Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries following a car accident. Given the position of car occupants, this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
However, knowing what to expect in the wake of an accident isn’t necessarily intuitive. This is especially the case once insurance companies get involved.
If you suffered a knee injury in a car accident, a settlement might be your goal, but how do you ensure the insurance company is fairly compensating you for your injuries?
What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?
In the personal injury context, a settlement refers to an agreement between the injured party and the at-fault driver.
Essentially, the at-fault driver (usually through their insurance company) pays the injured party an agreed-upon amount of money.
In exchange, the injured party agrees not to pursue a lawsuit against the driver or their insurance company.
This is the most common way that personal injury cases conclude. As long as all parties act reasonably and are willing to compromise, everyone benefits because no one has to prepare for or suffer through a protracted and expensive trial.
Often, settlement negotiations start before a lawsuit is even filed. For example, once you contact an attorney, they will usually attempt to resolve the case with the insurance company without filing a lawsuit.
Of course, these early negotiations don’t always materialize into a settlement because neither party has the benefit of full discovery at such an early stage.
Therefore, settlement negotiations often continue well into the pre-trial process.
What Does the Insurance Company Consider When Making a Settlement Offer?
It helps to know what goes into the insurance company’s decision-making process when you want to understand what your car accident knee injury settlement might look like.
Chances of Winning at Trial
Insurance companies typically settle cases because they fear that taking the case to trial will end up costing them significantly more money than settling.
So, one of the first things an insurance company looks at is its chance of successfully defending against the claim in court.
For example, if there is any way the insurance company can argue that you were even partially at fault for the accident, you can bet that’s exactly what they will do.
When an insurance company thinks it will win at trial, it may not offer a settlement at all.
Extent of Injuries
More often than not, however, if there are verifiable injuries, an insurance company will have an interest in settling the case.
To come up with a settlement amount, the insurance company will look at the nature and extent of your knee injuries.
The more serious the injury and the more expensive the treatment—the higher the settlement offer.
Other Economic Damages
Of course, damages in a car accident claim are not limited to your physical injuries. You should also expect to recover your lost wages and any decrease in earning potential.
Lost wages refer to the money that you would have made if you had not suffered a knee injury.
For example, if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, you probably couldn’t work while you were recovering—and a car accident settlement should reflect this.
Additionally, suppose you suffered serious knee injuries to the extent that you can no longer work at your previous occupation.
In that case, you might also qualify for compensation based on your reduced earning capacity.
Finally, you should also account for your non-economic damages. Non-economic damages refer to your pain and suffering and the overall psychological impact that the accident had on your life.
For example, if you were an avid basketball player, the fact that you suffered a debilitating knee injury may keep you on the sidelines for the rest of your life.
This is something that the insurance company should consider when calculating a settlement.
Average Knee Injury in a Car Accident Settlement
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to come up with an accurate average for your settlement because everyone’s case is different.
Even if two people suffer similar injuries, the amount of compensation in lost wages, decreased earning capacity, and non-economic damages could vary wildly.
Also, variables like partial fault can make significant differences in settlement amounts—no matter how similar other variables are.
An experienced Virginia car accident lawyer can provide you with an accurate estimate of what you could recover after listening to the facts of your case.
Most personal injury lawyers offer injury victims free consultations and only collect a fee if they can successfully recover money on your behalf, so there is no risk in calling.
Have You Suffered Knee Injuries in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious knee injuries after a Virginia car accident, reach out to the experienced Virginia injury lawyers at River Run Law.
We’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients and their families over the years.