January 8, 2024 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Car accidents cause property damage and injuries, and the trauma of a crash may leave psychological wounds, too. But beyond these very personal effects, car accidents are expensive: medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, and more.

So, it’s natural to want to know the typical payout for an auto accident with injuries. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t a typical amount. Car accident settlement amounts depend on a number of factors that are unique to each case.

Whether you were injured in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident, the story is the same—the best way to get an idea of what your case might be worth is to contact an experienced car accident attorney. You can contact Chain | Cohn | Clark for a free consultation regarding your car accident case.

Average Settlement Amounts for Car Accident Claims

The Insurance Information Institute does publish annual statistics for the average dollar amounts of car accident claims:

  • The average bodily injury claim in 2022 was $24,211.
  • The average property damage claim in 2022 was $5,313.

However, don’t get too excited or disappointed by these totals. These average accident settlement amounts can be very misleading. In fact, they don’t tell you anything about your case.

Here’s an entirely fictional example. Suppose a law firm says their last 10 car accident settlements averaged over $100,000. Sounds good, right? What you don’t realize is that 9 out of those 10 cases settled for $1,000, and the 10th case settled for a whopping $1 million.

The average doesn’t indicate what you’ll get—the specifics of your case determine what your payout will be.

5 Factors Affecting Injury Settlements

Factors Affecting Your Injury Settlement

There are a few factors that consistently affect the amount of injury settlements:

  • Severity: In general, the more severe the injuries, the higher the car accident settlement. (The same applies to property damage—the greater the damage, the higher the settlement.) To calculate noneconomic damages (e.g., pain and suffering), insurance companies multiply economic damages (e.g., the cost of surgery or the value of lost wages) by a number from 1 to 5, determined by the severity of your injuries.
  • Negligence: In general, car accident settlements are higher if the at-fault driver was exceptionally careless—for example, driving at high speeds on residential streets or driving while drunk.
  • Third parties: In general, car accident settlements are higher when a third entity is involved in addition to you and the at-fault driver. For example, suppose you’re in an accident caused by a government employee on official business or by an on-duty truck driver. You may be able to pursue a claim against the driver and their employer.
  • Fault: In general, the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages resulting from an accident. However, California uses a legal principle called pure comparative fault that allows responsibility for an accident to be assigned (as a percentage) to multiple parties. If you are 25% to blame for an accident, you can only collect 75% of the damages in your case.
  • Insurance limits: An insurance company is only required to pay up to the full amount of an at-fault driver’s liability limits. Suppose your medical treatment totals $20,000, but the at-fault driver’s insurance policy has California’s minimum bodily injury liability limit of $15,000. A car accident settlement will only pay $15,000—to get the remaining $5,000, you must either use your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage or sue the at-fault driver.

Bakersfield Car Accident Attorneys

There isn’t a typical settlement amount for an injury car accident—but you can get an idea of the value of your case by talking to an experienced car accident lawyer. Getting help from a good car accident lawyer is also the best way to ensure you receive a fair car accident settlement from the insurance company. Dealing with the fallout from a crash—especially when you’ve been injured—is stressful and sometimes overwhelming. The attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark can take the burden off your shoulders and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

For a free consultation—with no obligation to you—contact us today.