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Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
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Truck Accidents
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Average Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Typical car accident lawsuit settlement amounts and the car accident settlement process explained.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Average Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Amounts and the Typical Car Accident Settlement Process [Guide]

On this page, we’ll discuss average car accident lawsuit settlement amounts, what to do after you’ve been in a car accident, who qualifies to file a car accident lawsuit, and much more.

Intro to Average Settlement Amounts in Car Accident Lawsuits

Car accidents can result in various injuries and damages, leading to complex legal processes and potential compensation claims.

While the outcome of any car accident lawsuit depends on numerous factors — including the specific circumstances of the accident, the severity of injuries, and the skills of your attorney — it’s essential to have a general understanding of average settlement amounts for different types of car accident cases.

In this article, our car accident lawyers will discuss the various types of car accident lawsuits and provide estimated settlement ranges based on past cases.

We’re going to help you understand the various factors that affect the settlement amount to help you set expectations.

Average Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement; Car Accident Settlement Amounts; Car Accident Lawsuit
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If you or a loved one believe that you have a car accident claim, contact us today.

We will discuss your situation and determine if this legal recourse is the plan of action.

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Table of Contents
Average Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement; Car Accident Settlement Amounts; Car Accident Lawsuit

Average Car Accident Settlement: What Should You Expect?

When considering a car accident settlement, it’s essential to have realistic expectations.

The average settlement amount can provide a general idea of what to anticipate, but keep in mind that every case is unique.

The average compensation for car accident victims who did not experience injuries is over $15,000.

Those who suffered injuries received an average of almost $30,000.

Since these values are averages, victims may stand to get a lower or higher amount.

The following factors can affect the typical car accident settlement:

  • Severity of injuries and severity of car accident
  • Determined liability and fault
  • Insurance coverage
  • Elements of negligence or recklessness
  • Skill of legal representation

Severity of Injuries/Crash

The severity of injuries or the extent of the accident are often the most significant factors when it comes to determining the settlement amount.

More severe injuries typically result in higher settlement payouts because of damages like medical bills, required surgeries, rehabilitation, and long-term disability.

Liability and Fault

Determining who was at fault for the accident is crucial.

If one party is clearly liable, they may be responsible for a larger portion of the settlement.

In cases of shared fault, settlement amounts can be adjusted accordingly based on the percentage of liability assigned to each party.

Insurance Coverage

The insurance policies of the parties involved play a significant role.

Higher insurance coverage limits can lead to larger settlements as there is more potential compensation available.

Conversely, limited insurance coverage may cap the settlement amount.

Negligence or Recklessness

If the at-fault driver’s behavior is found to be particularly reckless or egregious, this may lead to higher settlement offers as a punitive measure.

Some examples of reckless behavior are drinking under the influence and texting while driving.

Legal Representation

Having an experienced personal injury attorney or car accident lawyer can make a significant difference in settlement negotiations.

Skilled lawyers, like our team, can effectively advocate for your rights and negotiate for a fair and just settlement.

Types of Car Accident Lawsuits and Average Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Car accident lawsuits can vary significantly, and the compensation values can range from modest to substantial.

To give average car accident settlement amounts, we classify car accidents into three categories:

  • Minor car accidents
  • Major car accidents
  • Catastrophic car accidents

These three categories play a major part in determining car accident settlement amounts.

Minor Accidents and Injuries

Minor car accidents typically involve low-speed collisions and result in minor injuries.

Based on past lawsuits, a court or insurance company may award a victim between $3,000 to $15,000 for a claim under this classification.

Examples of Minor Car Accidents and Resulting Injuries:

  • Low-Speed Collisions: Minor accidents often occur at low speeds, such as rear-end collisions in slow-moving traffic or parking lot accidents.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: In these cases, injuries are usually minor and may include soft tissue injuries like whiplash, strains, and sprains. These injuries may cause discomfort but often heal relatively quickly.
  • Minimal Property Damage: Minor accidents typically result in minor property damage to the vehicles involved. This can include minor dents, scratches, or bumper damage.
  • Short Recovery Period: Victims of minor accidents often experience a relatively short recovery period. They may receive medical treatment such as physical therapy or chiropractic care but are not likely to require extensive or long-term medical attention.

Major Accidents and Injuries

These cases involve car accidents with more severe consequences, including significant injuries and damages.

Victims may be able to secure anywhere between $50,000 to over $1 million in a major car accident case with proper legal representation

Injuries in major car accidents can require costs for rehabilitation, lost wages, and temporary disability.

Examples of Major Car Accidents and Resulting Injuries:

  • High-Speed Collisions: Major accidents often involve high-speed collisions on highways or busy roads, increasing the severity of the impact.
  • Severe Injuries: In a major car accident, you may suffer serious injuries such as:
    • Broken bones
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
    • Internal organ damage
    • Other serious medical conditions
  • Extended Medical Treatment: Victims of major accidents may face long-term or even lifelong medical treatment, including surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing therapies. In some cases, the incident may leave victims with permanent disabilities.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: Major accidents can result in a significant loss of quality of life due to pain, disability, and the inability to engage in activities that the victim previously enjoyed.

Catastrophic Accidents, Injuries, and Wrongful Death

Catastrophic accidents result in life-altering injuries or, in the worst cases, wrongful death.

In many catastrophic car accident cases, victims suffer permanent disability that diminishes their quality of life.

From a few car accident settlement examples, we’ve estimated that the settlement payout for catastrophic injuries can range from $100,000 to $2 million or more depending on case-specific circumstances and efforts of legal representation.

Victims and family members of victims in catastrophic car accidents are encouraged to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer for advice.

Examples of Injuries and Losses in Catastrophic Car Accidents Include:

  • Severe and Permanent Injuries: Catastrophic accidents typically result in injuries that are both severe and permanent, having life-altering consequences for the victim. Severe injuries could include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, amputations, permanent disability, and more.
  • Permanent Disability: A disastrous car accident can leave victims with permanent disabilities that profoundly affect their daily lives. Victims may require wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids to move around. In some cases, victims become dependent on caregivers for assistance with basic activities like dressing, bathing, and eating. This loss of independence is a significant emotional and psychological challenge.
  • Wrongful Death: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 42,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2022. In catastrophic accidents that result in fatalities, surviving family members may have the legal option to file wrongful death lawsuits. Compensation can help cover funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of a loved one caused by the accident.

The Typical Car Accident Settlement Process: What To Expect When Filing a Car Accident Claim

Navigating a car accident claim can be a complex and multi-step process.

To help you set your expectations, we’ve shared the stages involved in pursuing a car accident claim, from hiring a personal injury lawyer to potential court proceedings.

Directly after a car crash, take the following steps:

  • Hire a personal injury attorney
  • Gather and retain evidence
  • Assess and calculate damages with the help of a personal injury law firm
  • Negotiations with the Insurance Company
  • Going to court (if necessary)

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the first and most crucial steps in the car accident claim process is hiring a personal injury lawyer.

An experienced car accident lawyer can provide invaluable assistance throughout your case:

  • Legal Guidance: Your attorney will guide you through the legal process, explaining your rights and options.
  • Investigation: They will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident, gathering evidence and identifying liable parties. In most cases, established law firms like ours have the resources and networks for an extremely thorough investigation process.
  • Negotiation Skills: A skilled attorney can negotiate with insurance companies and opposing parties to secure a fair settlement.
  • Lawsuit Filing: If necessary, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.

Gathering Evidence for a Car Accident Claim

Collecting evidence is a crucial step in the personal injury claim process.

This evidence will help establish the facts of the accident, determine liability, and support your claim for compensation.

Here are a few examples of what you can gather:

  1. Accident Reports: Obtain copies of accident reports filed by law enforcement, which detail the circumstances of the crash.
  2. Witness Statements: Gather statements from witnesses who can provide valuable accounts of the accident.
  3. Medical Records: Make sure to keep records of all medical treatment related to the accident, including hospital stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation.
  4. Photographs and Videos: After the accident, take photos and videos of the scene, vehicle damage, and your injuries if you are able.
  5. Personal Testimony: Produce a recollection of the events that led up to the car accident, and the events directly after, including insights on your pain and suffering, medical treatment, and more.

Assessing Damages in Car Accident Claims

You need a comprehensive assessment of damages to determine the compensation you may be entitled to.

There are a few types of damages classified into two subgroups: economic and non-economic damages.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help victims assess and calculate damages.

Economic damages relate to all economic losses associated with your injury claim, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Death benefits

Non-economic damages relate to all non-economic suffering related to your injury claim, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional damages
  • Loss of quality of life

Medical Expenses

Damages for medical expenses cover all costs related to your injuries, including doctor’s visits, surgeries, medications, and therapy.

This can also cover future medical expenses for treatments and procedures related to your injury.

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering are non-economic damages accounting for the physical and emotional pain, trauma, and suffering endured.

Since pain is difficult to quantify, we can calculate the amount using the multiplier or per diem method, which both take into account the value of other economic damages.

Lost Wages

If the accident caused you to miss work or affected your earning capacity, you may be compensated for lost wages.

In some cases, damages for diminished earning capacity can also be included in the car accident injury settlement.

Property Damage

You may be able to recover damages related to your vehicle or personal property.

Loss of Quality of Life

This compensation acknowledges the impact of the accident on your lifestyle and enjoyment of life.

The amount can increase depending on the severity of the injury.

For example, you can receive higher compensation for this damage if you suffered permanent injuries instead of temporary ones.

Death Benefits

In wrongful death cases, surviving family members can seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress.

Negotiations With the Insurance Company

Most car accident claims are resolved through negotiations with insurance companies.

Your attorney will engage in discussions to reach a fair settlement.

First, your attorney will send a demand letter outlining your damages and settlement expectations to the at-fault party’s insurance company.

You should expect counteroffers and negotiations as insurance adjusters assess your claim.

Once an agreement is reached, your attorney will assist in finalizing the settlement, including signing release forms.

Going to Court

In cases where negotiations fail to yield a satisfactory resolution, or when the other party refutes liability, your case may proceed to court.

This escalation will involve the following steps:

  1. Filing a Lawsuit: Your attorney will initiate a lawsuit, and the case will proceed through the legal system.
  2. Discovery: Both parties exchange information, evidence, and witness statements.
  3. Trial: If both parties still don’t reach a settlement, the case goes to trial. Both sides will present their arguments and evidence.
  4. Judgment: The court issues a judgment, determining who the at-fault driver is and the amount of compensation the victims can receive.

TorHoerman Law: Your Car Accident Attorneys

The car accident claim process can be intricate and time-consuming.

In addition, the process of assessing the damages can be complex.

For these reasons, having a skilled attorney by your side is essential.

Our team at TorHoerman Law will help you navigate these steps and increase your chances of securing fair compensation for your losses.

We’ve handled several auto accident and personal injury claims in the past, resulting in significant compensation awarded to victims.

Are you ready to begin the car accident settlement process?

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation and let us evaluate your case.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to learn immediately if you’re eligible to file a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the average settlement amount for car accident cases?

    The average compensation for car accident victims varies depending on several circumstances, including the injuries suffered, liability in the car accident, severity of the car accident, and more.

    Projected car accident settlement amounts for different tiers of accidents are as follows:

    • Minor car accidents: $3,000 to over $15,000
    • Major car accidents: $15,000 to over $500,000
    • Catastrophic accidents and wrongful death: $100,000 to over $1,000,000

    These settlement value projections are by no means a guarantee of compensation in your car accident case.

    These are merely estimations based on prior car accident settlements and litigation.

    Consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to get a better understanding of settlement projections in your claim.

  • How does the severity of the accident affect my settlement?

    The severity of injuries or the extent of the accident plays a significant role in determining the settlement amount.

    Generally, more severe injuries lead to higher compensation due to associated medical costs, surgeries, rehabilitation, and potential long-term disability.

  • How does determining liability or fault influence my car accident settlement?

    Establishing who was at fault is crucial.

    If one party is conclusively liable, they may bear a larger part or entirety of paying the settlement.

    In cases of shared fault, settlement amounts may be adjusted based on the percentage of liability allocated to each involved party.

  • What role does insurance coverage play in my settlement amount?

    Insurance policies of the parties involved can significantly impact the settlement.

    Higher insurance coverage limits might lead to larger settlements, while limited coverage might cap the settlement amount.

  • Why is legal representation essential for my car accident claim?

    An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the legal process, conduct thorough investigations, effectively negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court.

    The expertise of a car accident lawyer can significantly influence the outcome of your claim.

  • What types of damages can I expect to claim in a car accident lawsuit?

    Damages can be both economic (medical bills, lost wages, property damage) and non-economic (pain and suffering, loss of quality of life).

    The specific damages you can claim will depend on the specifics of your case, including the severity of injuries and the impact on your life.

  • If insurance negotiations don't result in a settlement, what's the next step?

    If negotiations with the insurance company don’t lead to a satisfactory resolution or the other party denies liability, your case might proceed to court.

    This process involves filing a lawsuit, exchanging evidence, potentially going to trial, and awaiting a court judgment.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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