6 Factors That Could Affect Your Car Accident Settlement
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Mar 16, 2018 in Car Accidents News
After a car accident, several factors can have a significant impact on your ability to collect compensation for your injuries and losses.
For this reason, it is important to know which factors could affect the value of your settlement after being injured in a car accident.
The New Jersey car accident attorneys of Lynch Law Firm are dedicated to helping car accident victims protect their best interests. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another’s negligence, we will help you pursue the maximum compensation for your claim.
1. The Severity of Your Injury
The severity of your injury can impact the value of your settlement significantly. This includes the level of suffering you have endured because of your injuries and whether the effects are temporary or permanent.
Common injuries from car accidents that can cause lifelong pain and suffering include:
- Brain injuries
- Leg injuries
- Arm injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
Victims who suffer a permanent injury during an auto accident may be entitled to more compensation because their injuries likely require more medical care and will cause long-term pain and suffering.
In contrast, victims who suffer temporary injuries, such as whiplash or broken bones, are expected to make a full recovery in a shorter amount of time.
2. The Strength of Your Medical Records
Medical records are important evidence in supporting your accident-related injuries. Seeking medical treatment immediately following an accident allows a medical professional to diagnose your injuries, link them to the accident and prescribe treatment.
If you do not have strong medical evidence, insurance companies may try to say your injuries are not related to the accident or are not as severe as you state, leading to lower settlement offers. The stronger your medical records, the greater chance of a more favorable settlement.
3. Evidence of the Other Driver's Fault
Although New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, which means you will file a claim with your own insurance company, it is important to identify who was at fault for the accident.
Strong evidence for proving fault in a car crash includes:
- Accident reports
- Surveillance footage of the accident
- Eye witness accounts of the accident
- Pictures of the accident scene, vehicles and surrounding area
A skilled attorney who has experience representing auto accident victims will understand which evidence you need to help prove the other driver is at fault for your injury.
4. Your Own Fault
If your actions played a role in the accident, your settlement amount may be reduced. New Jersey follows a comparative negligence doctrine, which means you may still recover compensation in an accident claim if your negligence in the collision is less than the other party’s. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
If your actions were found to have contributed to the accident, your settlement will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you were found to be 20 percent negligent and the award was $100,000, you would receive $80,000.
5. Your Actions After the Crash
Your actions after a car accident will play an important role in establishing consistency and supporting that your injury has impacted your life significantly. If the insurer does not think you took the correct steps that demonstrate how severe your injuries are, it may reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether.
Because of this, you should always see a doctor immediately following a crash. An insurer may see your hesitation to seek immediate medical treatment as a sign that your injuries are not as severe as stated in your claim.
It is also critical that you follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor to show you did not ignore medical advice and took the right steps to heal your condition.
Likewise, if you cannot work due to your injuries, you should not perform physically demanding activities.
6. Your Version of Events
When you provide a statement after an auto accident, it is important that you stick to the facts of what you believe occurred during the collision.
The statement you provide to insurers reviewing your claim must match the statement you provide to the responding police officers, emergency medical personnel or your health care provider. Inconsistencies in your version of events could cast doubt on your claim. To ensure consistency, state the facts as you know them.
Furthermore, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney who has experience working with insurance companies to help you with your claim. Your lawyer will understand how to provide a factual statement that may help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Get Help After a Car Accident
Lynch Law Firm’s New Jersey personal injury attorneys will work to protect your rights after a car accident to help you secure your claim.
We will investigate your claim, handle communications with the insurance company and work to negotiate favorable compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Do not hesitate to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim with a member of our legal team. We provide all of our services on contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees. You only pay us if you recover compensation for your claim.
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