When we think of rear-end car accidents, we might picture a violent high-speed crash where a car is completely smashed with serious injuries to the occupants, and we might think of a minor fender-bender.
Some crashes are bigger than others, and some injuries are much worse than others. However, the amount of damage you see on a vehicle does not always equal the severity of the injuries to the people inside.
The Size of the Accident Doesn’t Determine Damages in California
Even a small crash involves a tremendous amount of force and an amazing amount of kinetic energy that is transferred to the driver and passengers.
Even small accidents can turn a person’s life upside down, and every accident victim deserves to be treated fairly. Insurance companies will often try to lump all rear-end crashes together and classify all of them as “minor-impact” cases. Don’t let them.
Call our office at (707) 801-0538 and let the experienced attorneys at Wells Call Injury Lawyers give you a free consultation.
Because, in reality, every case is unique, and several factors will determine the settlement value. Because there are so many factors, you can’t find a calculator that will tell you what your car accident case is worth.
To illustrate just how different two settlements can look, we put together a couple of car accident settlement examples. In these examples, we will go over the damages, what they mean, and how fault comes into play.
Two Different Types of Damages
First off, to know the value of your injury case, it’s important to understand the two different types of “damages.” Damages are just the legal term for the harm you suffered.
The first type of damage is called economic damage. These are losses that have a real monetary value. This includes things like lost income, medical bills, paying someone to do home maintenance that you can’t do anymore, and any other out-of-pocket expenses.
The second type of damages is called general damages or non-economic damages. This is sometimes called “Pain and Suffering.” It includes things like physical pain, emotional suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, mental anguish, and all the ways that your life has been impacted by the injuries.
There is no set value to the non-economic damages in any case, and some injuries can have a drastic change on a person’s ability to enjoy life. An attorney or insurance adjuster can only understand the true value of your case when they value those intangible harms that you go through.
Rear-End Collision Settlement Examples: Crash A
In this scenario, suppose you are rear-ended while at a four-way stop. The car behind you took off your bumper and ruined all of your tail lights. Within a few hours your neck, back, and shoulders get stiff and sore.
They get worse the next day, so you set up an appointment with your doctor. You also start treating with a chiropractor, which really helps give you some relief. You are too sore, and your doctor puts you off of work for a week. After a couple of months, you start to feel better, and by three months, your pain has pretty much gone back to normal.
Here is a theoretical breakdown of the value of damages:
- Economic Damages:
- Property damage to vehicle: $2500;
- Medical bills: $6,000; and
- Lost wages: $1,500.
- Non-Economic Damages:
- In a case like this, the non-economic damages will not be extremely high. You had to go through physical pain and frustration. You had the inconvenience of dealing with this car crash and with spending your days at doctor visits and chiropractor visits. You probably have some amount of anxiety when you get in the car. Fortunately, you make a good recovery. Because you make a good overall recovery, an insurance company or a jury will not consider a very big number for those non-economic damages. In a case like this, the Non-economic damages will probably be somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000. There is no magic number that tells you exactly how much it is worth.
In this example, the settlement value that an insurance company determines for your case might be somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000. Of course, your facts are unique, so you will want to make sure that you consult with a car accident lawyer before accepting any settlement from the insurance company.
Rear-End Collision Settlement Examples: Crash B
In Crash B, suppose you find yourself at the back end of a traffic jam on I5. A semi-truck fails to stop on time and slams into the back of your car. Your car is totaled, and you require surgery, a hospital stay, and rehabilitation.
Here’s what your breakdown of damages might look like:
- Economic damages:
- Medical bills:
- Emergency transportation: $3,000;
- Hospitalization and surgery: $70,000;
- Rehabilitation and mental healthcare costs: $10,000
- Lost wages: $15,000
- Property damage: $12,000
- Medical bills:
- Non-economic damages:
- In a case like this, where surgery is required, there is often some degree of permanent disability. This type of accident is more catastrophic and the injuries more serious. An insurance company would probably value the non-economic losses here at anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. If there is a serious disability or disfigurement, then the value of the case will be even higher than that
In a case like this, the total settlement value should be anywhere between $160,00 to $210,000. It may be even greater depending on the type of injury you have.
Ready to Get the Settlement You Deserve?
We have presented you with two starkly different examples of rear-end collision injury compensation. These examples, however, may not reflect your own situation. What happens in your claim all depends on the specific facts and circumstances of it.
Call us at Wells Call Injury Lawyers for a free consultation, and we’ll help you figure out how much your car accident claim is worth. Once we help you figure that out, we can work together to form the right legal strategy.
We’ve already helped thousands of clients obtain what they deserve for their cases, so let’s see what we can do for you. One of our attorneys will meet with you in person, through Zoom, or over the phone. Call us today, and let’s get started!