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What Factors Determine Whether A Car Accident Settlement Is Reasonable And Fair?

by Marie Caldwell

After you have been involved in a car accident, you will probably want a settlement that a reasonable person would consider to be fair. This would be a settlement that covers all the damages you have suffered as a result of the negligence of the other driver. However, to determine what type of settlement would be fair, you will need to consult with a car accident lawyer beforehand.

How Courts Determine What is Fair

If your case will end up going to trial, the court will typically look at cases that are similar to yours. They will then consider the settlement and look at how the unique characteristics of your case might affect the settlement. Even if you settle your case out of court, the insurance adjuster will have a general sense of how much a case like yours is worth. However, they will try to offer a lowball settlement offer unless you are working with an experienced car accident lawyer.

Factors That Will Affect Your Settlement

You will have an easier time pursuing a fair settlement if you are able to prove that the other party is clearly at fault. Also, it's easier to reach a settlement with clear medical bills and by not having any preexisting conditions. While you are allowed to seek damages in many cases for a pre-existing condition being exacerbated, under the eggshell doctrine, a pre-existing condition can make it much more difficult.

Also, the treatments for your injuries should be reasonable. Treatments that are too expensive or that are not standard treatments for your type of injury might not be compensatable. For example, if you decide that you would like to try an alternative treatment for your injuries, the auto insurance provider of the other party might argue that these treatments were not necessary.

Punitive Damages

When the driver has been very negligent, the economic and non-economic damages might not be enough. You might also be entitled to punitive damages. These are awarded by the courts in an effort to punish an individual for being highly reckless.

For example, if the driver was violating traffic laws in an egregious manner or if they were using a mobile device at the time of the accident, they might be forced to pay punitive damages. The punitive damages are often substantially higher than the economic and non-economic damages. These damages will most likely be awarded if your case ends up going to court and your car accident attorney is able to persuade the judge that these damages are warranted.

For more information, contact a car accident lawyer near you.