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September 20, 2023
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How Much Money Is a Car Crash Settlement Worth?

Being in a car accident is one of the worst things that can happen due to the injury and long-term trauma it causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the monetary settlement claims that are recovered per year from deaths caused by traffic accidents cost $55 billion per year in lost wages and medical expenses. If you’ve been in an accident, contacting a lawyer to help get you compensation is one of the best choices you can make.

Having an attorney by your side will not only make negotiations with your insurance carrier more effective but also increase the chances of getting the maximum possible settlement. And if you’re wondering how much a car crash legal settlement is usually worth, then keep on reading. In this guide, we’re going to discuss all that and more.

How are car accident settlements calculated?

You might do a quick Google search by typing “average car accident settlement amount” and get lots of information. However, that wouldn’t be very useful to you as a victim. That’s because every collision case is different so is the way a settlement is calculated. For example, a victim who has sustained minor injury or vehicle damage would likely be offered far less money by an insurer than someone who sustained life-threatening injuries or lost a loved one.

Typical settlement amounts for an auto accident are based on the following:

  • Pain and suffering caused by injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Damage to the vehicle or other property

The total insurance coverage amount and who is actually or more at fault will also affect how much settlement the victim(s) is able to get.

How much is the average car accident settlement worth?

To be fair, the data on car accident settlements are not very reliable as they vary by source. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average settlement claim for physical injury caused by a collision was $20,235 in 2020, while property damage claims stood at $4,711 on average.

However, a Martindale-Nolo survey reported that car accident claims made between 2015 and 2020 were on an average of $23,900 but most received less than $10,000. What really matters is how much YOUR case settlement is worth! A trusted personal injury lawyer will make the calculation much easier as they have the means and expertise to determine that.

Plus, an attorney can reach a settlement rather quickly with the insurance adjusters, avoiding a lawsuit that may take years to resolve. According to Martindale-Nolo, collision victims received their settlement amount after an average of 10.7 months, with more than half of the claimants receiving their dues within 6 months.

“Is hiring a lawyer necessary when I have insurance?”

Yes, because your insurance company doesn’t exactly have your best interests in mind. No matter whose fault the collision was, be sure that the insurance company will look for ways to minimize the ordeal you went through to avoid paying out what you deserve. That’s why having a car accident attorney handling the negotiations on your behalf is a smart move, as they have experience getting results for their clients.

Factors that affect auto accident settlements

  1. Extent of injuries

The severity of injury plays a massive role in determining how much a victim gets in a settlement. While it’s simple enough to conclude that more severe injuries would get more compensation, the reality is a little more complicated. That’s because not all injuries are immediately visible, so you have to factor in the cost of future medical bills and mental distress.

While you alone may think a certain amount as settlement is acceptable, the future costs might prove you otherwise. A qualified lawyer would usually have a team of medical experts who will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and, as a result, a fair settlement amount to be claimed.

  1. Insurance policy limits

Insurance carriers pay out compensation to the victims when it is proved that the policyholder is at fault. However, every insurance comes with a coverage limit, and if your damages exceed the amount covered by the policy, the insurer will not pay the additional amount. If the other driver was at fault, you might try to recover additional expenses from them directly, but they may not have the means to pay up.

  1. Liability

If it’s clear whose fault the accident was, the insurer will likely pay the victim an appropriate amount as a settlement to avoid dealing with a lawsuit. However, if the fault cannot be ascertained, the settlement amount for both parties might be much lower in comparison. In some cases, the insurance company might even try not to pay any settlement. In such a case, your personal injury lawyer would be able to reopen negotiations.

  1. Laws of the state

In the US, states are divided into “no-fault states” and “fault states”. In the former, drivers must contact their own insurance carrier to pay for the damages. If the coverage is exhausted, they may seek compensation from the other party’s insurance provider. In fault states, the driver who caused the collision will be held accountable for the losses. In these states, even a relatively minor crash may lead to more significant settlement claims that need to be paid by the at-fault party’s insurer.

What is a good car crash settlement offer?

No matter what you’ve read or heard before, it’s important to pursue every case with an open mind. A reasonable car accident settlement is one that completely covers your medical bills, emotional trauma, damage to property, and lost wages due to time off from work. If you’ve been severely injured and it’s happened in a way that may impact your working ability, then the settlement amount should be even higher.

A car crash can be devastating enough to change the trajectory of your whole life. So it’s vital to hire an experienced lawyer to assess the damages, evaluate the settlement offer, and advise you if it’s reasonable.

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