If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re likely facing a stack of bills, including car repairs and medical care. You may be unable to work or return to work for an extended period. Naturally, the question of how much money you can expect from a car accident settlement is at the top of your mind. Unfortunately, there’s no way we can blindly give you a dollar amount because car accident settlements have many variables to them. There is no “average” or typical car accident settlement amount. Each one has a unique set of facts surrounding fault, and each varies greatly regarding the injuries and “damages” they cause. So, there is no “average settlement for car accidents,” either.
Depending on the facts unique to your accident and assuming the other driver was at fault, you might receive a settlement ranging from a few thousand dollars to well over a million. Without first knowing the details of your case, we cannot tell you where in this range your settlement is likely to fall. However, at Tribeca Lawsuit Loans, we can explain the variables involved in settlements from car accidents to give you a better idea. We can also advise you on how to get the best settlement possible, even when you need financial support in the meantime.
What is a Car Accident Settlement?
A car accident settlement is an out-of-court agreement by the at-fault driver, their insurance company (or even your own insurance company), and their attorney to pay you financial compensation for the damages, pain, and suffering you experience as the result of the car accident. The settlement, or monetary award, should reflect what you would have received had you taken the case to court. Once you accept the offered settlement, your case is closed.
A car accident settlement does not require a court trial.
The goal of a car accident settlement is twofold:
- Free up the court to tackle more complex cases.
- Compensate you, the damaged party, for the physical, financial, mental, and emotional losses you have suffered.
A car accident can result in catastrophic injuries, whose repercussions can last a lifetime.
What Damages Do Settlements From Car Accidents Cover?
The repercussions of a car accident can be devastating. In addition to the damage to your car, you may suffer from a wide range of injuries that can run up exorbitant medical bills, impair your ability to work, and require long-term or even life-long care. While many people walk away from car accidents, some aren’t so lucky. Determining the severity of your physical injuries is a crucial part of determining the settlement from the car accident.
If you have suffered damages relating to a car accident and the other party is at fault, you are entitled to compensation for those damages.
To receive a settlement from a car accident, you must first enumerate and quantify the damages you suffered. Legal damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include anything that you had to pay money for. In the case of a car accident, economic damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Surgical care
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Temporary transportation
- Property damage
Non-economic damages that might result from a car accident include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages (rare in the case of a car accident due to negligence)
In some cases, these categories may overlap or blur. And in others, the same injury may be weighted differently for one person than the next. For example, if a car accident leaves you with significant scarring of your leg above the knee, how serious is this if you retain full use of your leg? The answer would be very different for a model than for a welder, and it would impact how much to expect from the car accident settlement. Successfully making a case for your damages and how severely they affect you is best done by an attorney.
The car accident settlement can cover all of the damages above, both economic and non-economic. The amount of the settlement from a car accident depends on the severity of the injuries and other damages you suffer.
Car Accidents and Injuries That Result in Large Settlements
While we cannot describe an average settlement for a car crash because the facts of each case vary so widely, we can address the types of car accidents and resulting injuries that typically lead to larger settlements.
Common types of car crashes that lead to severe injuries, and therefore large settlements, include:
- High-speed collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Broadside collisions (T-bones)
- Rear-end collisions
The primary factor determining the size of a settlement from a car accident is the severity of your injuries. Severe injuries resulting from car accidents are all too common. The injuries most likely to result in a larger settlement include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe whiplash
- Serious concussion
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
Even if you don’t suffer the severe injuries listed above, your damages will include variables to be addressed in the negotiations for your car accident settlement, including:
- Length of hospital stay
- Cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments
- Recovery time
- Interruptions in your ability to work
- Rehabilitative therapy needed
Every financial expense and hardship due to the accident should be included in the settlement negotiations.
Who Pays the Settlement From a Car Accident?
If you have been injured in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays the settlement. While this is true, it is seldom so easy! If the driver is uninsured or if the maximum payments allowed by their insurance policy are lower than your total damages, you will have to look elsewhere for the settlement funds. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured, other possible sources for car accident settlements include:
- Your own insurer, if you have uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage.
- The at-fault driver’s personal assets (requires a lawsuit).
- Another party responsible for the crash (e.g. the manufacturer of a defective car part or the party at fault for a driving hazard).
While having an attorney negotiate your car accident settlement is usually best, it is essential when the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover your losses.
Since I’m Fully Insured, I’ll Get a Good Settlement, Right?
Even if you and the at-fault driver are fully insured, with insurance payment maximums exceeding your damages, getting your full damages covered is likely to be a struggle. It’s in the insurance company’s best interest that your claims be denied or low-balled — it’s simple economics — and the insurance company’s investigators are fully aware of this.
The claim adjuster’s job is to settle your claim for as little money as you will accept.
In discounting your claim and the settlement from your car accident, the claim adjuster — the insurance agent who investigates your claim — may dispute the severity of your injuries, the necessity of your medical care and therapy, and the time you needed to take off from work. Furthermore, the insurance company is likely to drag out the settlement negotiations, hoping your financial circumstances force you to settle for far less than your claim is worth.
Should an Attorney Negotiate Your Settlement From a Car Accident?
The nature of the damages suffered due to a car accident can be complicated, and there are many issues you might fail to consider when totaling up your damages. A car accident attorney will know how best to evaluate the totality of your current and future damages and pressure the insurance company to investigate your claim and compensate you fully. Studies consistently show that claimants represented by an attorney secure far larger compensation.
How to Maximize the Settlement From a Car Accident
There are several steps you can take to get a better settlement from a car accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Even if you aren’t bleeding and have no broken bones, a complete medical examination is necessary to determine related injuries. Some conditions, like a punctured lung or a concussion, may initially show no symptoms.
- Contact a car accident attorney. Don’t wait to bring an attorney on board. There’s a statute of limitations on the time you have to submit your claim for a car accident settlement.
- Consider legal lending to cover your immediate expenses. Legal lending, like car accident loans, act as a cash advance on your future settlement, giving you the money you need to pay your current bills.
At Tribeca Lawsuit Loans, we provide legal lending for car accidents and other forms of personal injury cases, among many others. Lawsuit loans help you pay your current bills while you wait for your settlement. This funding counteracts the insurance company’s attempt to slow-walk your negotiation and force you to accept a lower compensation than you deserve.
[RELATED] What Is a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you’ve been in a car accident and are pursuing a settlement with the aid of an attorney, we can help you meet your expenses while you fight for just compensation. Provide us with information about your accident and your attorney’s contact information on our Apply Now page. We’ll discuss your case with your attorney, outline how much you can expect to receive from your car accident settlement, and offer you a lawsuit loan.
Applying for legal funding is free, with no obligations. We welcome your questions! Please contact us by phone at (866) 388-2288 or online. We’re here to help you get the settlement from your car accident that you deserve.