What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

After surviving a car accident in San Antonio, money might be the last thing on your mind. Your first priorities are likely your physical recovery, personal well-being and spending time with your family. Yet as medical bills and lost wages start to pile up, you may wonder about the potential value of your car accident case. Calculating your potential settlement amount may require assistance from a lawyer. Consulting with a law firm in San Antonio could give you an accurate portrayal of the value of your specific claim.

No Such Thing as an Average Accident

It can be difficult to find an average car accident settlement that reflects your specific case since each claim is unique. Settlement amounts have varied widely throughout history due to the specific nature of damages. Some estimates put the average car accident settlement for a minor to moderate collision at $20,000 to $30,000. Severe cases could be worth much more depending on circumstances. Some victims in Texas have obtained six- and seven-figure settlements for their car accident damages.

Since no two car accidents are identical, do not gauge your case’s value based on averages alone. Your case’s outcome could be vastly different from other cases – even within the same accident type. Instead of judging the value of your case according to other people’s results, consult with a lawyer for a personalized estimate. Only an attorney can accurately measure what your car accident settlement could be worth after an in-depth review of the facts of your case.

Minor vs. Severe Car Accidents

The value of a car accident settlement depends largely on the severity of the crash. A serious accident involving a totaled vehicle, catastrophic injuries and/or wrongful death will generally be worth more than a minor fender bender. A catastrophic injury is one that causes long-term or permanent damage to the victim, such as total disability or disfigurement.

If your injuries heavily impacted your life, your case could be worth a significant amount in Texas. The skill of your attorney could also decide how much you receive. A lawyer who can accurately convey the impact serious injuries have had on your life to a judge or jury could maximize your award amount.

Settlement vs. Court Trial

Another factor that may determine your payout for a car accident claim is whether your claim achieves a fair outcome through an insurance settlement or if you need to go to court. Although a court case can cost more money and take more time to resolve, it could end in a higher compensation award than an insurance claim. A judgment award could include compensation types such as pain and suffering, court expenses and punitive damages rather than only reimbursing you for property damage and medical bills.

Types of Damages Suffered

One way to break down what your case could be worth is by calculating your economic and noneconomic damages, then adding them together. These are the two main damage categories an insurance company will take into account when considering a settlement offer for your claim. The types of damages you suffered in the car accident – as well as their severity – can determine the amount you receive from the insurance company.

  • Vehicle damage or a totaled vehicle
  • Medical bills in the past and foreseeable future
  • Lost income from time home from work
  • Physical pain and psychological suffering
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death damages

Your economic losses are out-of-pocket expenses, such as hospital bills. Calculate these by adding up your exact car accident costs. Then, calculate your potential noneconomic damage award by multiplying your economic damage value by a number from one to five. A jury will choose a multiplier based on the severity of your losses during a car accident trial. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you choose the most accurate multiplier for your case if the law entitles you to seek compensation for noneconomic damages. Finally, a judge may award you additional punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or malicious.

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