What to Know about Colorado Car Accident Settlements
- Personal Injury
Virtually everyone will be involved in at least one traffic accident in their life, and it can be quite a bad experience. Even a minor fender-bender is fairly disruptive—you have to deal with insurance companies, get a damage estimate, and take your car in for repairs—but a major wreck with injuries can turn your whole life upside down.
If that’s the situation you find yourself in, you’re probably wondering what your options are. Perhaps the other driver’s insurance company has already offered you a payment, but you aren’t sure if it is a fair amount. To help you, here is some information about what you can expect from a car accident settlement in Colorado.
The Average Value of a Car Accident Settlement
Note: This information is only meant to give you a general idea about settlement amounts. Every case is different, and no attorney can guarantee you a specific result.
For an accident with no injuries, the value of the settlement is usually pretty straightforward: both parties agree on the price of repairing or replacing any damaged property and move on. When a victim is injured, however, the situation gets more complicated. Not only is there the value of economic damages to consider (medical bills, lost wages, etc.), but there may be pain and suffering to consider as well.
Pain and suffering damages (a.k.a. “non-economic damages”) are meant to acknowledge that the harm inflicted extends beyond medical bills. Broken bones, for example, are painful injuries, and just covering the costs of medical treatment would hardly be just. However, placing a dollar value on suffering can be difficult.
On average, a car accident victim with injuries settles their case for about 150% of the value of the economic damage suffered. For example, if a person suffered $20,000 in economic damage, the typical settlement amount would therefore be about $30,000. The actual figure in any particular case varies widely, though. Accident victims who hire an attorney typically recover more because the at-fault driver’s insurer knows the risk of litigation is higher.
If you’re looking for an actual dollar amount, a recent nationwide survey found that the average settlement for a victim injured in a car accident was about $29,700. However, you should bear in mind that a large percentage of those cases settled for peanuts without the victim hiring an attorney. Averages may provide some interesting information, but they are not a good gauge of the value of your case.
Limits on Settlement Amounts
Colorado law places limits on the amount plaintiffs can receive in most cases. While there is no limit on economic damages, the following caps apply to pain and suffering compensation (inflation-adjusted, as of 2023):
- $642,180 – Pain and suffering damages in most cases are capped at this amount.
- $1,284,370 – This higher amount is available when there is “clear and convincing evidence” of non-economic damage.
- No Limit – If the plaintiff has suffered disfigurement or permanent impairment, there is no cap on the amount they can receive because these damages are excluded from non-economic damages and treated as a separate category.
Discuss Your Case with an Attorney
While there may be uncertainty about the exact amount you can expect to recover for your injuries after a car accident, one thing is clear: people who have the assistance of an attorney generally fare much better. This is because an experienced personal injury lawyer will have a pretty good sense of your case's worth, knows how to negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case to trial when the insurance company acts unreasonably.
Get your case moving forward by scheduling a free consultation with an attorney from JBP Legal. We can evaluate your case and quickly develop a strategy to maximize your recovery. Contact our office today.