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How is a Payout in an Auto Accident Claim Determined?

DrivingEvery auto accident claim or legal matter is different. Each case has its own specific set of facts, circumstances and details. Each case has one or two differing factors that will affect the value of a claim and potential settlement.

These factors can mean the difference between an average settlement and a wonderful out-of-court payout or verdict. Personal injury attorneys analyze each auto accident case in a similar fashion. A few of the important factors we look at are the following:


If liability is in question, it can also have an impact on the case. The State of Tennessee operates under the law of comparative fault. Simply put, the plaintiff and defendant compare each person’s fault and attribute a percentage based on the amount of said fault.

A Plaintiff’s award is then deducted by the percentage of his/her fault. The Plaintiff is allowed a recovery, minus their percentage portion of fault, assuming it does not exceed that of the Defendant. Therefore, if you are clearly not in the wrong, then there will be no comparative fault issues, and your claim will have a higher value.


The type and severity of the injuries sustained by a Plaintiff are the largest factors to consider in any personal injury or medical malpractice claim. An accident with life-altering, long-term injuries is valued at a higher rate than a soft tissue injury claim.

Your attorney will need to do a comprehensive study and examination of lost wages, medical bills, out-of-pocket and long-term expenses, future medical bills and treatment, along with any other related factors, before submitting your claim to the insurance carrier.

READ MORE: What Types of Damages Can I Recover From a Car Accident?

Insurance Policy Limits

The type and amount of insurance the at-fault party carries at the time of the accident is extremely important. If he/she does not have enough coverage to adequately compensate a plaintiff for his/her injuries, then your attorney will have to explore other avenues for recovery.  

Sadly, policy coverage is an issue in many severe accidents and it may become necessary to examine your client’s own insurance coverage. If the Plaintiff carries underinsured coverage that exceeds that of the Defendant’s coverage, then he/she can present a claim against their own insurance provider for additional money.

On a side note, due to the alarming number of uninsured and underinsured drivers on the road today, we always recommend you carry as much auto insurance coverage as possible and never decline uninsured motorist coverage.

READ MORE: Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage Legal Claims

Multiple Party Accidents

Another factor to look at when evaluating an auto claim is the number of injured parties involved. The more parties involved will typically result in a decreased recovery for each involved claimant. As mentioned above, a smaller insurance policy will have to be divided and apportioned based on each parties’ injuries and damages.

Usually, once the monetary limit of the policy is reached, there will not be additional settlement payouts, no matter the extent of damages. We normally see multiple party claims in bus accident and trucking collisions, which make having the right attorney protect your interest vitally important.

The Chiozza Law Firm has a long history in Memphis, TN and the Mid-South area helping people maximize their settlement in automobile accident and personal injury claims. Our client testimonials and settlements and verdicts showcase the expert legal representation you can always expect to receive.

We also believe in a fair and reasonable attorney fee structure that puts more money in your pocket. We believe that is the fair way to conduct a law practice and establish client relationships. For a no cost, confidential case evaluation please call 901-526-9494 or email Brian Chiozza at brian@chiozzalaw.com. For only a few minutes of your time, an actual attorney will explain your rights and options for any legal matter.

Posted by Brian Chiozza at 3:30 PM
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