image for Factors That May Affect the Value of a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement 

Factors That May Affect the Value of a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement 

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 8 minutes

Factors That May Affect the Value of a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement 

Injured in a drunk driver accident? Chances are that you’ve been at least a little bit overwhelmed and confused about how to assess your own claims. Perhaps you don’t quite know how to measure the value of your accident claims. We’re here to help clear up some of this confusion. Understanding the true value of these claims can help you identify the right settlement value to negotiate with the drunk driver. This may lead to a speedier and simpler resolution to the case.  

Don’t go through the legal process alone.  Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation. We’ll connect you to one of our network attorneys in ten minutes or less. Talking to an attorney about your case is a “no commitment necessary” decision.  

What factors may affect the value of my claim against a drunk driver? 

There are a number of factors that can influence the value of your claim; too numerous to list. And so the average settlement for a drunk driving accident is of no use to a plaintiff. Your case will have unique factors that must be evaluated in context. Still, there are a few common factors that you’ll want to consider regardless.  

The nature and severity of injuries 

The more severe your injuries, and the more impactful, the higher your drunk driving accident claims are likely to be. Damages reflect the losses that you suffer in a variety of contexts. Severe injuries tend to significantly impact both your day-to-day life and your long-term goals.  

For example, a serious back injury can not only prevent you from performing everyday tasks, but can also undermine your ability to go to work and earn a living. As such, your back injury will give rise to more significant damages than a minor hand injury. Understanding this injury-loss dynamic is necessary when making accurate damages assessments. 

Medical costs and complications 

Medical expenses are a key factor influencing the value of your settlement. Some drunk driving injuries demand comprehensive medical assistance, from diagnostics, to treatment and even long-term rehabilitation requirements. Depending on the expense, this can push up the value of the settlement up quite a bit. 

Wage loss and loss of future income 

Wage loss is a large component of many drunk driving accident claims. This is a factor that varies significantly from case-to-case, and from person-to-person. For example, if a permanently unemployed person is injured, they cannot claim wage loss damages. By contrast, if a highly-paid software engineer is injured and cannot work due to their injuries, their damages will be substantial. 

Value of your vehicle and the damage done to it 

Property loss may be substantial if your damaged vehicle is expensive. However, you’ll have to also consider how much baseline value has been lost compared to a new, unused vehicle. The drunk driver is also likely to argue that not all the damage to your vehicle was actually caused by them. To ensure the maximum possible property loss damages, your attorney will have an expert inspect your vehicle and provide a report of all the impact damages, and may work with an accident reconstruction expert to develop a solid narrative as to how it all occurred. 

Modifications to your home or car due to change in mobility or ability after the accident 

Damages in a drunk driving accident must also consider the lifestyle changes that occurred due to serious injury. In many cases, victims are actually forced to modify their homes and cars so that they can continue to use them adequately. For example, it’s not uncommon for injury victims to have to modify stairwells to enable them to go up-and-down the stairs in their own home. These sorts of modifications can be extremely expensive, so it’s important to properly calculate the costs when making an accident claim and negotiating a settlement. 

Other pain and suffering 

Pain and suffering is considered a “non-financial” damages type. In other words, it’s a damages category that has nothing to do with a financial loss, and is instead based on the mental and physical losses the victim sustained after an accident. Oftentimes, pain and suffering damages comprise a significant portion of the damages in a drunk driving accident claim. As they are not based on clear financial losses, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. This attorney can secure the testimony of doctors and others who will be able to identify the seriousness of your injuries and the suffering associated with those injuries. 

How can an attorney help me? 

Attorneys perform a variety of tasks in a drunk driving accident. They do everything from gather and preserve evidence, to negotiate a settlement and litigate the dispute at trial. They are especially important early in the process, where insurers and others hover like vultures around your case. In these scenarios, an attorney will work with you so that you don’t disclose anything sensitive, and will handle further communications with these parties. 

Wrongful death car accident settlements 

If you’ve been reading about drunk driving accidents, chances are that you’ve been reading about examples of drunk driving settlements that focus on injury-related issues. But what if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver? In that case, you may have to explore the possibility of a wrongful death car accident settlement. 

Wrongful death damages are paid out to a subset of surviving family members of the individual who died in the accident. There are a number of limitations as to who qualifies to receive these damages, and it can vary from state-to-state. The damages are also not as straightforward as standard injury claims, as they are based on losses specific to the death of the invidual, such as the loss of financial support to the surviving family members. Given the unique structure of wrongful death claims, it’s important to speak to an attorney about how best to proceed. 

Hit by a drunk driver? Work with an attorney today. 

If you’ve been hit in a drunk driver accident, then you may be entitled to sue for damages. Securing compensation isn’t always straightforward, however, and it is extremely helpful to have an attorney by your side. We encourage you to call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 or fill out our contact form to connect to an experienced accident attorney in our network today. Consultation is free and there’s no-obligation to commit, so don’t delay! 

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