Asking a question like “what is the average car accident settlement in Washington” is like asking “what’s the average cost of a new car in Washington.”
There probably is an average cost figure, but actual cost varies widely. In fact, there is so much variation that the “average” number is almost meaningless.
However, it is important to look at the components of a new car’s price. The main elements are probably the type of car, features of the car, and the car’s brand name. A subcompact car is cheaper than an SUV, an economy car is cheaper than a luxury car, and a Ford is usually cheaper than a Ferrari.
These same three factors are part of a Yakima car crash settlement. Understanding the process helps both lawyers and clients understand how much their claims are worth.
Amount of Damages in a Yakima County Car Accident Claim
Thecompensation in a car crash case is designed to put victims in the same position they would have been in if the accident had not occurred. Part of this process is scientific, and part of it is non-scientific. But it’s an essential first step in determining your car crash claim’s settlement value.
Economic damages are one component of car crash damages. These monetary losses generally include:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages, and
- Property damage.
In a serious injury car crash, especially if the victim was airlifted from the crash scene to the hospital, emergency treatment bills often exceed $100,000. This figure does not include follow up care and physical rehabilitation.
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Lost wages are a bit harder to calculate. This category does not just include missed work. It also includes diminished productivity at work. Lost productivity often depends, at least in part, on the amount of pain and suffering.
Likewise, property damage is more than a repair or replacement bill. The family car usually has an emotional value which may exceed its financial value. Since damages are about making things right again, a personal injury attorney must include this intangible factor in the calculation.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are almost entirely intangible. This category includes losses like:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment in life,
- Emotional distress, and
- Loss of consortium (companionship).
To calculate noneconomic damages, most attorneys multiply the economic damages by two, three, or four, depending on the other aspects of the case as outlined below.
Factual and Legal Aspects of a Washington State Car Crash Settlement
Victims are only eligible for damages if the other driver was negligent. That negligence could be a lack of care, or it could be a violation of a safety statute.
Device distraction is a good example. Under Washington State Law, it’s illegal to use a hand-held cell phone for almost any purpose while driving. But hands-free cell phones are also distracting.
People who use them take their eyes off the road and also take their minds off driving. But since speakerphones are legal, an attorney must prove that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) did not use ordinary care when using the speakerphone.
Intangible Car Accident Settlement Amount Factors
These objective factors are not enough to determine the average value of a car accident claim in Washington State. There are some intangible factors as well, and only an experienced attorney knows what to look for.
Jury makeup is a good illustration. Washington is a blue state, so most jurors are rather liberal. As a result, they often sympathize with accident victims as opposed to insurance companies. But, jurors in rural areas, like Yakima County, may be more conservative than jurors in urban areas, like King County. So, there are a lot of variables to consider.
Connect with a Diligent Lawyer
Knowing the settlement value helps your lawyer obtain maximum compensation in a car crash case. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Yakima, contact Kapuza Lighty PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.