How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement?

How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

From relatively minor injuries to severe and debilitating ones, drivers involved in car accidents may endure physical and emotional trauma. Moreover, many injuries require significant medical treatment or physical therapy. Treatments can cost a significant amount of money, which can add to the stress of dealing with injuries caused by the negligence of another person.

If you aren’t at fault, you can file a claim to obtain compensation for the accident-related injuries. In most cases, resolution results in a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. An attorney can review your case and give you an idea of how much you can get from a car accident settlement.

Disclaimer: The circumstances of each individual claim and the laws of each state are unique, and, as such, results may vary significantly.

Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Car accidents can lead to severe and sometimes debilitating injuries that require extensive medical treatment and physical therapy. The costs don’t stop there, either. Most car accident settlements take several aspects into consideration, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage.

Car accident settlement amounts vary based on numerous factors. However, the average liability claim for bodily injury was $24,211 in 2022, according to the Insurance Information Institute.[1] Likewise, the average claim for property damage reached $5,313. However, there is no default amount of money you get from a car accident settlement.

That said, the circumstances surrounding each claim are individual, and therefore, results may vary significantly.

When accidents are someone else’s fault, victims can file a claim to obtain compensation for their accident-related injuries. In most cases, a settlement agreement resolves the dispute with the at-fault party’s insurance company paying. An attorney can review your case and give you an idea of how much you may receive in compensation, which will also affect any potential car accident pre-settlement funding.

Factors That Can Impact a Car Accident Settlement

From the extent of the injuries to the level of lost earnings, numerous factors may influence the amount received in a car accident settlement.

Victim Injuries

Generally speaking, the more significant an accident victim’s injuries in a car accident, the more value the case has from a settlement standpoint — and the more you may qualify for in pre-settlement funding for the accident. Generally, only serious injuries require extensive, ongoing medical treatment.

Injured individuals may not be able to work at their previous capacity, leading to lost income. In addition, more serious injuries may lead to pain and suffering, both short term and long term. Long term, the injured party may not be capable of doing what they used to. Compensating for pain and suffering doesn’t eliminate the injury or trauma associated with it but can help the injured party cope in the future as they adjust to their new limitations.

Medical Costs

Sometimes, a car accident victim must undergo a significant amount of physical therapy and medical treatment, such as surgeries or injections. For example, a rear-end accident could cause whiplash, back injuries, or bone fractures. Generally, the settlement value increases with the cost and extent of care required.

A car accident victim may even recover monetary compensation for the anticipated costs of future medical procedures should a healthcare provider determine that it’s likely the injured party will require further treatment.

Permanent Injuries

Some victims of car accidents fully recover from their injuries over the course of weeks, months, or years. Others, however, may have to endure their lingering injuries for the rest of their lives. Serious injuries, such as those causing the loss of limbs or loss of functionality, can permanently impact the plaintiff.

When a healthcare provider determines that an accident victim sustained a permanent injury resulting from a car accident, that determination increases how much to expect from a car accident settlement.

Length of Medical Treatment

An injured car accident victim may need medical treatment, including physical therapy, for a long time. A lengthy recovery time also adds value to the personal injury case. An accident victim can also recover compensation for all of the pain and suffering, inconvenience, and emotional distress they experience while treating for the injuries over an extended period of time.

Lost Earnings

In some cases, severe injuries prevent accident victims from working. Alternatively, they may be able to work but not at the same capacity as before the car accident. Their employer may put them on light duty, often at a much lower rate of pay. The injured party loses out on the difference between their usual salary and light-duty pay, resulting in more damages. Alternatively, they may need to change careers entirely due to new physical constraints.

When a person cannot work as they did before the accident due to related injuries, they may claim lost wages. This increases the potential settlement value of the case. If the injuries are so severe that they keep the accident victim from working in the future (or prevent them from working at the same job or in the same capacity), the accident victim may be able to assert a claim for loss of earning capacity, which further increases the claim’s potential settlement value.

Insurance Coverage

Most people don’t have enough cash sitting in the bank to cover the cost of medical expenses and property damages resulting from a car accident. That’s why most states maintain minimum insurance coverage requirements.[2] However, these minimums may not be enough to cover damages caused by a severe accident, such as a broadside collision. While you can receive broadside collision funding, the person responsible for the accident ultimately must cover the cost somehow.

The amount of insurance someone purchases plays a major role in the settlement process. If the at-fault driver has a minimal policy that covers only $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, the insurance company will not offer more than that $15,000 in a settlement, even if the injured party accrues $30,000 in medical bills. The injured party could take the issue to court and possibly even win the $30,000 judgment. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the plaintiff will actually see that money. The driver would ultimately be liable for the remaining $15,000, but if they don’t have it, it’s difficult to collect.

How to Get the Biggest Settlement from a Car Accident

Generally, people receive the largest settlements from car accidents when they sustain injuries that significantly impair their quality of life. You can maximize the settlement you qualify for, and therefore, how much funding you can get, with some simple steps that help bolster your claim[4]:

  • Document any and all damages. This includes taking pictures of the scene and any vehicles involved.
  • Get contact information for witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible to get any relevant diagnoses associated with the accident.
  • Document everything you remember before, during, and immediately after the accident. Consider writing it down or recording yourself describing it.
  • Maintain a record of all documents pertaining to bills, medical diagnoses, and how your treatment and recovery go.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company.

How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Cost?

In most cases, an attorney overseeing a personal injury case for a car accident works on a contingency basis for the injured party. This means the attorney only gets paid if they negotiate a settlement or win a judgment at trial.

Because attorneys often work on contingency, there is no set amount they earn. They may work on a case for months, or even years, without pay before a settlement or judgment. Typically, when the attorney agrees to represent you, you agree that they will get a percentage amount from your settlement rather than a concrete dollar number. The attorney usually receives around 33% of the settlement[3], but the exact percentage may vary.

Speak with a USClaims Representative Today About Your Case

The injuries a car accident victim suffers, along with the associated medical costs and time missed from work, can take a severe economic toll. Various factors impact how much to expect from a car accident settlement — and what you may qualify for in pre-settlement funding.

At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding. In the event of a qualifying car accident case, we will purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement. This makes some of the anticipated funds available for the plaintiff to use immediately. Because USClaims is only paid after you receive a judgment or settlement, it’s risk-free and can bridge the financial gap amid mounting financial pressures.

Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to find out more.

The availability of pre-settlement funding varies by state. Contact USClaims for more information.

Sources

  1. “Facts + Statistics: Auto insurance | III.” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-auto-insurance. (2023).
  2. “Minimum Car Insurance Requirements by State.” NerdWallet, https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/minimum-car-insurance-requirements. (n.d.).
  3. “Lawyers’ Fees in Your Personal Injury Case.” AllLaw, https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/lawyers-fees.html. (n.d.).
  4. “What to Do After a Car Accident | Allstate.” Allstate, 2022, www.allstate.com/resources/car-insurance/in-case-of-a-car-accident.
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