If you’re the victim of an automobile accident, you have questions that need answers. Naturally, you want to know how and when your medical bills will get paid and how much somebody else’s negligence will cost you when it’s all is said and done. Wondering what you might expect in terms of compensation for your losses is totally normal. Unfortunately, the question doesn’t come with an easy answer.
The average settlement for a car accident in Georgia has nearly nothing to do with your accident claim. Your accident is unique. There is nothing average about what’s happened to you, so an average settlement figure – if it did exist – wouldn’t help you much.
Like everything else in the world, the cost of protecting yourself in an accident is going up. (If charts and graphs are your thing, you can find lots of data on the cost of insurance and the price insurance companies pay for accidents each year at the Insurance Information Institute website.) It will not come as a big surprise to you that the increase in insurance premium costs corresponds roughly with the cost of settling accident claims and both are moving slowly upward. Does this information give you a good idea of what your claim is worth? Probably not.
Some attorneys will tell you that if you multiply your medical bills times 3 you will have a workable estimate of your potential settlement. We don’t think it’s quite that easy.
The truth is, every single accident is different. There are so many variables in an accident that no two are alike. It is simply not possible for anybody to come up with an average amount or a widget that effectively and accurately calculates what you’ve lost.
The only human beings who can establish a value for your accident claim are you and your lawyer working as a team. You may be sure that certain facts about your accident will come into play. Some of those facts are;
- All medical costs past, present, and future
- All lost time from work
- Lost potential for future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Cost to replace your damaged personal property – your car, for example
Each of these factors has a value depending on the specifics of your accidents and the severity of your injuries. Much also depends upon how the accident affects the way in which you make your living. If you are a plumber, chances are you need both hands to do your work. If you lose one of them in a car accident, your future will be impacted differently than, say, somebody who stomps grapes for a living.
We humans need to recognize that an accident settlement is a very personal matter that cannot be treated in a one-size-fits-all manner. You need an attorney who looks beyond the language written on some insurance policy. You need a legal team prepared to fight for every last nickel you need in order to be “made whole” again.
Proving your Accident Claim
Of course, what you collect in your accident settlement depends in large part upon what you can actually prove. Before you retain a lawyer, it’s important that you get the basic information about your accident together.
- The accident report from the police
- The name and insurance information for the other driver
- Witness names and contact information
- Your own written statement about how the accident happened
- Pictures of the scene of the accident if available
- All relevant medical bills to date
- Details about your vehicle including loan documents
It’s also important to start keeping a day-to-day journal of the ways in which the accident has changed your life. You will need to report on any pain you experience, or difficulty doing daily tasks both personal and professional. Additionally, you’ll want to keep receipts and details about anything you pay someone else to do because of your injury. (Mowing the lawn or caring for the children while you recover are examples of this.)
Ultimately, the settlement result will depend far more upon the law firm you choose than it will almost anything else. You can give six people the same five ingredients for a cake, but the pastry result is guaranteed to be different for each baker. Chances are, the best cake will be produced by the baker with the most extensive baking experience. Experience is also the most critical ingredient in putting together a winning accident claim.
When it comes to car accident settlements, it’s wise to bring in a specialist. Take the time to find a personal injury lawyer whose experience spans decades, not just years. Choose a firm with a broad range of experience in handling accident claims, a qualified support staff, and a reputation as a hard-ball negotiator because, in the end, you’ll need a proven winner on your side.
When you call the Millar Law Firm, we’ll schedule you for a free case evaluation. We will examine and evaluate the facts in your accident. We will help you to know precisely how to proceed. It is at that point, and not before, when we will be able to give you some idea of how much your accident claim will be worth in the end – only after we’ve had the opportunity to look at your special circumstances and your unique situation. The Millar Law Firm will tailor your claim to fit you. That’s part of claiming the justice you deserve, and that’s our specialty. Call us today.