Asking a question like “what is the average car accident settlement amount in Washington state” is like asking, “what’s the average cost of a new car in Washington?”
There probably is an average cost figure, but the actual cost varies widely.
In fact, there is so much variation that the “average” number is almost meaningless. If the average amount doesn’t tell you anything about what to expect, it doesn’t matter at all.
However, it is important to look at the components of a new car’s price. The main elements are probably the type of car, the 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.
Just like those three factors, there are certain factors that are part of a Yakima car crash settlement. Understanding the process helps both lawyers and clients estimate how much their claims are worth.
Amount of Damages in a Yakima County Car Accident Claim
The compensation 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.
The reason it’s impossible to point to an average car accident settlement amount in Washington state is because the damages can vary significantly between different victims.
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 that 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. In most cases, negligence can be shown if the driver who hit you was breaking the law at the time of the accident.
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. This could be shown if they were otherwise driving recklessly, for example.
Intangible Car Accident Settlement 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.
Examples of Car Accident Settlement Amounts Kapuza Lighty PLLC Has Obtained
In one case, Kapuza Lighty was able to recover $1,000,000 for the victim of a rear-end car accident who injured his lower back.
We’ve regularly obtained upwards of $50,000 for our clients who have suffered injuries because of another party’s negligence on the road. Kapuza Lighty fights hard for our clients to make sure they get the compensation they deserve.
Connect with an Experienced Lawyer
Analyzing your case allows your attorney to come up with a compensation amount to cover you for your economic expenses, as well as your emotional pain and suffering. This helps in settlement negotiations, as your lawyer will try to obtain the maximum compensation available in your car crash case.
For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Yakima, contact Kapuza Lighty PLLC. We take our negligence cases on contingency, which means that you don’t pay us unless you recover financially. You have nothing to lose by giving us a call today.