What’s the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

The aftermath of a car accident can often be overwhelming, with costs piling up from vehicle repairs and medical bills, on top of lost wages from work. When another driver was at fault for your accident, you may be wondering what the average settlement might be, so that you can start planning how to get your life back on track.

Of course, every car accident is unique, and speaking to a skilled car accident attorney can help you determine if you should settle or bring a lawsuit against the insurance company. The lawyers at Thistle Law can provide you with a free consultation if you have any questions at all about your accident. Below, we list some of the factors you can examine in order to make an educated guess at what kind of settlement offer the insurance company will be making. 

Economic vs Non-Economic Damages

Economic and non-economic damages are the two categories an insurance company will look at when determining the payout for your accident. By adding these two categories together, you can estimate your settlement amount.

Economic damages are usually fairly straightforward to calculate. These can be things like:

Non-economic damages are often more difficult to calculate. These are damages that occur because of pain or suffering that the accident caused, such as:

  • Psychological suffering
  • Impact on your life
  • Permanent disabilities or injuries
  • Wrongful death

Understanding Pain and Suffering Damages

Let’s use an example to examine how an insurance company or jury might decide how much of an impact a car accident had on your life. If you worked for a moving company prior to the accident but were left with permanent neck and back injuries that prevent you from returning to that job, then you will suffer a greater financial loss than someone who works from home and can continue their job after the same type of injury.

You will also want to make sure you have completely healed before submitting your claim. Injuries like whiplash can sometimes take days to become clear, and if you submit your claim before then, you will have a harder time getting compensated for that injury.

As you can see, putting a price on pain and suffering can be difficult to do. Talking with an experienced car accident attorney is the easiest way to gain an understanding of how much the pain and suffering portion of your car accident claim might be. 

Going to Court or Settling

Many people are worried about the prospect of filing a lawsuit because they worry about taking a case to trial. Although a court case can certainly take more time to resolve and come with a higher price tag, it can also end with a much higher amount of compensation for you. A court case can return compensation to you for pain and suffering, court expenses, as well as punitive damages against the insurance company. 

To get a very rough estimate of what your settlement might be, add up your vehicle repair bills, hospital bills, and lost wages. Multiply that sum by three, and you will get a number that is probably similar to what an average settlement might look like. Remember that if your damages amount to more than the other driver’s insurance policy, you might need to sue that driver for the remaining damages you are owed, unless you’ve paid extra for under-insured motorist coverage on your own insurance. 

Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney About Your Settlement

If your car accident was minor, with little damage to your vehicle and minor injuries, you can easily calculate your economic damages and assume your settlement should equal that amount. But when you need to add in pain and suffering from a serious accident, or potential medical costs from permanent physical injuries, it can be difficult to calculate exactly what your settlement will be. 

The lawyers at Thistle Law have over 80 years of personal injury law experience and can discuss the details of your case with a free consultation, to help you gain a more accurate picture of what kind of compensation you should be expecting. Contact our office for a free consultation today by calling 215-525-6824 or by filling out this form


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