How Much Are Most Car Accident Settlements?

Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, and if you’ve been involved in one, you might wonder about the potential for a car accident settlement.

While every car accident case is unique, examining the factors that influence a settlement amount and average settlement can help you better understand what to expect.

What is a Car Accident Settlement?

A car accident settlement is a resolution reached between the parties involved in a car accident, typically the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the injured party (or their legal representative). This settlement is designed to compensate the injured party for their damages, which can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

What is a Car Accident Settlement?

Personal Injury Claims Often Involve Seeking Settlements

In the event of a crash, it is generally expected that the person responsible for causing the accident will be responsible for covering the damages incurred by the victim. The liability auto insurance of that individual will cover medical expenses, property damage, financial losses, quality of life, and other related losses.

Typically, the insurer of the party responsible for the accident will extend a settlement offer to those affected by the collision. The payment would be a lump sum, in return for which the victim relinquishes all rights to any future claims.

If the victim agrees to the settlement, then the case will be resolved. However, if the victim does not believe that the offered compensation is fair, it may result in a car accident lawsuit.

Legal action can occur after motor vehicle accidents and the majority of people who receive car accident compensation (98%) obtain their funds through a settlement rather than a court case. [1]

Claims often settle because insurers prefer not going through the expenses of a trial, and victims often prefer avoiding the time and uncertainty involved in a trial.

Factors That Influence Car Accident Settlement Amounts

The potential payout for a car accident claim relies on the severity of the wreckage and multiple other factors.

Injuries and Medical Expenses:

For cases with minor injuries and minimal damages, settlements may range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Cases with moderate injuries and higher medical bills may result in settlements ranging from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand dollars. In cases involving severe injuries, long-term disability, or extensive medical treatments, settlements can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Injuries and Medical Expenses

Insurance Policy Limits:

The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits can cap the amount you can receive. If the driver has a low policy limit, it may limit your settlement.

In most states, drivers are required to have liability insurance, which provides compensation to victims if the policyholder is at fault. However, the insurer only pays out up to the policy limits. If the damages surpass the insurance coverage, the insurer will not provide additional payment.

Accident victims have the option to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for losses that may not be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, some individuals may not possess sufficient resources to cover additional expenses, even if the court were to grant them.

In such cases, if an insurance company offers a settlement at the policy limit, it may not be financially beneficial to pursue further compensation through a court case.

Liability and Fault:

Determining who was at fault in the accident is a critical factor. If the other driver was responsible for the accident, your chances of a higher settlement increase.

However, if you have some responsibility for the accident, your financial recovery will be reduced. As an example, if you are determined to be 30% at fault for the accident and you suffered damages totaling $100,000. In this situation, it is possible to pursue a settlement, but the amount recoverable would be limited to $70,000 (or 70%) of the damages.

Lost Wages:

If you missed work due to the accident, your lost wages are factored into the settlement.

Lost Wages

Pain and Suffering:

Non-economic damages like physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life are challenging to quantify but are still considered.

Property Damage:

The cost to repair or replace your vehicle is considered.

State Laws:

In certain states, known as no-fault states, drivers are required to initially rely on their own insurance coverage to cover their injuries or injuries to their passengers. After their coverage is used up, they can request compensation from the insurance of the other driver.

Drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection, which typically provides coverage for up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages. In cases of minor injuries, additional damages such as compensation for pain and suffering are typically not available.

In at-fault states, the driver at fault will always be held responsible for any losses resulting from the crash. In these states, even minor crashes can lead to settlement offers from the at-fault driver’s insurer that offer more extensive compensation.

Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts

There’s no fixed amount for car accident settlements, and each case is unique. The following are general ranges to provide an idea:

There is variation in the data on average car accident settlement amounts across different sources. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average claim for bodily injury after a collision in 2020 was $20,235, while the average property damage claim was $4,711.

Individuals who filed car accident claims between 2015 and 2020 received an average settlement of $23,900. The majority of individuals received an amount of money that was less than $10,000. [2]

A survey conducted by Martindale-Nolo gathered data from readers in the United States about their experiences with car accident cases from 2015 to 2020. The average settlement award was $23,900 overall, with the majority receiving less than $10,000. [3]

Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts

What is the Estimated Duration for Receiving a Car Accident Settlement?

The complexity of a case is a significant factor in determining the length of time it will take to receive a settlement.

One benefit of opting for a claim settlement rather than pursuing a lawsuit is that car accident settlements typically occur in a more timely manner.

The average time to receive compensation after a car accident and filing a claim is approximately 10.7 months. During this period, the majority of the victims’ claims are resolved. [4]

Factors That May Affect the Timing of Your Car Accident Settlement

Every settlement does not follow a single timeline. Each case is influenced by its own unique factors that can impact the settlement time. Listed below are several common factors that may cause delays in your car accident settlement.

  • The extent of the injuries and the financial losses incurred
  • The number of individuals involved in the accident
  • The extent of property damage assessed
  • The insurance providers and coverage of each party
  • If there is disagreement about the cause of the accident
  • The decision on whether or not the case goes to trial
  • The proficiency and expertise of your attorney
  • The number of pending cases in each county
Factors That May Affect the Timing of Your Car Accident Settlement

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a car accident, seek legal representation. Contact Goldberg & Loren law firm today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards justice.


[1] Thompson, D. (2022, March 29). Who Do Most Personal Injury Cases Settle? Science Times.

[2] Ermey, R. (2022, September 22). Car insurance costs more, but “several million people” may still not have enough, expert says. CNBC.

[3] Bieber, C. (2022, July 12). Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023). Forbes Advisor.

[4] What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident? (2022, November 7). Pitpass.

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