What Is the Average Settlement For A T-Bone Car Crash?
T-bone car accidents are common on Michigan streets, and often there is a clear indication of who is responsible for the crash. Michigan personal injury law allows you to hold the at-fault party accountable for the damage they caused and recover compensation for financial and emotional losses. Most cases end in a settlement calculated by identifying all recoverable damages, which can vary drastically from case to case. A car accident lawyer can help you adequately value your claim.
What Is a T-Bone Car Crash?
Most car accident cases are characterized by where the impact occurs. A t-bone accident’s description refers to the front of one vehicle striking the side of another vehicle, forming a “T” shape. These accidents are most common at intersections and are typically the result of one driver’s negligence. For example, running a red light at a busy intersection could easily result in a t-bone accident. Often the at-fault driver travels at high speed when attempting to beat a red light, resulting in a forceful impact that can cause severe injuries to both parties.
What Creates Value in a Settlement?
Most auto accident cases resolve with a settlement rather than going to court. The value of that settlement depends on the severity of your injuries and what you can prove sufficiently. The law refers to your recoverable losses as compensatory damages because they compensate for what the at-fault driver took from you through their negligence. To understand the value of your claim, consider the economic and non-economic losses you incurred.
Economic losses cover your financial damages. This is every way the accident and your injuries impacted you monetarily. The most common example is your medical expenses. If you needed emergency care at the scene, the at-fault driver is liable for ambulance expenses and your visit to the hospital emergency department. If you need follow-up treatments, such as surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, medical devices or rehabilitative care, those are also recoverable.
Other common economic damages include the following:
- The sum of current and future lost wages for missed income opportunities during your recovery and treatment
- The loss of earning capacity if your injuries inhibit you from doing the job you had pre-accident
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other property damaged during the crash
- The cost of replacement services if you need assistance with caring for your children or doing your household duties
You can claim any necessary expense related to the accident. For example, suppose you need to remodel any section in your home to accommodate a disability caused by your injuries, or you have to pay for transportation to your medical visits. In that case, you could claim those expenses when you file.
Non-economic damages cover how the accident and your injuries negatively impacted your mental and emotional health. For example, you can claim compensation for the physical pain and suffering caused by your injuries and the painful treatments you endured during your recovery. You can also claim the emotional distress caused by the accident.
Car accidents are inherently traumatic and can have a lasting impact on someone’s emotional state, often resulting in phobias about driving or riding in a vehicle. If you hire a car accident attorney to help you build your case, you will talk to them about how your injuries and the accident have impacted your quality of life and how to translate that into financial compensation.
The most common method used for valuing non-economic damages is the multiplier method. This requires choosing a number between 1.5 and 5 to multiply by the total of your medical expenses. A higher number indicates that your injuries were substantial, requiring longer recovery. Choosing the appropriate number is critical to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Can You Get Punitive Damages for a T-Bone Car Crash?
An award for punitive damages is rare in an auto accident case. These damages do not compensate for something you lost, as economic and non-economic damages do. Instead, punitive damages increase the punishment for the at-fault party if the court considers their actions an example of gross negligence. Gross negligence displays a total disregard for how one’s actions could impact the safety of others.
For example, if the at-fault driver t-boned your vehicle while running a red light, that is a negligent action. However, if you find out in the aftermath that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially if they were severely impaired, that could constitute gross negligence. Another example is distracted driving. If the at-fault driver ran a red light while looking down at their phone, the court might order them to pay punitive damages for that gross negligence.
Punitive damages are often substantial because they act as a deterrent. Therefore, if you assume the other driver’s behavior warrants payment of punitive damages, you can talk to your attorney about whether it is appropriate to request that additional payment.
How Does Michigan’s No-Fault Policy Affect Your Ability to Seek Compensation?
Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance policy requires you to carry personal injury protection insurance if you have a license and a registered vehicle. In the event of an accident, you must turn to your PIP coverage to claim medical expenses and lost income. Liability does not play a role in this system. However, some exceptions allow you to bypass the policy and file an at-fault claim against the other driver.
Stipulations for stepping outside the PIP claim requirement include:
- The at-fault driver is not a Michigan resident and does not have a vehicle registered in the state.
- The accident resulted in injuries causing severe impairment, disfigurement or death.
- The accident occurred somewhere other than Michigan.
- The lawsuit is for $1,000 or less in property damage, and the other driver is at least 50% at fault. Also, coverage must not be available under your insurance.
Suppose you meet one of these qualifications and file a third-party insurance claim against the person who caused your accident. In that case, you can claim all available economic and non-economic damages. However, under PIP insurance, you cannot receive compensation for the emotional impact of your accident.
Does Partial Liability Affect Your Settlement?
Each state mandates laws to govern personal injury cases involving shared fault. In Michigan, the court mandates applying the modified comparative negligence rule if you are partially liable for the accident and resulting damages. According to this rule, you do not have a valid damages claim if you are more than 50% responsible. In practice, if you are less than 50% at fault, the court will deduct your percentage of responsibility from the total damages award. For example, if you are 40% liable and have $100,000 in damages, you can still receive $60,000 to cover your losses.
Can a Car Accident Attorney Help You?
Car accident attorneys handle the most common form of a personal injury case. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a t-bone car crash, you can immediately schedule a meeting with a car crash attorney to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how they can help you. At Mike Morse Law Firm, our team of over 40 personal injury lawyers helps victims of devastating car accidents recover their losses and restore their lives. Contact us at (855) 968-3732 to schedule your free consultation today. Our goal is to provide diligent representation at no upfront cost.