What are Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts?

July 1, 2023 | Ed Bernstein
What are Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts?

As a car accident victim, you may ask, "What is my case worth?" Unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all response will answer this question. Every case has its unique elements, and numerous factors can influence the eventual settlement amount.

Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer will ensure your claim accounts for the many factors that insurance companies tend to ignore. With the help of a car accident lawyer, you can rest assured that the valuation of your claim will account for the results of similar claims.

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Factors That Influence Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Your lawyer will guide you through several key factors that can influence settlement amounts, including the following:


Early in the claim process, your personal injury attorney will examine who was at fault for the accident. The allocation of fault may affect the compensation you receive. States have different laws regarding fault, such as whether the state established a contributory negligence system, a no-fault system, or a strict at-fault system.

If your attorney can prove that the other party was completely at fault for the accident, you have a better chance of recovering a higher settlement amount. If you bear partial liability, however, this may reduce the compensation you can recover.

Additionally, if multiple parties bear liability for your accident, you may be able to recover more compensation.

The Severity of Your Injuries

The nature and severity of the injuries you sustained in the accident directly affect the value of your claim. Generally, more severe injuries result in higher settlement amounts, as you will likely have more expensive medical costs, a bigger loss of or overall reduction in your income, and greater overall suffering. Injuries such as severe traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries, for example, can lead to more significant compensation than minor ailments, such as broken bones.

Your attorney will also examine the potential effects of your injuries, such as the need for ongoing medical treatment or permanent disabilities. Long-term or permanent medical costs or lasting disability because of your accident may influence the compensation you can recover.

Medical Expenses

Accident Attorney for car accident cases near Las Vegas, NV area

Your attorney can help you establish the total cost of the medical treatment you have already received, as well as the anticipated future medical costs related to your injuries. These costs may include consultations, surgeries, medications, and other necessary treatments. Your lawyer will also explore the ongoing cost of durable medical equipment, including items such as prosthetics that may require regular replacement.

In addition to direct medical costs, your attorney will consider expenses associated with rehabilitation and therapy, which may be necessary for your recovery. Those with severe long-term injuries may need considerable physical or occupational therapy to learn how to cope with these limitations or to strengthen injured parts of their bodies.

Income Losses

Lost earnings constitute a significant damage in car accident settlements, and your attorney can determine the exact amount of income you have lost due to your injuries. This calculation may include wages, salary, benefits, bonuses, and any other lost income related to your accident. Your attorney will consider how much time you had to spend out of work, potential opportunity losses, and whether you needed time before you could return to working full time, or even once you got back to working part time.

In some cases, your injuries may affect your future earning capacity. Your attorney will calculate the potential influence on your future finances and incorporate this into the settlement negotiation. For example, some injuries may prevent you from working in your former job, requiring you to retrain or choose another career path. Others may prevent you from working altogether.

Pain and Suffering

Damages for pain and suffering include compensation for the physical and emotional distress caused by your injuries. These damages can be more subjective than other factors and can vary greatly depending on the individual case.

Your attorney may use various methods to calculate pain and suffering worth, such as applying a multiplier—a number that considers the severity of the injuries—to your economic damages or estimating a daily amount for the duration of your recovery.

Talk to your attorney about how your accident has specifically affected you. Include any psychological diagnoses, such as PTSD or anxiety, as well as any ongoing suffering you may have faced, including overall loss of independence, inability to engage in favorite pastimes, or changed relationships with loved ones.

Property Damage

Property damage in car accidents typically consists of vehicle repair or replacement costs. It can also include damage to personal property, however, such as smartphones or other valuables. Carefully evaluate all items in the vehicle at the time of the accident that you may need to replace, including items such as a child's car seat and accessories you may have added to your vehicle, like a bike or luggage rack.

Your attorney will help you obtain compensation for all property damage caused by the accident, ensuring that your settlement includes the appropriate amounts. You may need to provide receipts for damaged goods or information about the value of key items in the vehicle.

Insurance Policy Limits

The at-fault party's insurance company pays most car accident settlements. The insurance policy limits, therefore, are fundamental in determining how much compensation you may recover.

If the at-fault party's insurance policy has low limits, you may not recover the full amount of your damages. Your attorney may explore other avenues for compensation, though, such as underinsured motorist coverage or personal assets of the at-fault party.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a legal principle that apportions fault between the parties involved in an accident. In some states, your percentage of fault may reduce your compensation. Work with your lawyer to maximize the results of your claim, including establishing who caused your accident and why the other party bears liability.

The Strength of Your Claim

The strength of your case can depend heavily on evidence such as police reports, witness testimony, expert opinions, and whether the liable party admits fault for the accident. Your attorney will collect evidence to support your claims. A strong case with solid evidence supporting your claims of liability, damages, and fault can result in a higher settlement.

Insurance companies are more likely to offer higher settlements when faced with a compelling case. Conversely, if you have relatively little evidence of who caused your accident and the liable party does not admit fault, you might find it harder to get the full compensation you deserve.

Negotiation Skills

Your personal injury attorney will use their negotiation skills to secure the best possible settlement for you while considering all the other factors that influence the outcome of a case.

They will work to minimize the factors that could reduce your compensation and maximize those that could increase it. An experienced attorney with excellent negotiation skills can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. They will know when to accept a settlement offer and when to seek more, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

Examples of Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts

While no attorney can guarantee the compensation you will receive following a car accident and each case is unique, you may consider past claim amounts when contemplating the possible outcome of your case.

Minor Accidents and Minimal Injuries

Settlements for minor accidents with minimal injuries tend to be relatively low, usually less than $10,000, depending on factors such as medical expenses, property damage, and the availability of insurance coverage.

Moderate Accidents with More Significant Injuries

In cases where the accident results in more substantial injuries, such as fractures or moderate traumatic brain injuries, the settlement amounts may range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These cases often involve higher medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, which means they usually lead to higher settlements.

Severe Accidents and Life-Altering Injuries

For severe accidents where victims suffer life-altering injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, severe burns, or amputations, settlement amounts can reach millions of dollars. These cases require significant compensation to cover extensive medical treatment, ongoing care, and often a lifetime of lost earning capacity.

Fatal Accidents

In fatal accidents, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. Settlements in these cases can also reach into the millions of dollars, depending on the deceased's age, earning capacity, and financial support provided to family members.

These examples only represent rough estimates of car accident settlement amounts, as many factors can influence individual cases. To obtain an accurate estimate for your specific circumstances, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.

The Importance of a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim

Working with a car accident lawyer offers several benefits that can affect your claim, such as:

  • Assessing the value of a car accident claim: An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you accurately assess the value of your car accident claim by considering all the factors discussed in this article. They can provide you with a realistic estimate of what you may receive, allowing you to make informed decisions about your case.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies: Insurance companies typically offer low settlement amounts to claimants to minimize their financial liability. A skilled personal injury attorney knows how to navigate these negotiations and will work to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible.
  • Representing the injured party in court, if necessary: In cases where you cannot reach a fair settlement through negotiation, your car accident lawyer will represent you in court. Their expertise will prove invaluable in presenting a compelling case to a judge or jury, increasing your chances of receiving an equitable award.

By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can ensure that you receive the best possible representation and the highest settlement amount for your car accident case. They will advocate for you throughout the process, providing guidance and support as you focus on healing and recovery.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Claim

Many factors can affect car accident settlement amounts, including liability, the severity of injuries, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, insurance policy limits, comparative negligence, the strength of the case, and negotiation skills.

Due to these complexities, consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas is essential for obtaining an accurate estimate of your potential compensation. They will help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum amount for your injuries and damages.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, it can prove essential to seek legal advice from a lawyer of a top-rated personal injury law firm in Las Vegas, NV. They evaluate your case, help you understand your rights, and provide you with the necessary guidance to achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

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Ed Bernstein

Edward M. Bernstein, Esq. is the owner and founding partner of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, and one of the most recognizable figures in Nevada. Ed is one of state’s premier personal injury attorneys and has hosted The Ed Bernstein Show for over 31 years. He has served the Las Vegas community for decades with dozens of community appointments and terms of service. In the year 2000, he was Nevada’s Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.

Ed received his B.A. from Long Island University in 1971 and his J.D. from Widener University in 1975. Since then, Ed’s professional accolades include numerous publications, honors and awards, court appointments, and has been named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.