If you have been in an accident, you are probably wondering, What is the average car accident settlement in Florida? Settlements depend greatly on each case’s unique circumstances, which is why there is no accurate average settlement amount for car accidents in Florida. However, an experienced attorney can identify and calculate your damages and explain the average car accident payout in situations that are similar to yours.
Do I Have a Case?
To win a car accident personal injury case, you must prove someone caused your accident through negligence and that you suffered damages for which you can be compensated. To prove negligence, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty—you must prove the at-fault party owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care;
- Breach—you must prove the at-fault party breached that duty;
- Causation—you must prove the breach of duty caused your injury; and
- Damages—you must prove that you suffered losses because of your injury.
The injured person has the burden of proving all these elements when they file a personal injury claim. If you successfully prove all four elements, you can receive compensation from the at-fault party.
The term “damages” refers to the harm done as a result of negligence and is the most important element when calculating an average car accident settlement in Florida.
What Are Damages?
Simply put, the higher the damages, the higher the settlement value. You can get compensated for both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages are monetary losses such as the following:
- Medical bills,
- Future health care costs,
- Lost income for missed work,
- Lost future earnings, and
- Property damage or loss.
These damages are usually easy to calculate because a specific monetary value is attached to them. Generally, the biggest factor for economic damages is the severity of your injuries. The average settlement for a non-injury car accident will be much less because there are fewer out-of-pocket medical bills. It also matters whether your injuries are temporary or permanent. A permanent injury will result in higher future healthcare costs.
Noneconomic damages compensate you for the emotional and mental suffering caused by your accident. Noneconomic damages tend to be more subjective, and putting a dollar amount on them isn’t easy. However, some examples of noneconomic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Long-term physical impairments,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
In a state like Florida with no-fault insurance laws, the average settlement is generally lower because no-fault insurance results in you having much lower out-of-pocket medical bills.
In Florida, the “no-fault” law means that parties will use their own auto insurance policies to make claims in a car accident regardless of who is at fault. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is required for all Florida drivers in their car insurance policy to cover this.
However, PIP insurance has a limit on medical expenses. It will only pay up to a certain amount. If your injuries are serious enough to meet the law’s “injury threshold” or exceed your PIP coverage, you may file a lawsuit against the other driver.
As mentioned above, however, determining an average car accident lawsuit settlement is a complex process. An attorney can help you estimate your claim’s value based on your circumstances.
How to Calculate Car Accident Settlements Based on Damages
When figuring out how much your claim is worth, you should consider three main factors: the cost of medical treatment, the extent of your injuries, and your loss of income.
Cost of Medical Treatment
Adding up your medical bills is a good first step to calculating a potential settlement. You may incur a wide range of medical bills, including ER visits, surgical procedures, medication, disability devices, physical therapy, doctor visits, or other types of medical treatment. At the very least, your potential settlement should include whatever total you reach by adding up all those costs.
Extent of the Injuries
While the extent of your injuries goes hand-in-hand with the cost of medical treatment, it’s also important to consider how your injuries impact your quality of life. Suppose you can no longer engage in your hobbies or need special accommodations at home or work for your disabilities. Your potential settlement amount should include these losses and expenses. While calculating the cost of modifying your home to accommodate a disability is easy using invoices, it can be difficult to put a dollar amount on less tangible losses like pain and suffering. However, an experienced attorney will know how to calculate these damages to ensure you’re seeking as much compensation as you’re eligible to receive.
Loss Of Income
An injury can put you out of work for several days or months. You may struggle financially during your recovery. A permanent injury can also affect your capacity to earn an income. The wages or income potential you lose can affect the value of your car accident case.
How the Insurance Company Calculates a Settlement
What your attorney thinks is a good settlement versus what the insurance company thinks is a good settlement is almost always different. Insurance adjusters almost always aim to resolve claims at the lowest cost possible.
Many factors are considered when evaluating a car accident victim’s case. These factors include the following:
- Details of claims similar to yours,
- Financial stability,
- Pre-existing conditions,
- Marital status,
- Insurance coverage options,
- Your accident’s cause, and
- Your medical expenses and any other economic losses.
Insurance companies have the benefit of knowing what their company paid out for similar claims. Unfortunately, consumers don’t have access to those figures, and the insurance adjuster might try to use that as leverage to underestimate your case.
Need Help With Your Car Accident Settlement? Contact James Horne Law
Don’t let an insurance company undervalue your case! At James Horne Law PA, we are ready to discuss your accident. While there is really no average payout for a car accident, during your free case evaluation, we can assess your case’s value based on specific facts of your case. When you hire us, you will receive top-notch legal representation in your time of need. Our firm is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has a perfect 10.0 rating on Avvo. Superlawyers has also recognized Mr. Horne, which is an honor only bestowed on the top 5% of attorneys. Call us today!