How Much Should I Expect From My Car Accident Settlement?

Updated October, 2020
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Most people receive a car settlement between $14,000-$28,000. The exact amount depends on your insurance and some other factors. However, you're able to get a rough idea by adding your medical expenses, care expenses, and lost wages and multiplying that by 3.

What is a car accident settlement?

A car accident is a very scary experience. If you've been injured and the other driver was at fault, you may receive a settlement to pay for your bills and car expenses.

There isn't an exact formula for calculating a car accident settlement. If you only sustained damage to your car, you'll usually be covered by your policy terms.

Pain and suffering are only compensated if you've been severely injured. For this reason, it's important to be examined by a doctor immediately, even if you don't think that you've been hurt.

How does a car accident affect my life?

Depending on the severity of the accident, there could be profound effects that follow you now and into the future.

Consider things like car damages, or needing to buy a new vehicle entirely. Don't forget medical expenses for immediate injuries and more permanent damages. Of course, make sure to include any lost wages.

The cost of psychiatric care for any mental damages sustained from the ordeal is important to take into account as well. Some of these are hard to put a number on but are important to keep in mind.

Some mental damages include:

  • Embarrassment, shame, and humiliation
  • Depression
  • Disfiguring injuries, such as the loss of a limb
  • Pain and suffering

How is a settlement amount determined?

It's hard to know an exact settlement number to expect due to every insurance provider being different. However, you're able to get a rough estimate by using the below formula:

  • Medical bills + Car repairs + Lost Wages x 3 = Settlement

Insurance providers look at the following factors when determining your eligibility for a settlement. Review these factors and make sure to save all receipts and expenses associated with your accident.

Insurance

The type of insurance you have is a major factor in how your settlement is determined. Some states offer Full Tort and Limited Tort insurance options, which state whether economic and non-economic damages are covered.

Positive impacts from your insurance:

  • Both parties are considered liable in your accident. Luckily, each person has an insurance policy so that both parties can receive compensation for any damages.
  • You or the other driver involved had more than the minimum amount of insurance, and you have additional medical coverage to help pay for expenses.

Negative impacts of your insurance:

  • You didn't have uninsured/under-insured coverage on your auto policy, and the at-fault driver didn't have sufficient coverage.
  • You were at fault and are uninsured or under-insured.

Proving liability

To have a successful car accident settlement, you have to prove the other person is at fault and liable for the damages caused.

Ways to establish liability are:

  • The at-fault driver failed to drive in a generally safe and lawful manner.
  • The other driver's failure to drive appropriately caused the accident and you to sustain damages, medical expenses, and miss work.

Medical expenses

Proving your medical expenses is more than showing receipts. Some things that may hurt your case for medical expenses are:

  • Never refuse medical treatment when offered after an accident or delay getting medical treatment shortly after an accident. If you do, the insurance company may claim that you didn't have any injuries since you refused treatment.
  • If you have any pre-existing injuries, discuss them with your attorney right away. Some insurance companies try to dispel your injuries by claiming they're related to your pre-existing injuries. If your attorney knows, they're able to prepare to rebuff this argument.

Lost wages

Lost wages are one of the easiest things to prove. Count days that you were unable to attend work, including work time missed for medical appointments.

Property damages

Your car most likely sustained moderate to severe damage in the accident. Include any expenses for repairs in your settlement request.

Other out-of-pocket expenses

Additional claim expenses in settlement negotiations include:

  • Car rental
  • Getting you to and from doctor's appointments
  • The cost of modifications to your home if you use a wheelchair due to your injuries
  • The cost of hiring some help for your home if you can't do them because of your injuries

The impact on your life

As discussed above, there could be unforeseen effects that follow you past the accident, well into your life. Although it's hard to put on a number on non-economical damages, it's important to keep these under consideration. Therapy and medications for anxiety, depression, and other disorders are expensive and should be included in your settlement.

Is my insurance good enough to protect me in an accident?

If you're not sure, consider comparing different insurance providers to your own to find out who's able to provide you with the level of protection you need. Don't get caught on unprepared in the life-altering car accident.

Try our easy insurance comparing tool and receive quotes, instantly!

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