How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement


Arizona highways can be a dangerous place, and there are thousands of car accidents recorded each year. The state has a large population, so major towns and cities tend to have overcrowded roads and traffic congestion. 

With these conditions, it’s no surprise that car accidents are so common. When you experience a collision, you’ll understandably want life to get back to normal as soon as possible. However, you’ll have expenses to think about. Thankfully, a car accident settlement can assist you in this area.

When negotiating a car accident settlement there are several things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to know the liability coverage limit of your car insurance
  • Medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering can be added to damages
  • Working with a car accident attorney is the best way to maximize the amount you receive in a settlement

What is an Auto Accident Settlement?

If you’ve sustained injuries from a car wreck, the money you receive to cover the resulting damages is called a settlement. Most often, car accident settlements require both drivers involved in the crash to negotiate and come to a mutual agreement. But it’s not always so simple. Every car accident is different regarding damage, scope, and severity. To understand how auto settlements work, it’s important to first know about minimum liability coverage in the state.

Liability Coverage in Arizona

All drivers in Arizona must carry liability car insurance. If you’re in an accident in the state, this coverage will help take care of the costs. You need a minimum coverage of $10,000 to cover damage to property and a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury. You’ll also need $30,000 minimum coverage per accident if the collision involves an injury to more than one person.

If the wreck leads to a lawsuit because either you or the other person involved in the crash is at fault, the coverage will help cover your legal defense needs. You can get more information on this by speaking to an auto accident attorney who knows all about the topic.

Factors that Impact Settlements

There are several factors that may help determine the cost of the damages, such as:

  • Medical bills and future rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages from missing work due to the wreck
  • The amount of coverage each driver has
  • Pain and suffering from the accident

Since future medical costs and pain and suffering aren’t necessarily objective, they’ll typically require working with experts to determine exact settlement amounts. The more severe your injuries are, the higher the settlement has the potential to be. While an insurance company will present you with a figure when you’re negotiating a settlement, keep in mind that their job is to try to pay as little as they can get away with. Let’s look closer at settlement amount factors.

Medical Expenses

For most accident victims, medical expenses are the most pressing concern. The costs for your injuries may be way higher than what you can cover on your own, and health insurance often won’t cover car accident injuries. Much of the time, your medical costs will also include future expenses that go beyond emergency care. You might be looking at physical therapy in addition to follow-up visits, medication, and more. 

As soon as your treatment is complete and you’re released from medical care, you’ll need to prepare a claim and submit it to the insurer. It can be tempting to settle as soon as possible, but keep in mind that you’ll usually end up with less when you do this. It’s best to take your time to consult with experts about the scope of the damage done from the accident before you accept a settlement amount.

Lost Work Wages

It’s often hard to keep up with your regular schedule with car accident injuries to think about. If you had to miss work because of doctor’s visits or the accident itself, you can receive compensation for your lost wages. If your injuries or pain prevent you from working, you may also receive compensation for unpaid and paid sick time. If you have to take a job that pays less due to your injuries, or can’t work in the future, you may also recover damages to cover your lost future earning capacity.

Before an insurance company pays up to cover these costs, you’ll need to thoroughly prove your status through a medical assessment.

Pain and Suffering

In Arizona, car accident victims can seek compensation for losses that don’t include finances. Most of the time, “pain and suffering” is a significant component of non-financial loss after a collision. It can include emotional and physical strain you’ve endured due to the wreck, such as anxiety or depression, physical limitations, and temporary or chronic pain.

You might get damages that account for each day you’ve experienced pain and suffering. This is a matter that your attorney can handle with the insurance companies. Another way to calculate damages for pain and suffering is simply multiplying the compensation you received for financial losses.

Your Testimony

Another factor that can impact how you negotiate your car accident settlement is the statements you give about the accident. The more consistent you can be throughout this process, the stronger your claim will likely be. You’ll need to talk to many different people, including the insurance agency, doctor, and police officer, about how the wreck occurred. Giving the same story each time will make your credibility stronger and potentially allow you to recover more compensation.

One of the reasons it’s helpful to call a police officer as soon as you can after a wreck is because they’ll make a report of the incident. The information in the police report can help support your case.

Speak with an Attorney to Get the Best Result

Keep in mind that, after a car accident, you only get a single final settlement for the damages. If you settle too fast and get less than you need, you give up your rights to receiving compensation in the future. This is why it’s so important to work with an auto accident attorney who can help you devise the best strategy for maximizing compensation. 

Hold onto all of the invoices and bills related to the car wreck, as you may need them to prove your condition. Whether you were at fault for the accident or not, you can potentially negotiate a car accident settlement.

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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