What’s Included in a Car Accident Settlement in Minot?

Car Accident SettlementsThe aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. In addition to physical injuries and emotional trauma, you may be facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. Fortunately, a car accident settlement can help alleviate these financial burdens. At Larson Law, we can help.

Understanding what’s included in a car accident settlement can empower you to make informed decisions about your case.

What damages are available in a Minot car accident settlement?

Car accident settlements typically encompass two main categories of damages: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are quantifiable losses with clear financial value. Common examples include:

  • Medical expenses: This covers past, present, and future medical bills associated with your injuries. It includes hospital stays, doctor visits, emergency room care, surgery, medication, rehabilitation therapy, and any medical equipment you need.
  • Lost wages: This compensates you for income lost due to your injuries and time away from work. It can also account for lost future earning potential if your injuries limit your ability to work.
  • Lost earning capacity: If your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job or earning at the same capacity, you may be able to recover compensation for lost future earning potential.
  • Property damage: This covers the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle. In some cases, it may also include damage to personal belongings inside the car.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: This includes expenses directly related to the accident, such as transportation costs to medical appointments, car rental fees, or replacement of damaged personal belongings.

Non-economic damages are those intangible losses that are more subjective and difficult to quantify. However, they are still recognized by the court and can be included in a settlement. Common examples include:

  • Pain and suffering: This compensates you for the physical and emotional pain you have endured due to your accident. The severity of your injuries, the duration of your pain, and the effects on your daily life are all taken into consideration.
  • Mental anguish: This covers emotional distress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological effects of your accident.
  • Loss of consortium: This compensates a spouse for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and household services due to their injured partner’s limitations.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: This compensates you for the loss of activities you were previously able to enjoy due to your injuries.
  • Scarring and disfigurement: This compensates you for the emotional and social impact of physical scars or disfigurement caused by the accident.

What factors can affect the value of my car accident settlement?

The value of your car accident settlement depends on several factors, including the following:

  • The severity of your injuries: More serious injuries resulting in longer recovery times, permanent disabilities, or ongoing medical treatment will typically lead to higher settlements.
  • The extent of your medical bills: Documentation of past and future medical expenses is crucial in demonstrating the financial impact of the accident.
  • Lost wages: The amount of income lost due to missed work will be factored into the settlement. If your earning capacity is permanently affected, this will also be considered.
  • Fault: A clear case where the other driver is entirely at fault will likely result in a higher settlement than a situation where fault is shared.
  • Available insurance coverage: The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits will play a role in determining the maximum amount recoverable. North Dakota requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance coverage:
    • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
    • $50,000 for total bodily injury when multiple people are injured
    • $25,000 for property damage

Our skilled Minot car accident attorneys can effectively negotiate with the insurance company to help maximize your settlement amount.

The role of fault in reaching a car accident settlement

North Dakota follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule. This means the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if you are found 20% at fault for the accident and your total damages are $100,000, you would receive $80,000 ($100,000 – $20,000).

However, there is one caveat. You can still recover damages even if you are found partially at fault, as long as your percentage of fault is less than 50%. If you are determined to be 50% or more at fault, you are typically barred from recovering any compensation.

The negotiation process for a car accident settlement

After gathering evidence, documenting your damages, and determining the value of your claim, our attorneys negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Here’s a breakdown of that process:

  • Initial demand: We will submit a demand letter to the insurance company outlining the details of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and an initial settlement demand.
  • Negotiation: The insurance company will likely make a counteroffer, which is typically lower than the initial demand. Back-and-forth negotiations may occur until a mutually agreeable settlement is reached.
  • Mediation: In some cases, mediation may be used to resolve the dispute with the help of a neutral third party.
  • Lawsuit: If negotiations fail, our attorneys may recommend filing a lawsuit to pursue your claim in court.

Should I talk to an Minot car accident attorney if I was injured?

Yes, you should. Car accident claims and their complexities can be daunting. However, you don’t need to worry. At Larson Law, our experienced car accident attorneys are adept at using the evidence recovered from the scene of the accident, along with any medical records and eyewitness statements, to show the insurance company why you are not at fault. We also work with medical professionals and financial experts to accurately assess your economic and non-economic losses.

Our team advocates on your behalf to the insurance company and will work to secure the best possible settlement offer we can. If those negotiations fail because the insurance company refuses to play fair, or because they believe they can get away with paying less compensation than you deserve, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Since 1979, our lawyers have been representing folks in and around Minot in jury trials. We will fight for you, too.

Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Contact our experienced Minot car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. At Larson Law, we will fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To schedule a meeting with one of our skilled attorneys, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis – meaning we don’t get paid until you do. We maintain additional offices in Bismarck and Fargo.