average settlement for car accident

There is not an exact formula that determines how much money you will get after an accident lawsuit because each case is different. However, there is way to determine an estimate of how much you can get.  The unknown factor is how much will you get for pain and suffering.  For the average settlement for a car accident, a rule of thumb people use is to assume 3 times the cost of your medical bills.

Since your insurance company pays for your medical bills and car repairs, pain and suffering is the only part of the settlement that will be determined by court.  To determine the exact amount, the judge looks at the type of injury diagnosed, the type of treatment, duration of treatment, pre-existing conditions, severity of the crash, and wage loss due to time spent in the hospital and rehab.

Your settlement will be larger if you were not at fault with the accident.  You should determine if the injuries cause by the accident will be permanent before you settle. No settlement will be offered or made until you are completely finished with your medical treatment. So when you speak with the insurance company, tell them you are still having medical treatment

 

Choosing a Lawyer

A lawyer will usually take 1/3 of your final settlement amount.   Make sure all his expenses are itemized, and save all your receipts and bills so you can give them to him.

The questions your lawyer will have for you are:

  • What kind of treatment did you have?  Was it just doctor visits?  Or was there also any physical therapy, diagnostic testing to screen for conditions, x-rays, etc.
  • How long was the treatment for?
  • How much did you have to pay out of pocket?
  • How much time did you miss from work?
  • Do you have any prior injuries to your affected area?

If you don’t use a lawyer, you can try to settle your bills with the insurance company.  But they will always try to low ball you since it’s their job to do it.   They may try to argue that your medical bills are too high because you received unnecessary treatment, or that you were healthy enough to go to work. However, if you followed your doctor’s recommendations for treatments and missed days of work, then you should be able to recover your medical bills and lost wages caused by the accident.

The amount of your settlement will vary depending on the severity of the injury.  Frank Jazlovietcki, an injured victim from Pennsylvania, was awarded $850,000, because his injuries did not allow him to perform his job properly.  This is a case where serious injuries were sustained, but your case in particular is probably worth more than you think.  Especially if you were not found at fault of the accident.

 If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to a compensation.  Call to get a free consultation with an attorney who has experience winning personal injury cases: 855-668-7450

If you wait too long after your car accident to make a claim, you may not be able to claim compensation for pain and suffering.  The sooner you make the claim, the higher your return will be, and the better chance you’ll have at winning your case in court.

 

How Much is Your Compensation?

To determine your accident settlement value, add together your medical bills, auto repair bills, income lost from not being able to work, cost of the car rental,  and pain and suffering.  Your insurance company can cover all related medical expenses, car repairs and income lost. The more difficult question to answer is, how much are you entitled to recover for your pain and suffering?

 

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering

The Multiplier Method
A common method for estimating these damages is to multiply your expenses for medical bills and income lost by an arbitrary multiple between 2 and 4.  For example, if you had a neck injury related to a car accident, your medical bills were $5,000, and you missed 2 weeks of work, which cost you $3,000, your expenses are $8,500. Depending on the other factors in the case, the accident settlement value of your claim is somewhere between $17,700 (2 times cost) and $34,000 (4 times cost).

Some factors that increase the multiplier are:

  • Whether there are any aggravating conditions in the accident, such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
  • The severity your injuries
  • The time of recovery
  • Whether the injury is permanent or just temporary

Take a common sense approach when you look at the case. If your out-of-pocket monetary expenses are high compared to the injuries, use a lower multiple.   An example of this is if you had to go to the emergency room, you received a lot of treatment, your medical bills were high, but you were treated for minor injuries.  On the other hand, if you had major injuries and your out-of-pocket expenses are low, use a higher multiple.

 

The “Per Diem” Method

Another way to determine your pain and suffering settlement is by giving it a per diem (per day) rate and adding it to your expenses.” Let’s use the example above. You had medical bills of $15,000 and a job-related income loss of $10,000, for a total of $25,000. Assume that you received treatment for a neck injury for three months, and you still had pain in your neck for two months after that. Using the per diem method, you assign an amount to each day that you suffered from your injuries.  In this case it would be 6 months.

When you are asked, how did calculate your pain and suffering number, use your actual income figures to account for damages of the time you were in active treatment.  Your reasoning is that dealing with your injury is at least as difficult as your regular job.   And it’s a valuation method you can use when your case goes to court.

In court, the multiplier method is not formally recognized. You can’t stand in front of a judge and tell him you want four times your expenses.   Judges will award you the settlement they deem fair and adequate for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Therefore, you can use the per diem to explain to a judge what you are claiming.

 

Putting the Pieces Together

The best way to evaluate your settlement value is to use both methods: multiple of expenses and per diem.  Then use common sense to determine what a reasonable number is for your pain and suffering claim.  As an example, fenders benders could be worth $500-$3000 and major accidents could be worth $50,000-$100,000.

 If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to a compensation.  Call to get a free consultation with an attorney who has experience winning personal injury cases: 855-668-7450

If you wait too long after your car accident to make a claim, you may not be able to claim compensation for pain and suffering.  The sooner you make the claim, the higher your return will be, and the better chance you’ll have at winning your case in court.

In short, winning a car accident claim will entitle you to a settlement that covers:

  • Your medical bills
  • Your auto repair bills
  • Your income loss from not being able to go to work
  • Your injury treatment bills for the duration of your treatment
  • Your pain and suffering from having to live with the discomfort of your injuries for the duration of your injury
  • Your pain and suffering from not being able to perform your job correctly due to your injuries

25 Responses to “What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?”

  1. Fedora Young says:

    I was in accident with my two kids we don’t go to doctor just the er can we still get pain and suffering. All bills came to 13,309

  2. My husband and I were in a car accident close to two years ago. We were rear-ended. I had more neck and upper back issues and my husband just had some muscle tenderness. He went to the doctor twice and the chiropractor twice. i went to doctor, chiropractor and physical therapist for an extended period of time but then had to stop for other unrelated medical reasons. Our total medical bills were about 5k (about 4,500 of that being mine) so I know getting a lawyer is kind of out the question since it is so little. Our insurance paid for all the medical bills. The man who hit us has the same insurance as we do. They called and offered my husband 1250 and me 5k. I just want to know if that is fair settlement? I would like to get more especially since I still experience numbness and tingling down both arms from the accident. (though from insurance standpoint it would be really difficult to prove). Anyway I was just someone could help me and let me know if they think it was a fair price. Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

    • I would like to add that I live in PA and this amount is strictly for pain and suffering and no days off work were missed due to the fact that my husband was off of work a few days anyway and i don’t work.

  3. I am in process do trying to settle a car accident. I was rear ended at a stoplight and had a whiplash and lower back injury. I am confused about how to calculate medical bills. Would I use medical bills that were paid out by my medical and auto insurance or just bills that I had to pay out of pocket? Thanks!

  4. Marvin Washington says:

    My wife and I were riving back from Dc headed to Florida around !!am bright sunny morning. as she goes into a mc donalds for coffee. I stand out car to stretch my legs. after about 45 min standing I was suddenly back up on .while standing in parking lot. had to stay over nite in SC hospital and been seeing pain mgmt besides other doctors. still in pain. and to top it off man offer me $20.00 because he was in a rush. I do have atty

  5. terry wilson says:

    I was rear ended on I 65 an f250 rear ended my f350 he had to be doing 90 mpr I was diagnoised with a lower lumbar strain and neck after 10 visits to rehab exrays and mri it was determined I had arthritis but was agravated by the accident. I knew the insurance company was going to low ball me so I hired an attorney
    My question is I was working 55 hours a week and the dr restricted me to 40 hours a week I lost $3,900.00 in wages. Should I be able to recoop that also I had $6,500 in medical bills. By your calculations I should be rewarded between $17,000.00 & 34,000.00. I will let you know in a few months
    Thanks t.d. wilson

    • Hi Terry,

      Yes you should definitely be able to collect that. Especially went it’s the doctors recommendation for you to restrict your working hours.

  6. I was in a wreck over a year ago. The person that was at fault was driving a rental car… I am still having problems with my hip that the accident caused but havent been able to seek medical treatment because my family dr wont treat accident patients and i cant get an orthopedic appointment without a referral, BUT i cant get a referral without an appointment with my doctor. I suffer every day from this injury and am in terrible pain because I can not get treated. What should I do?

    • Talk to a lawyer. Your insurance company can give you the name of several doctors that they recommend you use to get a referral. Since the injury is directly related to the accident and you were not at fault, you should not be liable for any bills for the treatment or therapy required. You are also eligible for compensation for worked missed (if any) due to your pain.

  7. My personal medical insurance jumped in and paid most of hospital bills, doctor bills, etc. involving an accident that was the other persons fault and their insurance company will reimburse mine. But what dollar amount do I use to calculate pain and suffering? There won’t be alot out of my pocket. Do I use the original amounts of the medical bills?

  8. Rear ended by an off duty police officer while he was driving an unmarked patrol car 17 miles out of his jurisdiction. All his fault. Mini-van repairs costs are increasing daily by the repair shop. Going to orthopedics soon for treatment. This ought to be very interesting.

  9. I was hit in rear end collision while at a stop light, my truck was totaled, I was injured. my wife (was not in the truck with me but she was fired because in her job
    position she indirectly worked for the insurance companies who would be the defendants. Can we get compensation for this action?

    • Wrongful termination? Yes, more than likely. You should probably do 1 case for the the car accident and injuries, and another case for the wrongful termination. Check with a lawyer.

  10. yesterday I was involved in an accident. My wife and I were T-Boned by a driver, who was extremely high on drugs. We both have neck and back injuries.
    We both own our own business and will continue to receive our salaries even though we are unable to work for several weeks.
    I know that when calculating pain and suffering a big part of this number comes from lost wages. Any suggestions how I can make this work for me.

    Thanks

  11. Darcy wood says:

    I was just in an accident with a privately insured corporation. It totaled my car and he was issued tickets. I have a concussion a sprained cervical and neck and back. I have nausea and vomiting. What kind of pain and suffering an I looking at?

  12. Question: I was in an accident where the person who hit me blew a stop sign. I have spinal damage and have been in massage and physical therapy for twenty-two weeks. I now have to see a chiropractor because the intevertebral discs keep swelling back up. I can not even carry a laundry basket up and down my stairs to wash clothes. What should I expect to receive as my pain and suffering settlement? We, the insurance company and myself have not settled yet; obviously because I am still having treatments. I was looking into getting an attorney but only if the settlement is higher than a few thousand. It was a brand new 2014 chevy sonic that I was driving with over $7,000 in damage.

    • Get a lawyer ASAP. Many lawyers offer the initial consultation for free. Your settlement should cover time missed from work plus all medical expenses including past, present and future treatments.

  13. Question: what is the verge settlement if the injuries sustained have indefinite healing, indefinite treatment, and the prognosis is continued gradual deterioration?

    • In that case Deede, you are entitled for the medical expenses due to treatment of the injury for an indefinite period of time. This also factors into your “pain and suffering” compensation.

  14. First, always remember that these things are long and drawn out. Insurance companies WILL try to lowball you. Whenever an accident happens, automatically get a lawyer. Remember, if you try to represent yourself, it may come to a hearing with a referee or judge. You enter by yourself. Do you think a secretary or an agent is going to be there to represent the insurance company? No it will be a lawyer. The person overseeing the proceedings is also a lawyer. Two lawyers against you, none with you. It doesn’t take tarot cards to predict the outcome of that meeting. You learn these things,sometimes the hard way. You want compensation for the wrong done to you, they want to hold onto their money. A battle of wills is sure to ensue. Protect yourself from the start. GET A LAWYER>

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