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car accident settlement

Car Accident Settlements: What You Can Expect

November 22, 2019

If you were injured in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you should file a lawsuit. Before making a decision, you probably want to know how much your claim is worth. In other words, what kind of compensation are you likely to receive? Several factors are used to determine a car accident settlement, including both drivers’ insurance coverage and who was at fault. Here is a guide to what you can expect. 

Fault or No-fault?

You may be wondering why fault would affect a car accident settlement when Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. First, every no-fault policy has three main components:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits (First-party benefits)

Covered drivers and passengers receive PIP benefits regardless of who caused the accident. They include:

  • Lifetime coverage of reasonable and necessary medical expenses
  • Lost wages (85% for up to three years)
  • Attendant care
  • Replacement services for household chores or yard work ($20/day maximum)
  • Survivor death benefits 

Personal Property Protection (PPI) benefits

These benefits typically cover up to $1,000,000 for damage to other people’s property or legally parked vehicles.

Non-economic benefits (also called third-party benefits)

This category includes non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. A victim must be less than 50% at fault in order to file a claim for these benefits.

Fault is only a factor when it comes to collecting non-economic benefits.

Factors That Can Affect a Car Accident Settlement

What is the other driver’s liability insurance coverage?

While drivers will be required to carry a greater amount of liability insurance starting in July 2020, the current minimums are as follows:

  • $20,000 for each person hurt or killed in an accident
  • $40,000 per accident where more than one person is hurt or killed
  • $10,000 property damage for each accident that occurs in another state

The amount you collect could be limited to the other driver’s liability coverage. However, there are other factors that may allow injured victims to recover additional damages. Therefore, it’s best to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?

This optional coverage provides benefits if you are injured in an accident with a driver who has minimal liability coverage or no insurance at all. This is one of the factors that can allow victims to recover damages greater than the other driver’s liability coverage limits.

Who was at fault and to what degree?

In order to file a claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, you must prove the other party was at least 50% at fault. If you caused the accident, you will usually not be eligible for these third-party benefits. However, a qualified accident attorney is best equipped to advise you on how to proceed.

How severe are your injuries and how do they impact your life?

To collect non-economic damages for pain and suffering, you must suffer “serious impairment of a bodily function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or death.” In addition, these consequences must be a direct result of the accident.

Where did the accident happen?

Victims who file accident claims in Detroit (Wayne County) tend to receive larger settlements than those in smaller municipalities or rural areas. However, location is often a minor factor in determining the amount of a car accident settlement.   

Were multiple vehicles involved in the accident?

If so, determining who is responsible can be complicated. And, if more than one driver is injured, the settlement may be divided between the parties. Moreover, damages could be limited by the coverage carried by the at-fault driver.

If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, contact our team of knowledgeable accident attorneys. We have a long history of winning substantial settlements for our clients and their families.

Michigan car accident law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.