Most estimates show the average settlement for a car accident causing physical injuries is between $15,000 and $20,000. For accidents causing only property damage, settlement values are much lower, averaging just over $3,000.
The overall value of a car accident settlement hinges on the following variables:
- Losses sustained by the victim
- At-fault party’s insurance policy
- Laws applicable to the case
This guide will help you better understand what to expect in terms of compensation if you are involved in an auto wreck.
What Is the Typical Value of a Car Accident Settlement?
The average settlement values quoted above for car accidents cannot be used to accurately predict the value of your settlement. All claims are unique, every insurance company operates differently, and laws vary from state to state.
If you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer, they can help you better determine the value of your claim by assessing all relevant facts and evidence. Ask your attorney directly how much they feel you will receive in compensation and they should give you a straight answer.
When a claims adjuster is determining the value of a claim, they will total the following:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Past lost earnings
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
The amount of your settlement will hinge on the total damages and losses you sustain in the above categories. Car accident settlements amount to the total of all your financial losses in addition to a dollar amount for the pain and suffering caused by accident-related injuries.
To receive a settlement for injuries sustained in a car accident, you must satisfy the legal criteria for compensation according to the laws applicable in your state.
What Is an Average Car Accident?
While most estimates of car accident settlements show average settlements of between $15,000 and just under $20,000, it is tough to compare settlements due to the number of variables in play.
In fault states, also known as tort states, victims of car accidents make a claim even if they only sustain minor property damage or injuries in the accident. In no-fault states, by contrast, insurance coverage does not extend to third party damages. Instead, you file a claim with your own insurer after an accident, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
In states using the fault insurance system, there are more accident lawsuits and settlements than in no-fault states.
What different variables impact the overall value of a settlement, then?
What is Involved in a Car Accident Settlement
Although it is challenging to predict the average car accident settlement, it is more straightforward to isolate the deciding factors. These are as follows:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your financial losses
- The laws in your state
- How obvious it is that the other side is at fault
- What insurance policies are in place
The severity of your injuries
Understandably, the more severe and the longer-lasting your injuries, the higher the value of your car accident settlement.
The core purpose of personal injury settlements is to fairly compensate you for all your losses and damages. Resultantly, if you sustain severe injuries, you deserve a more substantial settlement. A fair settlement will reflect the severity of your injuries.
Your financial losses
You can include a variety of financial losses in a car accident claim, from medical bills and lost wages through to any property damage sustained.
A reasonable personal injury settlement will compensate you fully for all financial losses, as well as any physical injuries.
The laws in your state
Each state has different laws for car accidents. Some states operate a tort system for insurance, also known as a fault system, while other states utilize a no-fault system. You also find some states using a hybrid insurance system.
How obvious it is that the other side is at fault
The strength of your case will be one of the deciding factors in negotiations for your car accident settlement. The clearer it is that the other party is responsible for the accident, the higher your likely settlement value.
When there is some element of doubt concerning blame, both parties must decide whether the case can be resolved by negotiation, or whether it should go to trial.
What insurance policies are in place
The party responsible for the accident must have sufficient resources to pay a claim. In almost all cases, the claim will be paid by an insurance company. When the insurance policy in question is robust, this can increase the overall settlement value. Conversely, a weak insurance policy can negatively impact settlement value.
Beyond this, limits and specific coverage can also influence settlement value.
What Is a Fair Settlement for an Auto Accident?
A car accident settlement that fully compensates the victim for both emotional pain and suffering and financial losses can be considered fair.
Settlements can include compensation for any or all of the following:
- Physical injuries
- Mental injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages (to vehicle or personal possessions)
How to Maximize a Car Accident Settlement?
The most crucial thing you can do when trying to maximize a car accident settlement is to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer will help you to gather all the evidence required for a strong claim.
An experienced lawyer is invaluable when it comes to interviewing witnesses and compiling tangible evidence to increase the potential value of your settlement. A good attorney can also leverage the legal process to strengthen your position, assuming you have a solid case.
Most insurers will offer a low initial settlement offer. Your legal counsel can effectively negotiate with the claims adjuster to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.