While a motor vehicle accident is always unexpected, being prepared for what to do if you’re in a car accident with injuries is critical as there are many factors that can negatively impact your case settlement. To receive the maximum settlement amount for your case, it’s important to understand all the factors that may positively or negatively affect the outcome.
There is no “average” when it comes to motor vehicle accident settlements. The settlement amount depends on a wide range of factors, such as the strength of evidence to support your claim, the severity of injuries and the extent of property damage. No two legal cases are ever the same so it’s impossible to know what your case is worth without evaluating the facts around your individual situation.
Continue reading to discover what factors affect may affect the outcome, and what to do and what not to do when it comes to handling your car accident case in Connecticut.
Factor #1: NOT Seeking Immediate Medical Treatment
After an accident, your adrenaline is running through your body, sometimes masking any underlying pain that can be present. Do not refuse treatment from an emergency responder or paramedic, as this decision can damage your case and therefore, your settlement.
Medical records are necessary documents for both your personal injury attorney and the at-fault’s insurance company. If you do not have any medical documentation, it will be very difficult for your personal injury attorney to prove existence of injuries. If you waited to seek medical attention, it will prove challenging to determine if these injuries were sustained due to the accident or occurred post-accident. This may raise red flags that can harm your injury settlement.
Factor #2: Injury Severity
An auto accident that results in catastrophic injuries – injuries that are serious and debilitating – such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, eye injury, multiple bone fractures and severe burns, may produce larger settlements.
Factor #3: Disruption in your Ability to Work
If you were involved in an accident with considerable injuries that have disrupted your everyday life and ability to earn what you were earning before the time of the accident, you may be entitled to a larger settlement. If injuries result in long-term effects and/or medical assistance in the victim’s life, you may be entitled to a larger settlement, as you can also sue for lost future earnings.
Factor #4: Admitting Fault or Wrongdoing
After an accident occurs, emotions may be high. Going through any kind of accident can be traumatizing, and under the strain of that trauma you may not know and you may not be able to accurately describe all the facts leading to the incident. Therefore, do not admit fault or wrongdoing to anyone until you have consulted with your attorney.
Factor #5: Emotional Damage
The suffering after being involved in a car accident can go far beyond financial and physical; a person’s mental wellbeing can be negatively impacted and cause long-lasting mental trauma. Whether it is an auto accident, dog bite injury, slip-and-fall or defective product case, you may be entitled to recover damages due to emotional pain and suffering. There are several ways to prove emotional damage in Connecticut, including medical documentation, the severity of the accident and/or injury and length of time that the emotional trauma persists. Symptoms of emotional damage include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and more. Thus, the presence and severity of these symptoms may affect the settlement of your case.
Factor #6: Negligence
Proving negligence, or carelessness that resulted in an accident, is required in most personal injury claims.
Connecticut follows what is called a “modified comparative negligence” law. Under this Connecticut law, the plaintiff can collect damages from a negligent defendant(s) as long as the plaintiff is they are found 50% or less at fault in the accident. For example, if you receive a $200,000 car accident settlement, but the jury finds you 40% at fault for the damages because you did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign, after paying comparative negligence, you will be entitled to $120,000 ($200,000 minus 40%).
Factor #7: Handling a Car Accident Case on Your Own
Even if your car accident case is seemingly straightforward, we strongly recommend that you hire a reputable personal injury attorney. You don’t want to go up against an insurance company, hospital or large corporation without the skilled representation of a personal injury lawyer on your side. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to skillfully counter the tactics that insurance companies typically use to undermine your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Robert L. Cavanaugh, Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney with more than 25 years of expertise, by clicking below or calling (203) 259-5400.