Average Injury Settlement Amounts You Can Expect After a Car Accident

These sample car accident injury settlement values for different scenarios can help you know what to expect as you navigate your own case.

Modern life is difficult enough without car crashes. An auto accident can leave you without transportation and with a serious injury.

If you are faced with this situation, the last thing you want is a long legal battle. The prospect of months, or even years, in a civil lawsuit is not appealing for anyone.

Your thoughts may turn to settlement. In the United States legal system, 97% of legal cases are settled or dismissed without a trial. Statistically speaking, you are very likely to end up settling your injury case. So, what kind of personal injury settlement can you expect in your case?

The value of your accident claim depends on many factors. The at-fault party’s insurance company will always offer a higher payout to settle certain types of injuries. How you and your attorney present your case can also make a big difference in the settlement offer.

Read on for more information about different kinds of injuries. This article will also discuss things to consider when calculating the value of your car accident claim and what kinds of cases have higher settlement values.

No Visible Injuries: Lower Settlement Amount

Man feeling pain in the shoulder at the gym

Not all serious injuries can be seen with the naked eye. Soft-tissue injuries include whiplash, tendonitis, and bursitis.

Soft-tissue injuries can be painful and need extensive medical treatment. But insurance companies are not as impressed by injuries that cannot be easily seen.

More serious injuries causing severe disability or disfigurement get attention. They command attention in ways soft tissue injuries cannot. The reason for this is simple. Insurance companies in personal injury cases are usually trying to avoid a lawsuit.

Obvious external injuries that can be seen and understood by a jury present more risk. Juries sympathize more easily with someone whose injury they can see. A sympathetic jury can force the insurance company to pay out a hefty judgment.

For example, let’s say that you were rear-ended while going to work. As a result of the crash, you hurt your shoulder and now suffer from chronic bursitis. This condition may cause you constant pain. You may even be in physical therapy every week. But because it’s difficult for a jury to see your injury, any potential judgment will likely be smaller.

Your soft-tissue injury will be worth more with evidence of early and consistent medical treatment for your condition. The money you pay for treatment makes up part of your economic damages. This includes medical bills, physical therapy bills, and other medical expenses. It also includes other non-medical costs.

Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are difficult to show with soft-tissue injuries. For these, you must find a way to show your injury to the insurance company.

If a jury would recommend a smaller award for your injury, the insurance adjuster will offer even less. Less serious soft-tissue injuries like whiplash can be worth around $10,000. But a herniated disc, which is more complicated, could get $250,000 or more.

Brain Injuries: Larger Settlement Amount

Two doctors discussing MRI of the brain

Traumatic brain injury is a serious condition that can be caused by the impact of an automobile accident. Brain injuries can take a variety of forms.

A concussion, or bruising of the brain, can cause loss of consciousness and confusion. More serious injuries include skull fractures, hematoma (blood clots), and more.

Injuries like these command more settlement value for a few reasons. First, medical treatment for a brain injury is typically more expensive than treatment for other kinds of injuries. The brain is a delicate organ. Treatment is complicated, and the expense for traumatic brain injuries can get quite high.

Brain injuries also cause other types of economic damage. The most extreme cases of traumatic brain injury can leave the car accident victim severely disabled. A person may be unable to return to work. They could have their lifetime earning capacity reduced or even completely taken away.

A settlement for traumatic brain injury must account for any lost earning capacity. In extreme cases, an injured person may not be able to work for the rest of their life. The amount of money they would have made for the rest of their natural life then becomes a part of their economic damages.

Economic damages are high for traumatic brain injury cases. But don’t forget that the non-economic damages are also severe. Things like a loss of cognitive ability or even sight can ruin a person’s enjoyment of life. Unlike with soft tissue damage, a jury would certainly understand the impact of that loss of enjoyment.

An insurance company would thus pay out a significant amount of non-economic damages to avoid having a traumatic brain injury case brought before a jury.

All personal injury cases are fact-specific, and brain injury cases are no different. Less serious traumatic brain injury cases have been settled for low six figures (around $100,000-$400,000). More serious death and disability cases have settled in the millions of dollars.

Include Property Damage In Your Settlement

Damaged gray car in a road accident

While the most important part of any injury claim is making yourself whole after the injury, you must not overlook another key part of your claim.

The damage to your vehicle can range anywhere from minor repairs to having to buy a new car because your old one was completely destroyed. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy should cover this damage.

This part of a claim is even more important when your personal injury is not as serious.

Even a minor impact may render your car inoperable or unsafe. The loss of a car can still affect your ability to support yourself and earn a living. It should thus be an early and frequent part of any conversation with your car accident lawyer and insurance adjuster.

It is unlikely that an insurance company will offer you the full value of your car in a settlement, particularly if you are settling before filing a lawsuit. You can recover at least a few thousand dollars damage to your vehicle.

In the event that you had other personal or real property that was damaged in the car crash, you can also claim the value of that property as well.

Get a Fair Settlement for Your Personal Injury Claim

After you have been injured in a car crash, it’s important to be fully compensated. You also need to get back to normal as soon as you can. Know your prognosis and be realistic about what you can reasonably expect from a settlement. As a rule of thumb, less obvious and less serious injuries will command less money.

You should never discount the value of having a car accident attorney on your side. The fact of merely having an attorney can sometimes push insurance companies to offer more money to settle a case. And if your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf, that fact can also create more settlement value for you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, it’s important to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney in your state as soon as possible. You can obtain a free consultation and case evaluation to get more specific information on your car accident case and settlement prospects.

Matthew Carter, Esq. has been a licensed attorney since 2004. He’s admitted to practice law in California and Nevada, where he was awarded the Martindale.com rating of AV – Preeminent. Matthew has successfully handled a variety of personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as trials, appeals, and evidentiary hearings throughout state and federal... Read More >>