Considering filing a claim for compensation after being involved in a car accident without injuries? Before you begin the process, it may be helpful to understand the factors that influence the average settlement for a non-injury car accident. The Minnesota personal injury attorneys at Sieben Polk Law Firm can evaluate your case and give you a realistic idea of the settlement amount you can expect to receive.
The highest car accident settlements typically involve bodily injuries. However, you could still be entitled to compensation for your accident-related losses even if you weren’t injured. This raises the question: What is the average settlement for a non-injury car accident?
The answer to this question isn’t always simple. While averages can give you a general idea of what others have received, your settlement amount will depend on several factors. The best way to determine how much money you can expect to receive for a non-injury car accident is to consult with a Minnesota car accident lawyer at Sieben Polk Law Firm.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Non-Injury Car Accident?
A settlement is a lump sum payment offered by an auto insurance company to resolve a car accident claim outside of court. Non-injury car accident claims are typically resolved in this manner.
A typical car accident settlement amount is between $1,000 and $20,000, but some cases are worth more or less than these amounts. No two accident cases are exactly alike. Only an experienced car accident attorney can tell you exactly how much your settlement for your non-injury accident may be.
Generally, the most substantial compensation in non-injury accidents is for property damage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average claim for property damage in 2018 was $3,841.
What Types of Compensation Can a Non-Injured Victim Receive?
Economic damages are the most common compensation available to non-injured accident victims. These damages compensate victims for the financial harm the accident has caused them.
Unlike personal injury claims, which include medical expenses, non-injury accident claims typically focus on property damage. This may include damage to your vehicle or other belongings, such as valuables you were transporting during the accident.
In some cases, you can recover compensation for lost wages if the accident impacted your ability to work. For example, if the accident occurred while you were driving to work, you may have missed out on a day’s worth of earnings while you waited for the police to investigate the scene, took your vehicle to the repair shop, and arranged alternative transportation.
Your economic damages may also include the cost of alternative transportation, like a rental car, while your vehicle is being repaired. If you paid for additional child care due to the accident, your economic damages may also include that cost.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses without an obvious dollar value. These damages are less prevalent in non-injury car accidents but may be available in certain circumstances.
Emotional distress is perhaps the most likely non-economic damage recoverable by a non-injured car crash victim. Even if you didn’t suffer a physical injury, you may have experienced mental and emotional trauma due to the accident.
In Minnesota, you may be able to recover emotional distress damages if you suffered emotional trauma due to an accident where you were not physically injured. Minnesota law considers whether the plaintiff was in the “zone of danger” at the time of the incident that led to their emotional distress, meaning that if no physical harm resulted, the plaintiff must have been at risk of physical harm and reasonably feared for their own safety.
How Are Non-Injury Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
When you work with an attorney, they’ll evaluate the full extent of your losses and calculate a fair settlement amount to request from the insurance company. Your attorney will use different calculation methods for each type of damage you’ve sustained and total all relevant costs.
Calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward. It involves combining the cost of the losses you’ve already sustained with the expected cost of your future losses.
Non-economic damages can be trickier to calculate. Your attorney will likely choose between a handful of common calculation methods.
One possible method is the multiplier method, which involves multiplying the total economic damages by a number—typically between 1.5 and three. Another possibility is the per diem method. This approach involves determining a daily rate for living with your non-economic damages and multiplying it by the number of days you’re likely to experience them.
What Factors Affect Settlement Amounts of Car Accidents?
When your attorney presents a desired settlement amount to the insurance company, the insurance company can choose whether or not to accept it. Usually, the insurance company will push for a lower settlement offer. Your attorney will attempt to reach a settlement agreement for your desired amount.
It may take back-and-forth negotiation to reach an agreement. During this process, the parties will discuss the various factors affecting a settlement to determine what is fair.
Minnesota uses a modified comparative fault system to determine car accident liability. After you file your claim, you will be assigned a percentage of fault. Under the comparative fault system, you may only seek compensation if you were 50 percent or less at fault for the accident. In other words, if your fault is 51 percent or more, your settlement amount will be zero.
If your fault is 50 percent or less, your settlement amount will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For example, if you’re 20 percent at fault and seek $10,000 in damages, the maximum compensation you could receive is $8,000.
Other state laws may also affect your settlement amount. For example, Minnesota has a statute of limitations, or deadline, for property damage claims. If you fail to file a claim for property damage within six years of the accident, you cannot seek compensation for those losses.
The greatest factor that will influence your settlement amount is the extent of your losses, particularly your economic damages. Vehicle damage is a common type of financial loss. The monetary value of this loss can depend on multiple factors, including the severity of your vehicle’s damage and your vehicle’s value before the accident.
Every auto insurance plan has policy limits. These are the maximum benefits the insurer will pay for your damages after a collision, and they can affect your settlement amount.
Minnesota requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 per accident in liability insurance for property damage. If more than one person experienced property damage, your settlement may be reduced due to the per-accident nature of this limit.
How Long Does It Take To Reach a Settlement in a Car Accident Case?
Non-injury car accident claims usually settle far more quickly than claims involving injuries. The simpler your damages, the faster you can expect to settle the claim.
For example, if you sustained only minor property damage in the accident, your claim could settle within a few days. Cases involving substantial property damage could take a few weeks to settle.
If you have other damages, such as lost wages or emotional distress, you’ll likely need to file a formal lawsuit against the liable party to pursue compensation. Bringing your case to court will slow down the process considerably.
The liable party could make a settlement offer before your case goes to trial, but this could still take several months. If your case goes to trial, it may take six months to two years to resolve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need an Attorney to Get a Settlement?
No, you do not always need an attorney to get a settlement. However, hiring an attorney can result in a significantly higher settlement than you’d receive if you pursued the case on your own. Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to push claimants to accept less money than they deserve. An attorney can see through those attempts and advocate for maximum compensation.
What Is a Good Settlement Offer?
A good settlement offer accounts for the full extent of your damages. If you’re settling with an insurance company and your damages exceed the policy limits, the settlement offer should be for the maximum amount available under the policy.
Can I Still Be Compensated if I Am Partially at Fault?
Yes. Under Minnesota’s modified comparative fault law, obtaining compensation for an accident is possible if your degree of fault is 50 percent or less.
Maximize the Compensation of Your Car Accident Settlement With Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys
A non-injury accident claim doesn’t pose many of the challenges that personal injury or wrongful death claims do. However, you still face an uphill battle when dealing with insurance companies. These companies are in business to make money and will do everything possible to minimize your settlement amount.
When you turn to the experienced car accident lawyers at Sieben Polk Law Firm, you’ll have a dedicated advocate in your corner. We’ll take care of every step of the process, from gathering evidence to building a compelling argument to negotiating with insurers.
Our goal is to obtain maximum compensation on your behalf. That could mean facilitating back-and-forth negotiations or bringing the case to trial. We’ll also explore every potential source of compensation, such as multiple liable parties or your own insurance coverage.