What is an average settlement for an auto accident claim in SC?
If you are recovering from a car crash in SC that was someone else’s fault, one of your first questions for your attorney may be, “What is my case worth?” You may also be wondering, “What is the average settlement for an auto accident claim?”
There is no “average settlement” for an auto accident claim in SC – although you could take all settlement amounts for all auto accident cases in SC and find the average, that would be 1) impractical because many settlements are confidential, and 2) not helpful because your settlement amount will be based on the facts of your case.
So, how can we estimate the value of an auto accident claim?
There is no Average Settlement for an Auto Accident Claim
Insurance adjusters, plaintiff’s attorneys, and insurance defense attorneys look at many factors when deciding the value of an auto accident claim.
An “average” settlement amount is not helpful, because your case may be more or less serious than the “average” car wreck. You may have ongoing injuries, future medical expenses, a need for long-term care, or other types of damages that we may not see in every auto accident case.
On the other hand, you may have minimal injuries requiring a visit to the ER and a single follow-up visit…
Other factors that will determine the value of your claim may include the strength of your case (liability) and the other driver’s policy limits (and ability to pay out of pocket). The “average” settlement amount in any geographical area does not help the attorneys or the court to determine the value of your case, and it does not help you to know what to expect.
So, without looking at the average settlement amount for an auto accident claim in SC, how can we determine the value of an auto accident claim?
How to Determine the Value of an Auto Accident Claim
Although many factors go into determining the value of your auto accident claim, the big ones are liability, damages, and insurance coverage. How do they affect the value of your case?
In some cases, liability is clear-cut, while in other cases liability may be hotly contested.
Liability in an auto accident case is usually decided by negligence – the other driver had a duty of care, they breached that duty, and, as a result, you were injured:
[Negligence is a] failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).
You must be able to prove the other driver was negligent – if you can easily prove their negligence, your settlement value will be higher than it would be if proving the other driver’s negligence is more difficult.
Another factor could be comparative negligence – if it is possible that jurors would find that both parties were at fault, your settlement value may be less than it would be if there is no question that the other driver was the only one at fault.
Looking at the average settlement for an auto accident claim would not take into account the damages that you suffered in your case. Assuming that liability is clear, the value of your claim will be determined by the severity of your injuries and how those injuries have affected the quality of your life.
How much pain did you suffer as a result of the other driver’s negligence? Were you able to return to your job or are you now disabled as a result of the other driver’s negligence? Have your injuries affected your everyday life?
You should be fully compensated for economic damages, including:
- Property damage,
- Emergency medical care,
- Doctor visits,
- Hospital stays,
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitation costs,
- Chiropractic care,
- Medical devices,
- Nursing care or the costs of other long-term care,
- Future medical care,
- Lost wages if you are forced to miss work as a result of your injuries, and
- Any out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of the accident.
You should also be fully compensated for any non-economic damages that you have suffered, including:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium, or
- Mental trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety, depression, or insomnia.
If the other driver’s actions were grossly negligent, willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional, your potential settlement should also take into account the possibility of punitive damages if the case should go to trial…
Unfortunately, some settlement amounts may be determined by the other driver’s policy limits…
Unless the other driver has assets that can be collected to satisfy a judgment, or unless there are multiple defendants or insurance policies that we can make a claim against, your recovery may be limited to the other driver’s policy limits.
If their liability is clear and you can easily prove that you suffered $20 million in damages, but the other driver has no assets and their policy limits are $25,000, the most you can collect is $25,000 and that is likely what the settlement offer will be…
If you have been injured in an auto accident, your personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team will investigate the crash and help you to determine the value of your case and what the other driver must pay for full and fair compensation.