Brian White | August 9, 2023 | Car Accidents
A Houston car accident can have serious implications. If someone else caused your wreck, you should recover fair compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained.
It’s difficult to know what your case is worth until you consult a Houston car accident lawyer. And without any legal representation, you’ll likely walk away with less than you deserve or nothing at all.
Many factors can impact the amount of a Houston car accident settlement. By learning what these factors are, you’ll be able to make informed decisions as you seek to recover the compensation you deserve under Texas law.
How Houston Car Accident Settlements Are Calculated
Houston car accident settlements often appear as lump sum figures, but that’s not how they’re calculated. A personal injury lawyer will put a lot of work into fighting for a fair settlement amount for their client.
The overall settlement amount recovered after a car accident is made up of two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. These two groups essentially split up car accident compensation into areas of financial and non-financial impact, but that’s only the beginning of how a lawyer works to identify case value.
Under each category, there are many different items you can claim as damages from a Houston crash. Whether you qualify to seek damages in these categories depends on your injuries and their long-term impacts. For example, if a car accident resulted in severe scarring, burns, or the loss of a limb, you can seek compensation for disfigurement.
An experienced lawyer will thoroughly investigate the current and future financial and non-financial impacts of the crash. They’ll collect evidence of the damages, add up the different categories, and identify your overall case value. As a final step, your Houston car accident attorney will negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement amount.
Types of Damages Available in a Houston Car Accident Settlement
Your Houston car accident lawyer will consider many factors when identifying how much money you should try to recover. Below, we discuss the types of damages that may be available after a collision.
Medical bills are the element that often has the greatest impact on a case’s overall value, given that they are key indicators of how severe your injuries were.
Minor injuries lead to lower medical costs and typically result in a full recovery. But the higher the medical expenses, the more likely it is that the car accident injuries sustained have come with a high expense, which typically also means a high impact on other areas of life.
Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are two of the most common types of severe injuries that result from car accidents. Both of these can be incredibly expensive to treat, often requiring multiple surgeries or procedures and the need for long-term assistive care and costly medical devices.
An experienced car accident attorney in Houston will work to help recover compensation for current and future medical costs and treatment expenses.
Lost Wages and Benefits
You can seek compensation for lost income if you had to take off work to recover from your injuries. You may also be entitled to recovery for any benefits you lost, such as PTO.
Suppose your injuries are severe to the point where a return to work is impossible. A Houston car accident attorney will work to pursue compensation for the anticipated future earnings you would have earned over the course of your lifetime had the accident not taken place.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are the most common non-economic damages. They include both physical and emotional pain and suffering related to the injuries and their impact. They can further comprise specific types of damages, like emotional anguish, loss of companionship, disfigurement, and diminished quality of life.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
There are a few methods used to calculate pain and suffering damages.
The multiplier method takes the sum of your economic damages and multiplies it by a number between 1.5 and 5. The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier number will be. For example, if your economic losses equate to $100,000 and the multiplier is 3, your pain and suffering damages would equal $300,000.
The per diem method sets a daily monetary value and multiplies it by the number of days it took you to recover from your injuries. The more you suffer during your recovery period, the higher your per diem value will be. For example, if your per diem amount is $200 and it took you 180 days to recover, your pain and suffering damages would equal $36,000.
Most people know they can recover compensation to repair or replace a wrecked vehicle. However, you may also be entitled to reimbursement for other property damage that occurred in the collision.
For example, if your laptop was destroyed in a T-bone accident, you may be able to receive compensation to replace it.
Loss of Consortium
When a person is injured in a car accident, it can impact the whole family. For example, if a husband is permanently disabled due to a rear-end collision, it could affect his intimate relationship with his wife. In that case, the wife may have a loss of consortium claim against the driver who rear-ended her husband’s vehicle.
In other words, the accident victim’s loved one files a loss of consortium claim against the at-fault party. It serves to compensate the family member for the impairment of their relationship. In Texas, a spouse, parent, or child may be able to bring this type of legal action.
Average Houston Car Crash Settlement Amounts
Considering how car accident compensation is calculated, it’s easy to see how there’s no such thing as an “average” settlement amount. Every case is unique, and case values depend heavily on the damage done as well as its long-term impact. Although it’s difficult to identify an average, it’s safe to say that the more serious the injury, the greater the settlement amount.
Some examples of recent car accident settlements in Houston are as follows:
- $1,102,500: Truck/car accident
- $1,000,000: Rideshare car accident
- $800,000: Company car accident
- $650,000: Rideshare car accident
- $575,000: Car accident
There’s one additional factor that can significantly impact the amount you stand to recover after a wreck, and that’s the skill and experience of your Houston car accident attorney. Looking at a lawyer’s practice history, case results, and client testimonials before hiring them is the safest way to know you’re choosing a lawyer who knows how to recover fair compensation for clients.
How Much Do I Have to Pay My Car Accident Attorney?
You won’t pay anything upfront. Most Texas car accident attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means the payment of their attorney’s fees is contingent upon the outcome of your case.
If you receive a settlement or court award, the attorney’s fees are deducted from your payout. The amount is a percentage that you and your attorney agreed on at the start of your case. If your lawyer fails to recover compensation for you, you won’t owe them attorney’s fees.
Steps to Take After an Accident to Maximize the Value of Your Claim
You can take many proactive steps to ensure you recover full compensation for your damages.
- Report the collision to the police by calling 911. If dispatched, the law enforcement officer will complete an accident report. This is often compelling evidence in a personal injury claim.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Don’t apologize or indicate that you were at fault for the crash. Even if you think you were responsible, you never know if underlying factors contributed.
- Collect evidence at the crash scene. Take videos and photos of vehicle damage, traffic conditions, road debris, and anything else that might be relevant. Obtain contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Seek a prompt medical evaluation. Do this even if you don’t think you’re injured. There may be an underlying issue, or your symptoms may be suppressed by adrenaline. Your medical record will prove a causal link between the crash and your injuries.
- Don’t give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. Consider speaking with an attorney before you get an insurance company involved.
Taking these steps can help protect your legal rights and health. Seek legal guidance to ensure you’ve done everything possible to safeguard your car accident claim.
Don’t Wait To Get in Touch With a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident settlements fall under personal injury law, which means you have a limited amount of time to seek compensation for your injuries. If taking legal action becomes necessary, you typically only have two years to file a lawsuit in Houston.
Admitting fault for a wreck is a mistake, as is speaking with an insurance agent before you’ve received legal advice. The best way to protect yourself after a Houston car accident is to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. With the right representation, it’s possible to see justice delivered if a reckless driver harms your health and finances.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim
For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054