The Factors That May Reduce Your Car Accident Settlement

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All it takes is one minor accident to change the trajectory of your life. The consequences of a car accident are far-reaching, and without any help, they might even overwhelm you.

As a victim, you might find some comfort in knowing that you’re entitled to some form of compensation. It is important to understand that some factors that may or may not be within your control can reduce the amount you’re likely to get in your car accident claim.

Let’s take a look at some of these factors:

 

Your part in the accident

One of the biggest challenges to a full settlement is proving the other driver's negligence. The court needs to see that their failure to act with reasonable care is what caused the accident. Most states follow a system of "comparative negligence," where the blame is shared between parties. If you're found partially at fault, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of the blame.

For example, let's say a distracted driver rear-ends you at a red light. You suffer whiplash and require physical therapy. The evidence clearly shows the other driver was at fault.

However, during a deposition, you mention running a yellow light at the previous intersection. If the other driver's insurance company argues this contributed to the accident, even slightly, your settlement could be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault (e.g., 10% for running the yellow light).

 

Minor injuries

There’s a chance that your seemingly minor injuries can be the reason you get less compensation. The insurance company might argue that your injuries aren't as serious as you claim, especially if you don't seek immediate medical attention.

This can be a tricky situation. You might be walking around after the accident, but the pain from a soft tissue injury can build over time.

Also, if your injuries are not that serious, the insurance company might begin to question the legitimacy of your claim. They investigate to know if the “serious crash” that you claimed to be involved in actually happened.

 

Your lack of confidentiality

Social media is a great way to connect and stay in touch with family and friends. At the same time, it can be a goldmine for insurance companies looking to weaken your claim.

Posting about participating in strenuous activities shortly after an accident might contradict your claims of crippling injuries. Even seemingly harmless posts about going to a concert or enjoying a hike can be used by the insurance company to suggest your injuries aren't as severe as you claim.

You must be mindful of what you share on social media after an accident. If possible, take a temporary break or adjust your privacy settings to ensure nothing you post undermines your claim.

 

Preexisting conditions

Existing injuries can complicate things, especially if the insurance company argues the accident aggravated a pre-existing condition rather than causing a new injury. If you have clear medical records documenting the pre-existing condition and its limitations, your lawyer could use them to counter this argument.


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The statute of limitations

Personal injury cases have strict deadlines for filing claims. Missing these deadlines can significantly weaken your case or even prevent you from filing a claim altogether.

 

Shaky evidence

You might be thrown into a state of chaos when the accident occurs. The clarity of your memory and the strength of your evidence significantly impact your settlement. If you cannot remember key details, like witness statements, police reports, or provide dashcam footage, it will automatically weaken your case.

Witness accounts can corroborate your version of events, especially if the fault is contested. Police reports document the scene layout, contributing factors like weather conditions, and even witness statements collected at the accident site. Your lawyer would know the right pieces of evidence to use to replace your shaky memory.

 

Conclusion

When you’ve been hurt by another person’s carelessness, you deserve maximum compensation for all your trouble. Your attorney will work with you to factor in every form of loss you’ve suffered due to the car accident.

You’ll both come up with a solid figure, and then your attorney will proceed to devise solid strategies that’ll ensure that not one penny is reduced from the requested compensation.

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