If you’ve been seriously injured in a New York car accident, you may have a claim for damages against the driver who caused your crash. Whenever we take on a car accident client, one of their first questions is always, “How much is my case worth?” The answer, like so many things in the law, is, “It depends.” Several factors affect how much an accident victim is likely to collect. Settlements are based in part on how much actual costs the victim has incurred, and in part on more intangible factors. Below, we discuss what plays into the size of a settlement verdict and what an “average” settlement might look like. If you were hurt in a traffic collision in New York, call a dedicated Bronx car accident attorney for advice and assistance.
Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlements
There is no one-size-fits-all number for car accident settlements or verdicts. Settlements are based on many factors, including the costs incurred by the plaintiff, the strength of the evidence, and each party’s appetite for risk. Issues that impact how much an injured accident victim can collect include:
- Tangible evidence of the accident such as traffic camera footage, cell phone recordings, eyewitnesses, vehicle damage
- The defendant’s level of culpability–texting while driving, running through a stop sign, driving while drunk, etc.
- Availability of punitive damages if the defendant was especially reckless or malicious
- The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, including whether they will suffer permanent damage, disfigurement, loss of a limb, or loss of a bodily function
- The plaintiff’s comparative negligence if their own conduct contributed to the accident
- The plaintiff’s level of emotional damage, including pain and suffering
- Medical costs incurred by the plaintiff
- Anticipated future medical costs the plaintiff will likely incur, including nursing costs, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and prosthetics
- Wages lost due to time spent recovering after the accident
- Amount and severity of property damage
- Future anticipated loss of earning potential due to long-term or permanent disability
- Whether the defendant and their insurance provider are risk-averse and prefer to avoid trial
- Whether the plaintiff is risk-averse or willing to go to trial and try for a larger jury award
- The skill of the accident victim’s attorney at presenting their case and negotiating a fair settlement
How Much Do New Yorkers Get in Car Accident Settlements?
The size of a given car accident settlement depends upon a combination of the actual costs incurred, the plaintiff’s reasonable subjective harm, the strength of the case, and each side’s willingness to push back and take the case to trial, if necessary. If the defendant is very risk-averse and willing to pay anything to get the case dropped before trial, the plaintiff might get a larger settlement. If the plaintiff needs the money immediately and is not willing to risk recovering less later, especially if they lack strong evidence supporting their claims, then they might wind up with a lower settlement.
Depending upon all of these factors, car crash settlements can range from thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. In New York, settlements tend to be higher because smaller accidents with no serious injury are handled through the no-fault system. By some measures, the average car accident personal injury settlement in New York State is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, it depends on the parties and the circumstances of the case.
A person severely and permanently injured by a drunk driver may be able to secure over a million dollars, while someone who suffered only a few broken bones from a defendant who carelessly forgot to yield might only get a few thousand to cover their medical costs. Having a strong attorney building your case and protecting your rights is the best way to ensure you get the maximum compensation available in your matter.
Call a Dedicated Bronx Car Crash Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a New York traffic accident, find out if you’re entitled to money damages for your injuries by contacting the skilled and compassionate New York car accident lawyers at the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation at 718-409-1200.