For most injured victims of car accidents, the most pressing question they have is, “How much money will I get to cover my costs?” This is not an easy question to answer right away because it depends on several different factors. It is important to realize that, no matter how similar your car accident seems to be to another crash, it is the factors we will discuss here that can make the two accidents worth very different amounts of money. Our Indianapolis car accident attorney will take a look at the most important factors one by one.
Type and Amount of Insurance Coverage
The most important factor in determining how much your claim is worth is how much insurance those involved in the crash have. When you are injured in a crash and the other driver is 100 percent to blame, your settlement will be limited to the total value of that driver’s insurance policy. Drivers in Indiana are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) of liability coverage. Although it is always recommended that drivers carry more insurance than this, many people only carry the minimum. In that case, $25,000 is the most you can be awarded—unless the at-fault driver has significant personal assets. If the at-fault driver has no insurance, it is unlikely you will be able to recover any damages from him.
Victim’s Own Auto Insurance
If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will have to turn to your own auto insurance policy for damages. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you may file a claim against it to make up the difference between the other driver’s coverage (if any) and your out-of-pocket costs. If you carry collision insurance, you may also make a claim to cover damage to your car. Finally, if you have a major medical insurance policy, your injuries and treatments may be covered under that policy if there is no other source of payment.
Type of Accident
The more serious the crash is, the higher the damages. If you are the victim of a rollover wreck or a head-on collision, your claim will be valued higher than if you are in a rear-end accident or t-bone crash. Multi-car pile-ups resulting in many injuries and fatalities will be viewed as catastrophic events and should also result in a higher settlement, if the funds are available.
Type of Vehicle That Caused the Accident
If you were hit by any kind of commercial vehicle, you may be able to file a claim against the employer of the driver as well as the driver. This can increase your settlement by a great deal. Semi-truck drivers are required to carry up to $1 million dollars in coverage and, if the trucking company is found to be at fault as well, you may be able to sue them for damages above and beyond this amount. If the at-fault driver was in any other type of commercial vehicle, such as a delivery van, company car, or taxi, his employer may also be held accountable for damages if the driver was on the clock at the time of the crash.
Type and Extent of Injuries
If there is a potential for a large settlement, the determining factor for how much of that you will get will be the extent of your injuries. Catastrophic injuries—such as paralysis, loss of limb, traumatic brain injury, or any other permanent disability—will be given the highest value. Other “hard” injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, and nerve damage—will also be valued generously because they are provable with x-rays. “Soft” injuries, such as whiplash, sprains, and strains, will receive a lower value as there is often no tangible proof of their seriousness.
Considerations for Filing a Claim
In addition to these factors, insurance adjusters and judges will value claims more highly when there is clear evidence of fault. A police report, photos of the scene and damaged vehicles, and a traffic citation for the other driver will all help you present a stronger claim. Likewise, medical evidence of the seriousness of your injuries will also strengthen your claim. No matter what the circumstances of your crash are, an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer can help you get the maximum possible settlement for your accident. Connect with Keller & Keller through the link on this page to learn more.