If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you may be wondering how much of a financial award you could recover for your injuries and what the average settlement is across car accident cases. The answer to this question depends on many moving parts.
Injury settlements do not follow a one-size-fits-all pattern by any means, and looking at averages is not particularly enlightening. The settlement amount depends on the severity of your injuries, whether you were entirely or partially at fault in the accident, and more.
To learn more, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 today to discuss your case with our Mississippi car accident lawyers.
The Settlement Process for a Mississippi Car Accident Case
A settlement starts with you asking the defendant and their insurance company for the damages you deserve. After an accident, there are a few different areas of damages you could be entitled to claim, and our Jackson, MS car accident lawyers can help you determine what those damages are.
Next, the settlement amount can be affected by the bargaining process. The strength of the evidence you and your attorneys supply will help show the defendant what their chances of successfully defending against your claim in court would be. If they are shown they have a slim chance of a successful defense, they are more likely to pay a fair settlement; but if they think they can win by denying your claim in court, they might try to settle low to simply end the case quickly. They might also refuse settlement entirely, and it will be up to the strength of your attorney’s negotiating skills to try to get your case settled at a fair value.
Finally, settlement negotiations can be affected by the policy ceiling limits of the relevant policies. Under a bodily injury car insurance policy, the insurance company will not pay more than the maximum amount per person, per accident. Without a court order, the defendant is unlikely to want to pay damages from their own pocket above these limits, and many care accident settlements depend heavily on what the defendant’s maximum insurance payout is.
Recoverable Damages in a Mississippi Car Accident Settlement
When settling your case, you will need to know what damages you can actually claim. Getting full compensation often means taking your case to a car accident lawyer who can review your situation and help you make sure that all damages are included in your claim. Then, when it comes time to negotiate a settlement, we can also make sure all damages are accounted for before you accept.
Car accident settlements typically compensate you for “compensatory” damages – that is, damages paid to compensate you for some harm you suffered. These damages pay for both economic and non-economic damages. The primary distinction between these two areas of damages is that economic damages have a set financial value to them, while non-economic damages are paid for intangible harms. To prove economic damages like medical bills, lost earnings, and other bills and expenses, you can produce the bills or financial records that prove their value. To prove non-economic damages like pain and suffering, you will testify and have others testify about the effect the injury has had on your life and wellbeing.
Settling a Car Accident Case vs. Going to Court in Mississippi
The majority of cases do not go to trial and are settled without court intervention. Whether or not you go to trial could have a big impact on your final settlement amount.
If you settle out of court, you have a degree of control over the amount you receive – perhaps more so than with a jury. If you give your case to a jury, the prospect of recovery becomes more high risk. You could receive a generous award, or possibly nothing at all.
On the other hand, many parties exchange settlement offers in the hopes of resolving the case instead of going to trial. Trials are more time-consuming and expensive, so insurance companies often seek to avoid trial even if that means paying you a smaller amount to simply put an end to the case.
How a Driver’s Partial Fault Affects Settlements in Mississippi Car Crash Cases
Your degree of fault in an accident can affect your financial recovery amount. The jury may determine an apportionment of fault for the accident based on the percentage of fault that each driver shares. This can ultimately reduce your damages as well if they find you partially responsible for the crash.
If you settle your case instead of going to trial, then you could be left with the insurance company making these kinds of decisions about proportional fault. They might not accept the idea that you were only partially at fault and might not want to pay any damages to you if you were even a little bit at fault. Instead, they might try to reduce the compensation they pay you even further by taking the risk of going to trial in the hopes that the jury will rule against you.
Our Biloxi car accident attorneys can make legal arguments and point to evidence that shows you were truly only partially at fault. In some cases, this evidence will be enough to show the insurance company that their best outcome is to agree to your settlement terms – but if they refuse to settle for a fair value, then we can fight the case in court on your behalf.
At trial, juries can still award partial damages to victims who shared some degree of fault. Under these “pure comparative fault” rules in Mississippi, you can get damages for whatever degree of fault the defendant was responsible for, even if that was only 1%. This prevents victims from being left to pay for the damages that the other driver caused them.
Getting Car Accident Damages from Other Sources in Mississippi
You may also be able to collect money from health insurance policies, disability insurance through your employer, Worker’s Compensation, or certain government programs rather than relying solely on the defendant’s insurance. You should check to see if your benefits from other sources could potentially reduce your recovery from insurance. For example, if you initially pay for medical care with your health insurance, then the bills are lower than they would be if you had the auto insurance company paying the full value of medical care.
Call Our Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Today
Call Howe Law’s Mississippi personal injury lawyers at (844) 876-4357 for a free case evaluation.