How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement in Arizona in 2023
You could face enormous health and financial challenges after a car accident. You need treatment and therapy to return to work. But without your paycheck, you might need to delay or even forgo your medical appointments.
If your crash was caused by someone else, you might have an injury claim. A settlement or damage award could cover your medical bills and living costs until you can return to work and work to compensate for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of that crash. The amount you get will depend on many factors. And you may need a car accident attorney to maximize your compensation.
Average Car Accident Settlement in Arizona: an Example
Losses from a car accident come from two sources: bodily injuries and property damage. Suppose someone backed into your car while you were in a store. In this situation, you suffered only property damage.
Conversely, suppose that someone ran over you while you were walking. This would cause bodily injuries but not property damage.
In a car crash, you will probably suffer property damage and bodily injuries. Your losses determine the compensation you can seek in your settlement.
With that background, take the example of a rear-end crash. Your bodily injuries might include neck and back injuries due to whiplash. Your car’s trunk will also suffer damage.
To determine the value of your claim, you will add up your property damage and bodily injury losses. Suppose your rear-end crash caused $3,000 in damage to your car, $200 in towing fees, and $800 in car rental expenses. You had $4,000 in property losses.
You also had $5,000 in medical costs, $4,000 in lost wages, and $2,000 in losses from taking light duty when you returned. This gives you another $11,000 in bodily injury losses for a total of $15,000.
The only open question is your pain and suffering losses. These losses are assigned a value based on the severity and duration of your injuries.
Truck accidents pay more; trucking companies carry at least $750,000 in insurance. Motorcycle, pedestrian, bicycle, and rollover accidents could pay more because they often cause catastrophic injuries.
Factors Influencing Auto Accident Settlement in Phoenix
Many factors influence the size of your accident settlement. Some will affect your losses, while others limit how much you can pursue. An adjuster or jury will review the facts to estimate your losses.
Here are some factors that affect how much to expect from a car accident settlement:
Arizona uses a fault-based insurance system. Under this system, car owners buy liability insurance. After a crash, everyone who suffered losses will file claims against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy.
The policy limits of the at-fault driver’s policy cap the insurer’s liability. For example, if you have a 25/50 policy, the insurer pays up to $25,000 if only one person was injured or up to $50,000 if multiple people were injured.
Higher policy limits open the door to larger settlements with insurers. You can still pursue a settlement that exceeds the policy limits. But the at-fault driver will need to make up the difference with their personal assets.
Suppose that you suffer $60,000 in losses from a car accident. If the at-fault driver has the minimum required coverage, the insurer will pay up to $25,000 toward a settlement. You can still settle for $60,000, but the at-fault driver must agree to pay $35,000 toward the settlement to cover the shortfall.
2. Medical Expenses
The at-fault driver is liable for all of your necessary and reasonable medical costs. These costs can include:
- Outpatient procedures
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
- Prescription medication
The at-fault party and their insurer are liable only for injuries caused by the crash. You cannot seek compensation for a preexisting condition. But you can get compensated if the crash worsened a preexisting condition.
Your losses can also include out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to your injuries, such as:
- Over-the-counter medication
- Mobility aids like crutches and wheelchairs
- Home modifications, such as ramps or grab bars
- Reasonable travel to reach doctors
If your health insurance paid for some or all of your medical expenses, you can still pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. But your health insurance company might expect reimbursement after you win.
Some hospitals and doctors are willing to treat an uninsured accident victim in exchange for a lien against their personal injury claim. This means that the provider will be paid first when the case is settled.
3. Property Damage
The at-fault driver must cover damage to your property. These losses include costs to repair or replace your car, along with other expenses incurred due to the loss of your vehicle, like rental fees or rideshare fares. They also include the value of personal items, such as eyeglasses, destroyed in the crash.
Property damage is separate from bodily injuries. Arizona requires at least $15,000 in property damage liability insurance.
4. Driver at Fault
A driver is liable for losses if they were negligent. Negligence requires proof of four elements:
- Duty to exercise reasonable care
- Breach of the duty of care
- Property damage or bodily injuries
- A causal link between the breach and the losses
If the other driver proves your negligent actions contributed to your injuries, you might not recover all of your losses.
Suppose that you were involved in a traffic accident where the other driver ran a stop light, but you failed to stop because you were texting while driving. A claims adjuster might assign 30% of the fault to you, meaning you get compensated for 70% of your losses.
5. Your Ability to Work
A large part of your settlement could come from income lost due to:
- Temporary or permanent disabilities
- Medical or therapy appointments
- Doctor’s orders to rest
If you can prove negligence by the at-fault driver, you can recover compensation for wages, salary, and other economic opportunities you lost due to your injuries. Thus, if you are self-employed, you might include the value of projects you were not able to take.
You can also seek compensation for the future effects of your injuries. If you need to change jobs or quit working due to a long-term disability, you can seek compensation for the expected reduction in your income.
6. Miscellaneous Expenses
Are you wondering, “How much can I get from a car accident for miscellaneous expenses?” Your losses can include other expenses that would not have been incurred but for the crash.
If you cannot perform your normal tasks, you may need to hire someone to do them for you. You might ask for compensation for these services:
- Child care
- Grocery delivery
- Rideshare fares
You can include the costs associated with these replacement services with your damages if they are reasonable and necessary. Thus, a rotator cuff tear might justify cleaning services, but a fractured rib might not.
7. Life Impact
Non-economic damages encompass the human costs of your accident. These are the losses that do not come with a price tag. Instead, they include how your injuries impacted your quality of life.
Some examples include:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of marital relations
- Disabilities that affect your home and work life
- Reduction in your enjoyment of life
You do not need to prove the value of these losses. Instead, you will prove the severity and duration of your injuries, and the adjuster will assign a value. More severe and longer-lasting injuries will cause greater non-economic losses.
8. Your Ability to Wait
One of the intangibles associated with your car accident settlement is your ability to ride out delays designed to frustrate you. You need your car accident settlement to pay for medical care and living expenses. Insurers know you are in a difficult position and use delaying tactics to drive you to desperation.
If you get desperate enough, you will accept a settlement offer below the value of your claim. Not coincidentally, this will save the insurer tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But if you can withstand these tactics and wait for your car accident lawyer to negotiate a settlement, you can get a fairer outcome.
What’s the Difference Between Car Accident Settlements and Trial Verdicts?
A settlement is an agreement between two parties. On one side is the accident victim, and on the other side is the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
The accident victim agrees to release their claim and drop any lawsuits against the other party. In exchange, the insurance company and at-fault driver agree to pay the accident victim.
A trial verdict happens when you take a case to trial. Your car accident lawyer presents your case to a jury. The defense lawyer presents the at-fault driver’s case. The jury weighs the evidence and returns a verdict that either awards damages to you or finds in favor of the at-fault driver.
Types of Damages You Can Recover After a Car Accident in Arizona
If you prove negligence, you can pursue compensation to cover your losses. These three questions will tell you how much you can expect to get in damages:
Economic damages cover the financial costs of your accident. Your economic losses include expenses you incur and income you cannot earn due to your accident. You prove economic losses with receipts, bills, pay stubs, and other financial documents.
Non-economic damages cover the impact of the accident on your quality of life. The best way to understand the differences between these damages is with an example.
Your car crash injuries cause you pain. As a result, your doctor prescribes physical therapy and pain medication. The costs of the treatment and drugs constitute economic losses. The lost sleep, worry, fear, depression, discomfort, inconvenience, and inability to participate in activities constitute non-economic losses.
You prove non-economic losses by showing the extent of your injuries and how long they will affect you.
Punitive damages are rare in car accident cases. But you can request them if you were injured by particularly egregious conduct.
A jury can award punitive damages to deter reckless or intentionally dangerous behavior. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver or a street racer, you might seek punitive damages. A judge will award them to deter others from engaging in the same harmful actions.
How to Calculate Car Accident Damages
To calculate damages, add your past and future economic losses to your non-economic losses. Experts have two ways of valuing non-economic losses.
The per diem method assigns a daily value using the effects of your injury. You multiply your daily value by the number of days your injuries affected you to get non-economic losses.
The multiplier method assigns a multiplier based on the severity of your injuries. You multiply this number by your economic losses to get your total damages.
How Much Do Lawyers Usually Take from Car Accident Settlements in Arizona?
Car accident attorneys charge a contingency fee for legal services. This fee is a percentage of the compensation the attorney recovers for you.
The typical contingency fee falls between 30% and 40% of your compensation. Suppose that a car accident lawyer who charges 35% wins $50,000. The lawyer will charge a fee of $17,500, and you will receive $32,500.
The benefits of a contingency fee include no upfront fees and no fee for a losing outcome.
How Long Your Car Accident Settlement in AZ Will Take?
An auto accident settlement in Phoenix, Arizona, will take at least 40 days. Under Arizona law, insurers usually have 10 days to acknowledge a claim and send the necessary forms to the claimant. They then have 15 days to decide whether to accept or deny the claim. If they accept it, they have 15 days to pay the settlement.
However, most claims take much longer. Many insurers do the bare minimum to satisfy the law. They then deny the claim or make a low offer and put the burden on you and your car accident attorney to negotiate. This process can take months, or even longer if you file a lawsuit.
How an Attorney Can Help with Your Car Accident Case in Arizona?
A personal injury attorney plays an important role in getting you fair compensation. Your lawyer evaluates your claim and advises you about your options. The lawyer prepares your claim and responds to any claim denials. The insurer and your lawyer will try to negotiate a settlement.
Our Team of accident law attorneys works hard to get our clients the adequate compensation that they deserve. The Law Offices of Brandon White has the experience to help you get a fair settlement. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your accident and injuries.
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