How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

Several of our clients have wondered, how much is the average settlement for a car accident? Well, that’s an excellent question. The value of a claim is dependent upon dozens, if not hundreds, of individual factors. The average settlement for a car accident evaluates things like the severity of the injury to driver and passengers, the physical damage to the vehicle, medical bills, lost wages and many other factors.

Methods Used to Value a Car Accident Settlement

There may not be a tried-and-true method for valuing a car accident claim, but there are common variables to consider, according to Nolo, a legal news website for consumers. A tool insurance adjusters frequently use to value an injury claim is to multiply the “special damages” by a certain factor, Nolo states. Generally speaking, special damages encompass a person’s financial losses resulting from the accident.  These include doctor and hospital bills, missed work and wages because of your injuries, the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and similar financial losses.

As for the “factor” mentioned above, it is the multiplier the insurance adjuster uses to obtain a rough estimate of what your total claim — including physical and mental pain and suffering — might be worth, Nolo states. Typically, an insurance adjuster will use a multiplier of “two or three” to determine an estimated value for your claim.

Calculating an Average Settlement for a Car Accident

To apply this to a typical scenario, let’s assume that the total of your medical expenses and lost wages from the car accident is $10,000. If the insurance adjuster multiplied that sum by a factor of two (2) then your claim, at least in the adjuster’s opinion, would be worth approximately $20,000. If the adjuster used a factor of four (4), your claim would be valued roughly at $40,000.  So, that’s a rough answer to the question, how much is the average settlement for a car accident.

If you have been injured in a vehicle collision and need legal representation, attorney Chris Roy is an experienced lawyer and exceptional advocate who has a winning track record.  Chris consistently achieves awards on behalf of his clients that meet or exceed the average settlement for a car accident.  Reach out to Chris at (318) 209-3402 for a free initial consultation about your case.

What Circumstances Decide Which “Multiplier” Is Used?

Again, there is no simple answer, and it depends upon the individual facts and circumstances of your particular car accident. Generally, a lower amount of medical bills will indicate that a lower multiplier should be used, such as one or one-and-a-half, Nolo states. Why? Remember, the multiplier is used to give a monetary value to your physical and mental pain and suffering. A lower amount of medical expenses — $500 for example — suggests to the insurance company that your injuries resolved after a single visit to your primary care physician. If you sought only one instance of medical treatment, the conclusion is that the pain and discomfort from your injury either wasn’t severe or didn’t last very long.

On the other hand, if your medical expenses are much higher — let’s say $50,000 — the insurance company knows that this number probably represents an extended hospital stay or maybe a treatment regimen of dozens of physical rehabilitation sessions, Nolo states. It takes weeks, if not months, to incur medical expenses that large. So, the conclusion drawn by the insurance company is that you experienced a great deal more pain or at least experienced pain and discomfort for a longer time. Because of that, a higher multiplier, such as three, four or five, might be used to value your pain and suffering.

Other Variables Impacting the Average Settlement for a Car Accident

A number of other variables also play a role in determining the value of a personal injury claim:

  • Was your injury completely new and caused by the car accident, or did the car accident merely aggravate a condition for which you were already being treated?
  • Did you seek medical attention immediately following the car accident, or did you complain of symptoms for the first time three or six months after the accident?
  • Was your treatment excessive? Insurance companies rarely attach the full value of medical expenses in the areas of chiropractic treatment or physical therapy if the adjuster believes the length of treatment might be excessive.

Car Accidents in the U.S.

The United States is one of the busiest countries in terms of road traffic, with nearly 264 million vehicles registered and 218 million drivers holding a valid driving license, according to Statista, an online transportation statistics portal. The level of traffic is one of the reasons leading to a significant number of traffic accidents: In 2015, there were some 6.3 million fatal, injury, and property damage crashes in the United States.

Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Louisiana?

Yes, in some cases. Subject to Louisiana Statutes Section 32:398, you are required to:

  • Immediately give notice to the local police department if the accident resulted in: (1) injury, (2) death, or (3) property damage over $500
  • File a report within 24 hours to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections if the accident resulted in: (1) injury, (2) death, or (3) property damage over $100.

Louisiana Car Insurance Laws

In Louisiana, drivers are required to carry liability coverage on any vehicle they own. Liability insurance pays for personal injury and property damage up to the amount of coverage each individual has. Drivers are required to purchase a policy that meets the following minimum amounts of coverage:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single accident
  • $25,000 for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property.

Drivers can choose to purchase higher coverage limits to get more protection. If a driver does not have car insurance or does not meet the minimum requirements, he or she may be subject to fines and license suspension.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Louisiana?

“Settlement” refers to an agreement to drop a pending lawsuit and award damages that are made out of court. Most car accident cases are resolved through settlements, instead of going all the way to trial. Once you file a claim with an insurance company, the company will evaluate damages and make settlement offers. Keep in mind that you aren’t obligated to accept any of its initial settlement offers. If you disagree with the decision made by the insurance company, you can file a complaint to the Louisiana Department of Insurance and pursue a lawsuit against the other driver at fault.

Attorney Chris Roy Can Help with Car Accident Financial Settlements

If you’re wondering how much is the average settlement for car accidents in Louisiana, talk to attorney Chris Roy. Chris consistently achieves awards on behalf of his clients that meet or exceed the average settlement for a car accident.  Call Chris at (318) 209-3402 for a free initial consultation about your case.

Third generation attorney serving Central Louisiana for 30 years. Let our experience help you.