Learn more about the average value of a car accident settlement and the typical steps in a car accident lawsuit

An average car accident settlement will be reached without having to go to trial. After you have been in the accident there are two potential insurance companies that you will be able to go after. You will either go for the defendant’s insurance company, or your own company.

If the accident was your fault then your insurance company will cover the repair of your vehicle, but medical bills are not covered.

However, if the accident is the fault of the other driver then you will seek compensation for medical treatment and other damages by going after their insurance policy. The amount you can receive for a car accident settlement is linked to the policy.

The maximum amount you will be able to receive for your car accident settlement is the policy limit that the at fault driver has.

If the driver doesn’t have insurance, then you can use your underinsured (UM) or uninsured (UIM) insurance. According to Forbes, the average UM claim payout is $29,825.

The average car accident settlement is based heavily on the severity of the injuries. If you have some form of serious injury your car accident lawyer will be able to get you more than if it was just property damage. We’ll go into more depth below.

It all depends on how much the insurance companies are willing to offer, whether or not you have a personal injury lawyer, and what kind of damages you can seek compensation for.

If you’re reading this article and in need of funding on your car accident claim, check out our resource for plaintiffs in need of car accident lawsuit loans.

What is the average car accident settlement?

There is no average amount for how much a car accident settlement will be. Generally, the average settlement ranges between $3,000 and $75,000. More than half of the participants in a NOLO research article received between 3,000 and 25,000. 10% of the pool received between $25,000 and $75,000. It’s interesting to note that while 16% of the individuals received more than 75k in compensation, 16% also received less than 3k in their settlement for a car accident.

As you can see there is a very large range for what the settlement amount for a car accident will be. A car accident settlement can be as low as a few hundred dollars, to over 100k.

The more severe your injuries the more likely you will receive a larger settlement.

For instance, someone who was extremely active, will receive a larger settlement if they became paraplegic as the result of an accident than if they broke a toe. Severity of injuries matters and will pay a large role in determining how much your settlement will be worth.

If a person has no pre-existing conditions, and a car accident causes them to incur medical bills that are in the 100Ks they will receive more in a potential settlement from a car accident than someone who has medical bills that are a few hundred dollars.

Hiring a (good) personal injury attorney leads to a higher settlement

On average, an individual who had a personal injury lawyer saw a higher settlement amount than someone who reached a car accident settlement on their own. This is because in order to reach a personal injury settlement, an person has to go up against insurance companies. While it is perfectly legal to do so, there are more pros than cons to higher a personal injury lawyer for your car accident claim.

Individuals who had an attorney fight their personal injury claim saw an average car accident settlement amount of 77,600. This is much higher than the average settlement of someone who fought their personal injury claim without a lawyer.

A car accident lawyer will know how to better negotiate any settlement offers that the insurance company offers. Typically the car accident lawyer was able to negotiate an additional 30k for the personal injury settlement. In order to ensure you are getting the most from your personal injury claim, we highly suggest you get a car accident lawyer. Even after attorney fees and other expenses, (medical treatment/ medical bills) clients saw a higher net amount from their personal injury settlement.

How long on average do car accident claims take to settle?

As stated in a NOLO research article, it took an average of 11.4 months or car accident claims to settle. Resolving a case quickly does not mean that you will get the settlement that you want. NOLO stated the breakdown as such: Claims that settled in 6.8 months did not receive any financial compensation. However cases that settled within 10.8 months received monetary compensation.

There are always outliers in any research. Some cases may take years to settle, while some may settle in 3 or 4 months. There isn’t a standard for how long a car accident claim will take. Resolution happens on a case by case basis. It is safe to assume that if you have been in a car accident, your personal injury case will take a long time. This is especially true if you want settlement amounts that will cover all of your injuries.

What aspects determine your settlement?

There are multiple factors that go into determining what the value of the settlement for a car accident will be. Use this settlement value calculator to determine the estimated value of your personal injury claim.

These factors determine settlement value:

  • Medical bills and treatment – your settlement will include compensation for medical bills accrued due to your injuries.
  • Property damages – any damage done to the vehicle
  • Loss of income – loss of any income due to injuries. This includes both missed work due to your injury and treatment and any future loss of income as a result of permanent injury.
  • Estimated future medical expenses – if you will require treatment in the future, your recoverable damages may include future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering – a multiplier between 1.5 and 5 to further compensate for the impact of your injuries

These are known as damages. The higher the number for damages, the more you will receive in your settlement for a car accident. Damages are typically calculated by experts who can accurately discern how much your injuries have and will continue, to affect your life.

Some things cannot be quantified by a number. This includes mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Therefore, the physical damages (medical bills, lost wages, property damages etc) are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 to account for these mental grievances.

What is the timeline of a car accident?

Most car accidents will settle before they reach trial. Here is a timeline of events that would lead up to a trial, if your case required one:

  • Accident / injury – the car accident that is due to the other driver. After an accident seek medical attention immediately. Not every injury is apparent at once.
  • Hire a lawyer – after you have done research in your area, find a good lawyer
  • Seek and complete medical treatment – seek as much medical treatment as you need to get better. If you cannot afford the treatment have your attorney write a letter of protection or seek out medical funding.
  • Your attorney sends a demand – your attorney will send out a demand letter stating the amount you are asking for, the reason why, and how the other party was responsible.
  • Negotiations – this is typically where cases are settled. Your attorney and an insurance adjuster will negotiate what they believe is fair for your settlement. You can either agree to the amount or refuse.
  • Personal injury lawsuit – if negotiations failed then your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the defendants.
  • Discovery, depositions and more – after the lawsuit is filed, each side has time to exchange information. This includes documents, information and depositions of any involved parties.
  • Trial – during the trial you will stand before a judge and jurors. At the end of the trial there is a verdict which determines whether you win the case and how much compensation you are entitled to.

If you would like more information about the chronology of a lawsuit, you can visit our guide.

How much pre-settlement funding would I qualify for?

The amount of pre-settlement funding you qualify for is determined by the amount of damages you have. Generally the greater the damages the more in compensation that you are entitled to.

This is because pre-settlement funding will advance about 10 – 15% of your potential settlement. Someone who is paralyzed as the result of an accident will have a bigger pay out then someone who has whiplash. Therefore, they will have a larger pool to draw from when they apply for legal funding.

However, here at Uplift we understand that life is difficult and that things happen. We will always try to get our clients the amount of funding they need in order to make ends-meet.