Many personal injury attorneys are quick to point out that the average car accident settlement amount is fairly useless information. Each case has its unique factors, and it is impossible to predict how severely affected accident survivors will be.
Some victims are not bothered by flashbacks, but others suffer severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The average car accident settlement runs about $19,000, but your case could range from $500 to $500,000 or more.
Settlement Averages for Property Damage and Bodily Injury
U.S. motor vehicle crashes have been rising steadily and generating upwards of $1 trillion per year in expenses and losses of life. The average liability claim for property damage was $3,144 just a few years ago.
Bodily injury claims averaged $15,443, but averages do not really explain the range of potential settlements. Use the formula in this article to calculate the average auto accident settlement based on your specific circumstances.
Calculating Your Expected Compensation
It is more effective to try to calculate your expected compensation than to use some average figure. The first step is estimating the minimum amount of money you would accept to settle your claim. Most lawyers use one of several formulas as a starting point.
For example, many people use the multiplier method, which multiplies tangible expenses by a constant to determine more intangible compensation like pain and suffering. Try making calculations using the following steps:
Enter the grand total of your current and projected future medical bills. Including anything related to the injuries you suffered in the accident, including:
- Medical tests
- Physical therapy
These expenses primarily include the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any associated car entails. You can also add the costs of property damage to your home and business and damaged personal property stored in your car.
This figure can range from missing a few work hours to losing your job due to permanent disability. You can use life expectancy tables and projected raises and job advancement to calculate the long-term loss of income.
The multiplier for Non-Economic Damages
For each type of non-economic compensation – such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium – choose a multiplier between 1.5 and 5.0. The more severe and painful the injuries or losses, the higher the multiplier should be.
These calculations should give you an accurate estimate of your settlement if everything goes as planned. However, you shouldn’t count on spending any money allocated to paying real-world expenses.
Typical Auto Accident Settlement Amounts
Typical factors that can affect your settlement amount include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your real-world financial losses and expenses
- The magnitude of your physical pain and suffering
- The extent of your mental turmoil
- Whether you share partial responsibility for the accident in an at-fault state
- Limits of insurance coverage
Proving Emotional Distress
Mental damages are difficult to prove. You should consider keeping a log of how your world has changed since the accident. You can mention any depression, personality changes, and loss of interest in activities that were formerly your favorite pastimes.
Permanent disfigurement is easily proven to be a source of emotional turmoil. If you have developed PTSD from your accident, consider getting professional psychiatric help to confirm your diagnosis.
Settlements for minor injuries and auto damage run between $10,000 and $25,000. That figure rises between $50,000 and $75,000 for more extensive damage and long-lasting injuries. You can expect a settlement of between $75,000 and $100,000 for spinal injuries and compensation of between $100,000 and $250,000 or more for traumatic brain injuries.
Hiring a Lawyer to File a Lawsuit
There is little argument about whether you need a lawyer. Experienced attorneys can help you maximize your compensation and estimate future expenses more accurately. Knowing that you have a legal expert guiding you through legal proceedings, you can direct your focus to your recovery.