What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident?

Published on: 11/02/20 — In  -

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A car accident can cause devastating injuries and financial losses. And if you can’t pay your medical bills, the problems can compound. Instead of focusing on getting better, you have to worry about how to make ends meet.

If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s common to wonder how much you can expect to recover in a settlement. A car accident settlement can reimburse you the money you’ve spent. Also, it can cover lost wages, pain and suffering, and the cost of repairing or replacing your car. In the United States, the annual cost of car accidents is around $242 billion. 

Chicago car accident lawyer Chris Ktenas discussing the average settlement for a car accident with a client

Car accidents range from minor accidents with little to no injuries to extremely fatal accidents, which can result in permanent disabilities or even death. As personal injury lawyers, when calculating a client’s settlement claim, we consider many factors that vary depending on the victim’s damages and personal experience.

There’s No Such Thing as an Average Car Accident Settlement

It’s difficult to find an average car accident settlement that reflects your specific claim because each claim is unique. Throughout history, settlement amounts have differed because of the unique nature of damages. For a minor to a moderate car accident, the average settlement amount is $20,000 to $30,000. Severe accidents are worth more. For example, some car accident victims in Texas got six-and seven-figure settlements for their damages.

Because no two car accidents are the same, don’t gauge your compensation amount based on averages alone. Your outcome could differ significantly from other cases: even with the same accident type. So, instead of gauging your case based on other people’s results, consult with a personal injury lawyer for a personalized estimate. It’s only an experienced attorney who can accurately determine what your car accident settlement could be worth after a detailed review of the facts of your case.

What Factors Influence a Car Accident Settlement?

Car accidents can cause several serious injuries, including head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, and legs injuries. Depending on where your car was hit, the type of vehicle involved, and the force of impact, this will determine the extent and severity of your injuries.

So, based on these factors, no two accidents are identical, and accordingly, no two injury settlement will ever be the same. And despite what some attorneys say, there’s no perfect formula or multiplier used to calculate your settlement. Every settlement is tailored for each unique situation.

Your automobile accident settlement depends on the following factors:

  • Medical expenses. Often, medical treatment is the most expensive part of a car accident. For car accident claims, it’s also essential to factor in future medical expenses related to the crash into the compensation you may receive.
  • Personal property damage expenses. Many automobile accidents cause property damage. Thus, you must factor the cost of repairing or replacing your car into the final settlement amount.
  • Lost income and increased living expenses. In most cases, car accidents victims can’t go to work while they recover from their injuries. This could lead to loss of income, and it might be hard to support you and your family. Also, you may incur more travel expenses as you travel to and from doctors and other specialists.
  • Pain and suffering damages. If you’re involved in a car accident, it might be hard to calculate the physical, emotional, and psychological pain and suffering. Putting a price on pain and suffering is hard, but usually, you may recover pain and suffering damages. Examples of pain and suffering include loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety and depression, lowered quality of life, inability to take part in activities you loved before, and loss of companionship.
  • Punitive damages. If the at-fault party actions were grossly negligent or intended to cause harm, you may recover punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter them from acting in a similar manner in the future.

It’s very complicated to estimate a car accident victim’s total losses. But having a personal injury attorney by your side can make things easier. An attorney can work with the medical and financial experts to calculate the total losses you incurred. 

Other Factors That Determine Your Settlement

The severity of your injuries, including pain and suffering and your lost wages, are not the only things that matter or determine how much compensation you can receive. Both minor and catastrophic injuries deserve compensation. Also, it matters whether:

  • You sought medical treatment immediately after your accident or you waited a few months.
  • The accident caused all your injuries or your injuries resulted from a previous injury that worsened after the accident.
  • You sought more treatment than was necessary or saw certain medical specialists, such as a chiropractor, whom the insurance company doesn’t cover.

That’s why it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident, and it’s essential to see the right medical professionals for your injuries. If you aren’t sure what to do after a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney.

woman holding her neck after a car accident, average car accident settlement

How Is a Car Accident Settlement Calculated?

The insurance industry doesn’t have a specific formula for calculating the average car accident settlement value. If you only suffered damages to your car, your compensation will depend on the policy limits.

You are eligible for pain and suffering compensation only if you have been injured. So, it’s essential to seek medical care even though you don’t think you have been injured.

Some car accident injuries, such as whiplash, become evident a few days after the accident. If you’ve already negotiated your settlement or take too long to seek medical treatment, you might not be compensated for the physical injury. Make sure to keep track of all medical records and expenses related to the accident.

To get a rough estimate of how much to expect from a car accident compensation, add all your expenses for medical bills, car repairs or replacement, and lost wages. Multiply that sum by three.   

How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

Many car accident victims often wonder how long it takes for a car accident claim to get settled. Typically, this depends on the case, and it takes anywhere from a few months to several years. Some cases are straightforward and the victims get settlements within months. Other times, the details are complicated and need a lot of work behind-the-scenes.

The following vastly influence your settlement timeline:

  • Issues with proving and determining liability
  • The severity of your injuries and the extent of other damages
  • The quality and quantity of evidence proving liability
  • How long the insurance company takes to respond to your claim
  • The amount of settlement negotiation involved
  • Whether you hire a personal injury attorney.

How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

Whether you’re seeking an insurance settlement or suing the at-fault party, a car accident lawyer can help you get fair compensation. While you might think that hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is very costly, most personal injury attorneys are straightforward with what they charge.

In fact, hiring a car accident lawyer costs nothing upfront. In most cases, car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you only pay the lawyer if they recover compensation for you through your claim.

Thus, you need not worry about any costs when hiring a car crash attorney. And, if the lawyer recovers compensation for you, their fee is a percentage of your settlement amount, or what the judge or jury awards, if your case goes to trial. And if they recover no compensation, you aren’t responsible for paying the fee.

The contingency fee is beneficial for clients because:

  • It makes sure your attorney puts your interests first because a win for you is a win for them, and vice versa.
  • You can work as a team from the beginning and focus on the best outcome possible in your claim.
  • You need not worry about any upfront costs. Thus, you can start getting help with your injury claim right away.  

However, when you consult with a car accident lawyer, you must inquire about their fee percentage. While most lawyer fees fall within a general range, they vary per law firm. The American Bar Association reports that the industry standard for a car accident lawyer contingency fee ranges from 33.3% to 40%. Cases that require mediation, arbitration, or trial and those that take longer may have a higher contingency fee. Thus, it’s crucial to schedule a consultation and discuss all the details beforehand. 

man holding his neck after a car accident, average car accident settlement

Car Accidents Statistics

  • According to a survey from Martindale Nolo Research, the average compensation for a personal injury lawsuit is $52,900 with settlements and awards range from $3,000 to $75,000. 
  • Every year about 1.35 million people die because of road traffic accidents.
  • Over 50% of road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
  • In 2018, there were 319,146 car accidents in Illinois, an increase of 7,467 from the previous year. Fatal car accidents accounted for less than 1% of these accidents.
  • Over 874 car accidents occurred per day in 2018 in Illinois.
  • In Chicago, there has been a 14% increase in speeding, as of July 2020.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Today!

In a perfect world, all crash victims would recover compensation for the exact amount of damages suffered. And they would receive their compensation immediately.

However, the car accident claim process doesn’t go smoothly. If you’re worried about the outcome of your claim, working with an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago can help. We have been helping car accident victims get fair compensation for decades.

We’d love to help you with your case. Call us today at (312) 300-2515 or chat with us online for a free case evaluation.