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How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth in Washington?

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    How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth in Washington?

    Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, and understanding the value of your case is crucial. This blog aims to shed light on the many details that combine to determine the worth of car accident cases in the Evergreen State.

    Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts in Washington State

    Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts in Washington State

    The average car accident settlement amount in Washington state varies depending on the severity of the injuries sustained.

    According to recent studies, the average car accident settlement amount in Washington state is approximately $25,181 for moderate injury claims.

    The average settlement for minor injuries is around $6,827, while severe injuries can open the door for much higher settlements, averaging around $489,887. It’s important to note that these figures can vary significantly based on the specific details of each case.

    In 2023, the average car accident settlement for bodily injury across the United States was $26,123, while the average settlement amount with no injury was $5,520.

    Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts in Washington

    What Should a Car Accident Settlement Cover?

    A car accident settlement should ideally include a comprehensive range of damages that cover all reimbursable expenses resulting from the incident, such as the following.

    Medical Expenses

    This constitutes the costs incurred for medical treatment due to injury. It encompasses both immediate treatments, like emergency room visits, and ongoing care, such as physical therapy. Compensation should cover both past medical bills and anticipated future medical expenses.

    Lost Income

    If the injuries prevent the victim from working, compensation for lost income becomes crucial. This covers earnings lost from the time of the accident until the return to regular work. Claims for lost earning capacity are also important in cases where severe injuries affect future work capacity.

    Pain and Suffering

    This refers to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress the accident has caused. While difficult to quantify, this aspect of compensation is critical and varies based on the severity of the injuries and their impact on daily life post-accident.

    Loss of Quality of Life

    Injuries that prevent one from engaging in activities and hobbies that were a normal part of life before the accident necessitate compensation for the loss of quality of life. These payments acknowledge the impact of non-physical harm on overall quality of life.

    Loss of Consortium

    This form of compensation is reserved for the injured party’s spouse or close loved ones. It addresses the loss of companionship, support, and relationship quality caused by the injuries sustained in the accident.

    Property Damage Costs

    Finally, the settlement should cover the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged vehicle and any personal items that were lost or destroyed. This includes compensation for items of value inside the vehicle at the time of the incident.

    How Car Accident Settlements Are Calculated in Washington

    How Car Accident Settlements Are Calculated in Washington

    Regarding vehicular accidents, Washington State considers several key factors within its traditional fault or “tort” legal framework.

    Here are some key aspects:

    • Personal injury protection (PIP): While insurance companies offer PIP in Washington, policyholders can opt out, and victims have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer or a lawsuit against the driver.
    • Handling of claims: Victims might handle claims for minor injuries on their own; however, in more serious or complicated cases, a personal injury attorney is often needed to secure maximum compensation.
    • Role of attorneys: Attorneys play a pivotal role in gathering evidence to support claims for both current and future economic and non-economic damages.
    • The multiple method for minor claims: This involves totaling medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages, then adding one to three times that amount for pain and suffering (the multiplier varies depending on the impact on the victim's life).
    • Shared fault: Since Washington is a pure comparative fault state, compensation can be awarded even if the victim is predominantly at fault.
    • Auto policy limits: Washington mandates minimum insurance liability limits, which can influence settlement amounts.
    • Multiple claimants: In accidents involving multiple severely injured parties, the available insurance money may not suffice to fully compensate all victims.
    • Uninsured/underinsured coverage: Insurers must offer UM and UIM coverage up to the policy's liability limits, though policyholders can reject this in writing.
    • Commercial policies: These often have higher liability limits than personal auto policies, potentially leading to higher settlements for serious injuries.
    • Punitive damages: Unlike some states, Washington doesn’t allow motor vehicle accident victims to seek punitive damages from the at-fault party.

    A qualified personal injury attorney can provide further insight into each of these laws and guidelines.

    How Long Will It Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement?

    Car accident settlements generally have a relatively quick turnaround time, which presents a distinct advantage when compared to the extended timelines associated with pursuing a lawsuit.

    According to data from Martindale-Nolo, the average duration for personal injury victims to receive a settlement is 11.4 months.

    How Do I Claim the Money After I Settle?

    After settling for a car accident, you typically have two ways of receiving your compensation: a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement.

    With a lump-sum payment, you receive all your money at once. This method is straightforward — once you've signed the settlement agreement and the insurance company has processed it, they’ll issue a check for the agreed-upon amount. This swift access to the full settlement can be highly valuable when you have immediate expenses.

    A structured settlement takes a different approach. Instead of dispensing your compensation all at once, it arrives in a series of scheduled payments spread out over time. You have the flexibility to arrange these payments according to your preferences, whether you opt for a monthly, yearly, or other specified interval.

    Many individuals favor the structured settlement approach because it provides a consistent income stream and potential tax advantages.

    To begin collecting your settlement funds, you’ll first need to sign the agreement provided by the insurance company. The insurer will then process the payment as per the mutually agreed-upon terms.

    For those who choose lump-sum payments, the check typically arrives within a few weeks. If you opt for a structured settlement, you’ll start receiving payments according to your chosen schedule, which can be commenced almost immediately or deferred until a future date, depending on your preferences and financial needs.

    Car Accident Claim Amounts Lehmbecker Law Has Obtained

    Car Accident Claim Amounts Lehmbecker Law Has Obtained

    As you've learned, the settlement amount you can expect to receive for your car accident claim can vary considerably due to numerous factors.

    Our experienced team of car accident attorneys has an impressive track record of securing favorable verdicts and settlements, with individual payouts ranging from thousands of dollars to several million.

    Here are some recent car accident settlements our firm has negotiated:

    • $1.75 million for a client hit in the front driver's side of her vehicle.
    • $675,000 for a client impacted by a driver failing to yield.
    • $5.75 million for a grandfather struck by a young driver.
    View more: Recent Car Accident Verdicts and Settlements

    Don’t Settle for Less than What Your Case Is Worth

    Determining the value of your car accident in Washington State is crucial for ensuring a fair settlement. That’s why it’s so important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.

    The seasoned legal professionals at Lehmbecker Law can provide dependable guidance, maximizing your compensation and ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process. Contact us today to discuss your case.

    Find Out How Much Your Car Accident Settlement Is Worth

    Ready to learn your case's value? Contact Lehmbecker Law today for a free consultation.

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    Maximize the Compensation of Your Car Accident Lawsuit

    Contact Lehmbecker Law today to maximize your auto accident settlement and obtain the compensation you deserve. Your trusted legal partner awaits.

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    Larry A. Lehmbecker
    Firm Founder, Larry Lehmbecker, has nearly 40 year’s of experience fighting for the injured in Washington State. He is always eager to share his knowledge to help those in need.
    Contact Lehmbecker Law Today
    Our attorneys and paralegals have decades of experience to help ensure you get the proper treatment for your injuries
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    How much are most car accident settlements in Washington?

    A typical car accident settlement in Washington usually averages around $25,000. This amount is intended to cover various expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering.

    How long does it take to Settle an injury claim in Washington?

    Washington’s Unfair Claims Settlement Practices law mandates that insurance companies settle claims promptly, fairly, and equitably once liability becomes reasonably clear.

    Furthermore, the state has a statute of limitations of three years for injury claims stemming from vehicle accidents. This means you must settle your claim or file a lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident.

    How much do Washington attorneys charge?

    Washington attorneys are regulated by the Rules of Professional Conduct, which prevent them from charging excessive fees. In personal injury cases, it’s customary for a lawyer to operate on a contingency fee basis, which typically entitles them to 33%–40% of the final compensation they recover for their clients.