienced professionals to fight against car accident claims. It may not be a fair negotiation if you lack experience negotiating financial settlements. 
  • You risk losing the case: Attorneys cannot guarantee a case victory, but their experience and resources may put your case in a position for success. 

You do not have to take such risks with your case. Simply hire a car accident attorney to lead your case, and they will make it their responsibility to secure the compensation you deserve.

What Makes a Qualified Car Accident Attorney?

Hiring a car accident lawyer is a consequential decision, so you should weigh several criteria when choosing a law firm. You can recognize a qualified car accident claim attorney because:

They Have Case Results

Law firms are judged in large part by their case results. A law firm with an established record of securing large financial recoveries may be worth trusting with your car accident claim.

They Have Positive Client Testimonials

Clients understand best whether a law firm is worthy of your trust. Read reviews from former clients, who may:

  • Confirm that a law firm lives up to its promises (or fails to do so)
  • Explain the law firm's strengths
  • Describe any disappointments that the client has with the law firm
  • Guide you towards a law firm that is client-focused
  • Spare you the headache of choosing the wrong law firm

One might argue that reviews from former clients are just as telling as any other criteria you will consider.

They Frequently Handle Car Accident Cases

The more experience a law firm has in handling various car accident cases, the more adept they may be in navigating the complexities of your specific situation and effectively leading your claim.

Don't Waste Time in Hiring Your Car Accident Claim Attorney

Your case will only be as strong as the evidence your attorney can gather. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can begin securing such evidence.

There may also be a strict deadline for filing your case, so don't hesitate any longer; take prompt action to select your attorney.

Steve Fields Author Image

Steve Fields

Founder | CEO | Principal | Attorney

Steve Fields founded Fields Law in 2001 and quickly established a reputation with his Personal Injury clients for being a lawyer who truly cares. After more than 20 years, those clients continue to refer their friends and family whenever they have been injured or become disabled.

Author's Bio