When a car accident occurs, vehicle damage is usually inevitable. In fact, property damage is even more common than injuries; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts: 2014 Crash Data Key Findings reports that of the 6.1 million police-reported crashes in 2014, 72 percent of these crashes only involved property damage, and no injuries or fatalities.
Because vehicle damage is so common – and often very telling, injuries may be obvious based on how much damage a car sustained – insurers may use it to determine car accident value.
The Role of Vehicle Damage
The role of vehicle damage in a car accident settlement is twofold: first, you should consider both the actual economic value of the car and the damage done to it.
For example, if the value of the car was $20,000 before the crash, and after the crash, the damage brought the value down to $1,000, then the plaintiff/claimant may be entitled to $19,000 in actual economic damages.
Or, if the accident totaled the vehicle and the victim must buy a new car, she may be entitled to recover the value of the new car in a settlement with an insurance company.
Secondly, you may also use vehicle damage to calculate a damages amount for noneconomic losses. A minor fender bender where the car only sustains $100 worth of damage may imply that the victim did not suffer serious emotional or physical injuries.
On the other hand, a severe accident that results in $20,000 in vehicle damage can imply that the accident was extremely traumatic, that the victim likely suffered serious injuries, and that recovery on a physical and psychological level may be much longer, which may lead to a higher possible settlement.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Representing yourself in a car accident claim or lawsuit can be dangerous as you may not understand all the nuanced details of the personal injury system, how vehicle damage can have a profound effect on the amount of money you are able to recover, and whether or not you can even file a claim with no vehicle damage.
The car accident attorneys at Bressman Law will work to present all evidence that is essential to your case, and will advocate for the highest settlement amount possible.
Because O.R.C. § 2305.10 requires that all personal injury claimants take action within two years from the date of their accidents to recover compensation you need to get started as soon as possible. To start the process today, contact Bressman Law at 1-877-538-1116 for a free case consultation.