What Are Some Factors That Will Affect My Personal Injury Settlement?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

An accident or injury can lead to serious financial, physical, and emotional consequences for you and your family. A personal injury settlement can help you address these challenges by providing compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. Several types of damages exist in a lawsuit, and several factors might influence the ultimate amount of your settlement from an insurance company. Consider these factors and how they may affect your right to compensation.

How Severe Are Your Injuries?

The extent of your injuries is one of the most important things that will affect your ultimate personal injury settlement. For example, an injury involving a traumatic brain injury or multiple surgeries will have a higher payout than for a broken bone or a soft tissue injury. Severe injuries generally carry higher economic damages, and the cost of future care will be more extensive as well. Victims of these types of accidents will likely receive higher compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

Who’s Liable?

Liability also plays an important role in determining how much money you may receive in a personal injury settlement. For example, shared liability may play a role in a claim if a jury finds you partially at fault for an accident. In this case, your settlement or court judgment will face a reduction based on your percentage of fault. If you were 20% at fault for an accident and sought $100,000 in damages, for example, your ultimate award could be $80,000.

Insurance Policy Limits

Unfortunately, some personal injury payouts depend on the limits of an at-fault driver’s policy. If you sustain injuries in a car accident, for example, you may only be able to collect damages to the extent of the at-fault driver’s policy. Since policy minimums in Texas often do not adequately cover the costs of serious injuries, pain, and suffering, it’s a good idea to carry underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to pick up the slack.

Did the At-Fault Party Commit Gross Negligence?

In some cases, such as those involving reckless or wanton conduct, you may be able to collect punitive damages. This is a kind of non-economic damages that punish the defendant for wrongdoing and discourage similar negligence in the future. Settlements involving gross negligence often involve high payout amounts for the plaintiff.

Are Your Medical Costs Both Reasonable and Necessary?

Insurance companies look at the extent of your medical damages, and a claims adjuster will try to determine if your medical care is both “reasonable and necessary.” Unfortunately, not all claims adjusters will see some medical care or procedures as medically necessary and may try to reduce your claim amount. This highlights the need for a personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf and hold the responsible party accountable for the full degree of your injuries, pain, and suffering.

Are There Multiple Parties Involved?

In the case of multi-vehicle accidents, your claim amount may depend on the insurance policies of the drivers involved. Multi-vehicle accidents can lead to a lot of back and forth between insurance companies that argue over the degree of their insured driver’s fault. This may ultimately affect your claim amount and the timeline in which you receive a settlement.
Your personal injury settlement may depend on several factors – for example, the degree of your injuries, the policy limits of all the parties responsible, and whether a responsible party acted with reckless intent. A personal injury attorney will work closely with the insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, which ultimately leads to a higher payout amount.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:39 pm

How Do Red-Light Accidents Happen?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Car accidents occur through many common occurrences – the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration says that driver error is the largest cause of car accidents by a significant margin. Driver error can encompass a wide variety of scenarios, from distracted driving to speeding. It also contributes to dangerous and sometimes fatal accidents like those that often occur at red lights.

Laws Affecting Red-Light Accidents

Several state laws may influence accidents at red lights. These laws include:

  • Right on red. If there is no designation otherwise, Texas law allows drivers to make a right turn at a red light. However, it’s imperative that drivers use caution and follow rules regarding the right of way.
  • Left on red. In Texas, drivers might be able to turn left onto a one-way street after stopping and assuring a safe distance before turning.
  • Yellow light. At an intersection, the presence of a yellow light means a driver should use caution – a driver can be in the middle of an intersection while it’s yellow but not while it’s red.

Despite these clear signals of what to do at a red light, negligence still occurs; drivers break these traffic laws or fail to notice changes, leading to injury-causing accidents. Some of the most common causes of red-light accidents include:

  • A driver speeds up to make a light. Unfortunately, some people see a yellow light as a challenge and go faster to make it through rather than slowing down. This puts them in the middle of an intersection as a light turns red – or worse, passing through it after the light turns. Cars accelerating on the other side of the intersection can create a major crash.
  • On the other hand, some drivers don’t think they can make the light and slam on their brakes while traveling at high speeds. This also can put them in the middle of the intersection when the other signal turns green; stopping too abruptly can cause problems of its own.
  • Distracted driving behaviors also contribute to red-light accidents. Some drivers simply do not pay attention to their surroundings and look up to find the light red, unable to stop or maneuver away to prevent a serious crash.
  • Speeding makes it more likely that a red-light accident will occur, as drivers cannot react to their environments quickly enough.
  • Last, poor weather conditions can contribute to red-light accidents, as drivers cannot see the signal. In Texas, heavy rain, fog, and high winds can all impact visibility. Even the blinding sun can make it difficult to see if a light is red or green.

Common Injuries in Red-Light Accidents

Unfortunately, red-light accidents can lead to serious and debilitating injuries. Some of the most common include:

  • Broken bones. The force of the impact can lead to fractures of the legs, arms, or ribs. If a driver’s vehicle does not have side air bags, these injuries may be more severe.
  • This soft tissue injury is most common in rear-end accidents and may occur when a driver hits the vehicle in front of him or her when slamming on the brakes at a red light.
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries. In serious cases, red-light accidents can lead to debilitating trauma to the brain and spinal cord. These injuries may create side effects that last a lifetime.

Drivers should use extra caution at red lights by allowing plenty of time for passing vehicles and following posted speed limits and signage. Unfortunately, no one can account for the actions of others on the road. Even if a driver uses an abundance of caution at intersections, he or she may be vulnerable to red-light accidents.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:09 pm