What is the Average Car Accident Settlement?


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Every day there are many car accidents resulting in injuries and property damage in the United States.  While accidents are common, the injuries and property damage caused are unique to each and every accident victim.  Therefore, it is important to remember that while a number may be assigned to the average car accident settlement, the average car accident settlement is extremely variable and heavily dependent on the facts of your individual case.

2005 Car Injury Verdicts

Car accident settlements are typically confidential and information about the average car accident settlement is, therefore, unattainable.  However, information about car accident verdicts are public information and an average car accident award can be obtained.  It is reasonable to assume that the average car accident verdict is similar, though not identical, to the average car accident settlement. Car accident victims would be hesitant to settle for much less than what they could obtain at trial though the number is likely slightly lower to account for a faster payment and lower attorney fees.

In 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report on the Civil Bench and Jury Trials in State Courts, 2005.  Some of the averages reported by the BJS in that report include:

  • Median award in a motor vehicle case was $15,000;
  • 40% of motor vehicle accident awards were for $10,000 or less;
  • 34.8% of motor vehicle accident awards were for $10,001 - $50,000;
  • 17.7% of motor vehicle accident awards were for $50,001 - $250,000;
  • 5.4% of motor vehicle accident awards were for $250,001 - $1 million; and
  • 2.1% of motor vehicle accident awards were for more than 1 million dollars.

The information released by the BJS also showed a decrease in both the number of motor vehicle accident cases brought to trial and the trial awards from 1992 – 2005. 

Variable Factors

While learning about the average car accident settlement is useful, it is important to remember that your case is unique.  You are entitled to compensation from an at fault driver, or the driver’s insurance company, for your physical injuries, out of pocket expenses, emotional suffering and property damage. 

When to Get Legal Help

The best way to find out what an average car accident settlement might be for you is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has settled many cases before and can give you an idea of the value of your case.  Do not trust what the insurance company tells you an average settlement is because the insurance company does not want to pay the full value of your claim.  Instead, hire a personal injury lawyer to advise you about the average car accident settlement applicable to your situation and to represent you in settlement negotiations.

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