How Much Can Someone Sue for in a Car Accident? Let’s Break It Down
The amount of money that someone can sue for in a car accident case depends on a variety of factors. First, it depends on the available insurance policy limits. Next, the amount for which you can sue depends on the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the types of injuries you suffered in your accident. Usually, the more serious your injuries and extensive your medical treatment, the higher the potential value of your case.
An experienced Orange County car accident lawyer near you could file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf arising out of the car accident. Your lawyer will also be able to determine how much you can sue the defendant for and determine the likely range for a settlement or verdict in your particular case.
The Defendant’s Insurance Policy Limits of Coverage
The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are one factor that comes into play when determining how much you can sue him or her for. For example, if the at-fault driver has a $15,000/$30,000/$5,000 insurance policy, your recovery in the case would be limited to $15,000 per individual or $30,000 in the aggregate (if there was more than one injured party in the car accident). Finally, a property damage claim would be limited to $5,000.
If your damages exceed these amounts, or if you suffered a permanent injury in the accident, you could look to your own insurance coverage by way of an underinsured motorist claim. Similarly, if the at-fault driver was not insured at all, you could make a claim against your own insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits.
Nature and Extent of Your Injuries
In addition to the available insurance policy limits that are in play, the nature and extent of your injuries affect the amount that you can sue the defendant for in your case. Generally speaking, the more severe and debilitating your injuries, the more valuable your case is.
Personal injury cases that involve serious head injuries, fractures, and broken bones are worth more than soft tissue injury cases. In addition, if a healthcare provider has determined that you suffered a permanent injury in the accident, this will likely affect the value of your case, and you might be able to sue the defendant for more money. Permanent injuries are those types of injuries that a healthcare provider determines will affect the accident victim for the remainder of his or her life. A paralysis injury, for example, likely qualifies as a permanent injury.
Keep in mind that even though you are suing the at-fault driver as a defendant in the lawsuit, it is typically the insurance company that holds the pocketbook when it comes to paying out a settlement, arbitration award, or jury verdict.
An experienced California car accident lawyer in your area will be able to determine the likely value of your case and what, if any, damages you are eligible to recover from the defendant driver – or the defendant driver’s insurance company.