If you have the misfortune to be involved in an auto accident, working with a car accident lawyer will likely help you obtain a higher offer to settle from the insurance company than you would if you were unrepresented.
You might be wondering how much to expect from a car accident settlement, and there are many variables that can impact your eventual settlement amount.
Compensation for medical bills and car repairs is straightforward to evaluate, and you can expect to be reimbursed the amounts that you paid.
When it comes to pain and suffering, your attorney will guide you toward negotiating the strongest possible settlement for this component of your claim.
The defendant’s insurance company typically leads with an offer of the lowest acceptable amount. Insurers make the bulk of their income and profits from lowballing. The claims adjuster may attempt to prove that you had unnecessary surgery or treatment. The adjuster could also try saying you could manage to work.
You may not always need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve for whiplash or other minor auto injuries. Often, the insurance company and your attorney will arrive at a reasonable agreement before taking the matter to court.
Read on to discover how much you can expect to receive when your settlement check lands. If you need funds before your car accident case settles, Uplift Legal Funding’s car accident loans can help.
How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement?
If you are involved in an auto accident, you might be able to recover compensation for damages and injury from your insurance or from the other party’s coverage.
As long as you have collision coverage, your insurance carrier will pay a fixed amount to repair your vehicle, even if you were responsible for the crash. If the cost of repairs is greater than the car’s value, the insurer might consider your vehicle totaled. In this event, you get a lump sum amounting to the car’s current worth.
What happens if the negligence of another driver caused the wreck? If this happens, you should get compensation for damages, losses, and pain and suffering from the other party’s insurance provider.
You are likely to receive an initial offer from the insurer that’s substantially lower than you expected. Consider this the insurance company’s opening position, and one you can hopefully improve upon with the help of your attorney.
Average Auto Accident Settlement Amounts
The unique nature of each case makes it challenging to calculate average settlements.
That said, there is a simple framework for most car accident scenarios, as follows:
- Minor injuries: For whiplash, minor soft-tissue damage, and other minor injuries, settlements are typically between $10,000 and $25,000.
- Long-lasting injuries: Injuries requiring physical therapy or surgery typically lead to settlements between $50,000 and $75,000.
- Spinal injuries: Spinal injuries not involving paralysis usually lead to settlements from $75,000 to $100,000.
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries triggering loss of brain function, cognitive impairment, and requiring surgery lead to settlements from $100,000 to $250,000.
Injuries like paralysis or severe brain damage can be debilitating. When daily assistance is required after a car accident, and injuries are this severe, settlements often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions.
Most insurance policies have limits, though. Even if the other driver has insurance, the carrier may not reimburse you the full amount due because of a policy limit. If you find yourself still out of pocket because of insurance policy limits, you need to pursue the other person directly if you want to seek the other part of the settlement not covered by insurance.
Pain and suffering is a descriptor for the emotional distress triggered by the injuries caused in an accident.
The following components all fall under the umbrella of pain and suffering:
- Emotional or psychological conditions (insomnia, anxiety, depression)
- Temporary physical pain
- Long-lasting physical pain
- Disabilities (physical limitations
The simplest approach to calculating the pain and suffering component of a car accident claim is as follows:
Total your bills in these areas deemed special damages:
- Vehicle damage
- Lost wages
- Therapy bills
- Medical expenses
Your personal pain and suffering caused by the accident are deemed general damages.
When you are calculating the pain and suffering component of your settlement, you need to consider under which category of pain and suffering yours falls:
- Current pain and suffering
- Current / future pain and suffering
The first of these categories accounts for pain and suffering to the point where medical treatment is concluded. The second category encompasses the future as well as the present.
For insurance adjusters and lawyers, the multiple method allows them to determine your pain and suffering settlement amount. Using this method, the amount of your special damages is multiplied up to 5 times. The multiple depends entirely on the gravity of your case. Whiplash cases often involve multipliers from 1 to 3, while severe injuries like brain damage are multiplied by 5 times, sometimes even more.
With the right legal representation, you should recover all the compensation you deserve.
Factors That Affect How Much Your Car Accident Settlement Is Worth
How much you receive for a car accident settlement depends on many variables, including:
- Who or what was harmed in the wreck
- Whether you sustained physical injuries, or the damage was confined solely to the vehicle
- Any subsequent pain and suffering caused by the accident
In some cases, you receive a settlement limited to the cost of the damage to your vehicle, while in others you could gain a higher settlement due to time off work injured or long-lasting injuries causing pain and suffering.
Whatever the variables, you should maximize your final settlement amount if you retain an experienced car accident attorney.