What is a Typical Car Accident Settlement Amount? Well, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, in 2013 the average bodily injury car accident settlement was $15,443. In addition, the National Center for State Courts published data collected in 2001 from several counties throughout the United States, including Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, and Harris counties, that calculated the median jury award for motor vehicle accidents. The median jury award for motor vehicle accidents was $17,544. Unfortunately, these figures don’t tell us much. Since car accident injury settlements are so fact intensive, an average doesn’t provide much help in regard to what a particular case is worth. As discussed below, there are several factors that go into valuing a car accident injury settlement case. Only through experience can someone know how to value a car accident injury case properly. If you feel that the insurance company is undervaluing your case, it’s best to consult an experienced car accident attorney. Don’t Trust “Magic” Formulas or Online Settlement Calculators Many car accident injury victims will Google what a typical or average car accident settlement amount would be for their specific situation. This search will yield many results with websites claiming to give an exact calculation or formula to determine a typical settlement amount for a car accident injury case. Most common is the calculation of taking the dollar amount of the medical bills and lost wages of the injured victim and multiplying it by some arbitrary number (1.5-5) to arrive at a pain and suffering dollar amount, then adding the total amount of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering together. However, this is almost always inaccurate. Neither insurance adjusters nor Texas juries are instructed to use this method to calculate the value of any car accident injury settlement or award. This practice arose in the past from both insurance adjusters and personal injury attorneys “guesstimating” an amount of where an appropriate settlement amount would be for usually minor, soft tissue injuries (e.g., whiplash). The reality is there is no formula or calculator that can provide an actual car accident settlement amount. There are simply too many variables involved in each case to accurately calculate an average or typical car accident settlement amount. However, there are factors that you should know that can affect the value of your case, such as the amount of your “damages,” the calculation of pain and suffering, and other relevant factors. An overview of these points are discussed below, as well as real car accident injury case settlement examples from several different counties in Texas. Before delving further into the discussion of typical or average car accident settlement amounts, it’s important to know what exactly a “settlement” is. What is a Settlement? A settlement is an agreement between parties of a legal dispute which resolves the dispute prior to either filing a lawsuit or proceeding further after a lawsuit is filed. The parties usually agree to settle the underlying dispute for a dollar amount in exchange for releasing the liable party from any further liability. In the car accident context, the liable party’s insurance company would agree to pay the injured party a sum of money in order to release their insured from any further liability. The settlement amount will be an amount both parties feel is fair to settle without proceeding further in the dispute and avoiding further litigation expenses. Keep in mind, insurance companies are businesses with a main goal of maximizing profits. This means they will do their best to pay out as little as possible in settling claims. Depending on the facts of your case, accepting a settlement may make sense. However, there are situations where filing a lawsuit and going all the way to trial is necessary to achieve top dollar for your case. Most Important Factor in Determining Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts One of the most important factors in determining a typical car accident settlement amount is knowing what your “damages” are. Damages are a term of art in the law meaning the calculation of losses realized in a personal injury case. You must be able to prove damages in order to receive fair value for your car accident injury case. There are two main types of damages, including Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages, in addition to other sub-categories of Compensatory Damages which are broken down below. Compensatory Damages Compensatory Damages, also known as “actual damages,” are the monetary compensation that are awarded to an injured victim as a result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Compensatory damages are intended to put the injured party back to where they were before the accident and make them “whole.” Special Damages Special Damages or “Specials” are a type of compensatory damages that are quantifiable, such as past and future medical expenses, past lost wages and loss of earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses. You prove these damages by presenting evidence such as medical bills, paycheck stubs, W-2s, or simply a letter from your employer detailing the amount of lost time, your salary, your position at the company, and how many hours you usually work. Lost wages include the time you missed from work and weren’t paid, as well as sick time and vacation time used as a result of the accident. General Damages General Damages, also known as non-economic damages, are another type of compensatory damages that are difficult to quantify. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 41.001(12), non-economic damages include: Physical pain and suffering; Mental or emotional pain or anguish; Loss of consortium; Disfigurement; Physical impairment; Loss of companionship and society; Inconvenience; Loss of enjoyment of life; Injury to reputation; and All other nonpecuniary losses of any kind other than exemplary damages. Due to the difficulty in calculating General Damages such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment, insurance adjusters use software such as Colossus and Claims IQ to place a value on each car accident injury claim. Adjusters enter in...Read More
- Areas of Service
- Practice Areas
Posts by category
- Category: Information
- Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts
- Average Wrongful Death Settlement from Auto Accidents in Texas
- Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident?
- Rideshare Settlement Amounts: Average Settlements for Uber and Lyft
- I Was Hit by an Uninsured Motorist in Texas. What Now?
- I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver. What Am I Entitled To?
- How to Get Your Dallas County Police Reports Online
- How to Get San Antonio Police Reports
- How to Get Money from a Car Accident Without a Lawyer
- How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limit in Texas?
- How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury in Texas?
- How Do I Get My Harris County Accident Report?
- How Do I Get My Fort Worth Car Accident Report?
- Category: Car Accidents
- Category: Motorcycle Accidents
- Category: Wrongful Death