Being involved in a car accident can upend your life as you know it, at least for the foreseeable future. You may have injuries that keep you from taking care of yourself and your family or even returning to work. To make matters worse, you have medical bills and other related expenses that you aren’t quite sure how you will pay.
When a car accident results from another person or party’s negligence, you have the right to recover fair compensation under Texas law. How much you can recover depends on many factors that are best discussed with an experienced Austin car accident attorney.
How Much Can Someone Sue For a Car Accident in Austin?
If you’re wondering how much your car accident claim is worth, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, no hard and fast rule applies when it comes to how much you can sue for. Everyone’s case is different.
A motor vehicle collision that causes one person to break their arm will be worth less than one that paralyzes someone. An accident that injures six individuals will generally not be worth as much as one that injures two people, depending on their injuries. The reality is that you can sue for as much as you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is what your claim is worth or that you are guaranteed to receive that amount.
Factors that Determine the Value of a Car Crash Claim
When you meet with a well-versed Austin car accident lawyer, they will consider many factors to provide you with an estimate of what your claim could be worth. These factors include:
Insurance Policy Values
Your accident claim value relies heavily on the type and amounts of insurance coverage each liable party involved in your accident has. In Texas, drivers are required to carry liability insurance. Their policy must be worth at least:
- $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 of coverage for property damage
This is also known as 30/60/25 coverage. Some drivers opt to carry more.
When you hire an Austin car accident attorney, they will investigate your accident to determine who is liable. Then, they will research the insurance policies each responsible party has to help find out what your claim might be worth.
Under Texas laws, an injured party can’t receive compensation for their damages if they are more than 50 percent at fault for their accident. This concept is known as modified comparative fault. Suppose they have less than half the liability for the accident. In that case, they can recover compensation proportionate with their degree of liability.
For example, if their case was worth $100,000 and they carry 30 percent liability, they would receive a $70,000 settlement or jury award. Actions that might make them have a degree of fault for the accident could include:
- Using a cell phone
- Not wearing their seatbelt
- Driving a defective vehicle
Your Current and Future Medical Expenses
The compensation you receive is meant to “make you whole” again. Generally, this means putting you back in the same position you were in before the accident. Part of making you whole includes paying for your medical expenses, both now and those you may incur due to your accident injuries in the future.
One problem with settling your claim before speaking to an Austin car accident lawyer is that you may not know the full extent of your injuries yet or even what you should ask for to cover your current and future medical expenses. All medical costs related to the car crash should be covered. These include:
- Ambulance bills
- ER bills
- Physician visits
- Lab work
- Diagnostic tests like x-rays or MRIs
- Physical therapy
- Surgeries and procedures
- Inpatient hospital visits
- Medical devices and equipment
- Follow up medical appointments
Your Ability to Return to Work
You are also entitled to lost wages. This applies whether your injuries cause you to miss a few days or weeks of work, or several months. If you aren’t able to return to work at all or will need to change jobs or professions due to your injury, your case will be worth more. Any decrease in your earning capacity will also need consideration.
Your claim should also pay for your property damage. Most of the time, this includes repairs for your vehicle or a replacement for it. However, it can also include other types of property such as a wedding ring lost or damaged in the accident, a bicycle you were carrying in your car or anything else of value that was in your vehicle and damaged during the course of the accident.
The Accident’s Impact on Your Everyday Life
Typically, the impacts on your life are grouped into a category known as non-economic damages. They aren’t tangible and don’t have a predetermined value like a medical bill does; nevertheless, they are still losses you suffer as a result of the crash. These damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Embarrassment or humiliation
The more profound these impacts are, the more your case will be worth. However, you may require the assistance of an experienced Austin car accident attorney to help you prove these intangible losses.
The Quality of Evidence in Your Claim
To obtain compensation on your behalf, your Austin car accident lawyer must use compelling evidence to prove the following:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- They violated that duty of care
- Their violation caused the accident and your injuries
- Your damages are the direct result of the accident and the other party’s actions
Establishing these elements is essential to getting full and fair compensation. The only way to establish them is through quality evidence. Traffic and driving laws can help establish the first two elements. Accident reports, medical records, pictures of your injuries or the vehicles after the accident, wage loss statements, and other documents can help prove the last two.
Settlement or Austin Court Award?
The value of your claim can also depend on if it is settled out of court or if it proceeds to trial in an Austin court. Most car accident claims are settled out of court with the help of an Austin car accident lawyer who is an experienced negotiator. Settlements are preferable for all parties as it helps resolve cases quicker and gives them more control over the outcome. If the case goes to court, it’s potentially risky for either party.
Are You Wondering How Much Can Someone Sue For a Car Accident in Austin? Call The Patel Firm Today
It’s only natural to wonder what your car accident claim might be worth. Knowing these factors can help you understand how a claim’s value is determined but keep in mind, it’s best to have an attorney review your claim. Schedule a consultation with one of our skilled Austin car accident attorneys today by calling (361) 400-2036.