Average Car Accident Settlement Amount

The average car accident settlement amount is $212,325 and the median settlement amount is $25,000, which is a more accurate representation of the typical car accident settlement. This data is based on over 3,600 auto accident cases recorded by Thomson Reuters between 2019 and 2024.

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Average auto accident settlement amount chart (2024)
Average auto accident settlement amount chart (2024)

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Settlement data is as follows:

  • Highest settlement amount ($140,000,000): A multi-million dollar auto accident settlement was reached in a case involving an individual who became a quadriplegic after being struck by an 18-wheeler. The accident took place on Highway 259. The injured individual was represented by a local law firm in Texas, and was awarded a settlement that is noted as the largest in a single plaintiff case in American legal history. Evidence during the trial demonstrated that the driver of the 18-wheeler had been involved in multiple crashes before this accident and had violated state and federal trucking regulations.
  • Lowest settlement amount ($1,000): A motor vehicle collision occurred at an intersection where one vehicle failed to stop at a red light, striking another vehicle. The driver responsible for the collision admitted to a lack of attention while driving. The driver of the struck vehicle sustained minor injuries.
  • Average settlement amount ($212,325): The average settlement amount is the sum of all settlements divided by the number of settlements. It provides a single figure that summarizes the overall level of compensation awarded in auto accident cases within the study.
  • Median settlement amount ($25,000): The median more accurately reflects a typical car accident settlement amount because the calculation is less subject to being skewed by extremely high or low settlement amounts that can skew average settlement calculations.

For additional auto accident settlement amount data, see the following:

Settlement Type Settlement Value
Average motorcycle accident settlement $78,742
Average truck accident settlement $817,425
Average pain & suffering settlement $137,277
Average bus accident settlement $548,299
Average pedestrian accident settlement $277,250
Average bicycle accident settlement $233,028

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Car Accident Settlement Examples

The following auto accident settlement examples are all vehicle negligence (also known as auto negligence), which occurs when a driver doesn’t operate their vehicle in a safe manner and causes injury to one or multiple individuals.

  • $25K settlement – A minor was injured when the vehicle he was a passenger in, operated by a driver, veered off the road and into a ditch. The individual sustained a displaced fracture in the upper arm due to the accident. Represented by his mother, it was argued that the driver was negligent, having driven too quickly for the road conditions, which led to the accident. The involved parties reached a settlement regarding the accident and the injuries sustained.
  • $70K settlement – An individual was a passenger in a vehicle when it collided with another vehicle at an intersection, resulting in injuries to their left knee. The individual reached settlements of $35,000 with each driver involved in the accident with regard to their personal injury claim. Represented by their guardian, a petition was filed seeking approval of these settlements. The court approved the settlements and ordered the distribution of the proceeds.
  • $90K settlement: An individual was driving with their minor child on an interstate when traffic began to slow. Although another vehicle behind them also slowed, a third vehicle failed to do so, causing a rear-end collision. This vehicle was then rear-ended by a fourth vehicle, resulting in a multi-vehicle chain reaction that injured the individual, their spouse, and their minor children. The spouse suffered a loss of consciousness, bruising, a hand fracture, a spine injury requiring surgery, tinnitus, cervical and lumbar sprains and strains, headaches, back pain, radiating neck pain, and PTSD. One of the minor children developed an infection and had abrasions on the forehead and clavicle. The injured individual and their spouse, on behalf of their children, filed a lawsuit against the other drivers, alleging negligence, failure to maintain a proper lookout, and other driving infractions. They sought damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of consortium, and property damage. The defendants disputed the claims, contested negligence and the extent of the injuries, and argued that some of the spouse’s injuries were due to preexisting conditions and that the child’s infection was not caused by the accident.
  • $150K settlement – An individual was operating their vehicle when an alleged drunk driver, traveling in the opposite direction, lost control and slid sideways into her lane. The individual attempted to swerve to avoid a collision but was unable to, resulting in her vehicle striking the side of the oncoming vehicle. The other driver had to be extracted from their vehicle and was airlifted to a hospital, later being charged with DUI. The injuries sustained included cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine injuries, joint dysfunction with muscle spasms, severe whiplash, post-traumatic headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Medical costs alone exceeded $20K.
  • $250K settlement – An individual was operating a vehicle and stopped in traffic waiting for farm equipment to turn when their car was struck from behind by a truck traveling at a high speed. The collision pushed the individual’s vehicle into another stopped vehicle ahead, and the truck came to rest atop the individual’s car, severely trapping them. The individual sustained multiple injuries including a spine injury, chest trauma with rib fractures, and burns from contact with the truck’s engine block. Emotional distress also necessitated counseling. Despite disputes from the truck driver regarding phone use at the time of the accident, phone records indicated usage close to the time of the collision. The individual, who experienced extensive treatment including surgery and therapy, eventually made a full recovery. Additionally, the individual’s pet, present in the vehicle, was fatally injured in the accident. The parties negotiated a settlement to address the damages and injuries sustained. Medical costs exceeded $90K and lost wages total over $10K.
  • $500K settlement – An accident occurred at an intersection where a vehicle collided with an individual from a developmental disabilities facility while they were crossing the street. The individual sustained a leg fracture injury.
  • $1M settlement – An accident occurred when a vehicle, carrying several passengers, entered a curve on a road and collided head-on with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The individual driving and two passengers died, while another passenger sustained spine injuries. A lawsuit was filed against the entity responsible for the road’s maintenance, claiming the road design contributed to the accident by not allowing sufficient visibility to avoid the collision. The defending entity denied responsibility, attributing the accident to the negligence of the individuals driving the vehicles. Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement, with the amount agreed upon exceeding $1 million.

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Case Factors That Influence The Value of a Car Accident Settlement

  • Insurance coverage & policies – Most states require minimum insurance coverage, which is generally $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The choice of insurance policies and providers can significantly influence the settlement process and outcome of a personal injury claim. If the at-fault driver in a car accident has minimal insurance coverage that does not fully cover the victim’s damages, the victim may be eligible to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim with their own insurance. For example, if the at-fault driver’s insurance covers $25,000 but the victim’s damages total $100,000, and the victim has a UM/UIM policy with $100,000 coverage, they can claim the remaining $75,000 from their UM/UIM policy. This ensures the victim receives full compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Fault (or liability) – In at-fault states, the at-fault driver is liable for covering economic and non-economic damages such as medical costs, property damage, and damages associated with any injuries that result from the auto accident. Sometimes establishing liability is straightforward. However, in other cases, there can be more complex considerations for accidents that include partial liability. This is referred to as comparative negligence, which allows individuals to pursue compensation based on the defendants’ degree of liability in the accident. For cases that do not have clear fault or liability, the case may proceed to trial.
  • Severity of injuries – The severity of injuries that result from an auto accident or other personal injury claim (such as a slip and fall) will have a significant impact on the settlement amount. Accidents that result in serious injuries (such as brain or spinal cord injuries) or wrongful death will often lead to higher settlement amounts than those involving less severe injuries like broken bones or fractures. These higher settlements are generally due to claims of non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) in addition to potentially large and ongoing medical expenses, treatment, and physical therapy.
  • State laws – The impact of minimum insurance coverage, traffic regulations, and state-specific fault laws on a personal injury claim varies between states. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you understand how state laws and other various case factors may influence your claim and the overall amount of your personal injury settlement.
  • Total damages – The total financial loss (or damages) is another key factor when calculating a settlement amount for car accidents and other types of personal injury claims. This includes costs associated with vehicle damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and any lost income due to an inability to work.

Each auto accident claim is unique, and the methods used to calculate and negotiate the settlement amount will vary due to unique case variables and governing state laws. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

Getting started with your personal injury claim is easy. Just request a free case evaluation online, and a legal team in our network will reach out to you regarding your case. Our network of attorneys includes a team of over 250+ legal professionals throughout the United States with over $1 billion recovered for clients, including those who have suffered injuries as a result of car accidents.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do I have to file a car accident claim?

The time limit to file a car accident claim is known as the statute of limitations, which varies by state. In the United States, it ranges from 1 to 6 years, with most states having a 1 to 3 year deadline – all which begin from the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, some states allow a deadline to begin from the date that the injury was discovered.

It’s important to check the specific laws in your state or the state where the injury occurred to understand the statute of limitations that apply to your case. Missing the deadline can prevent you from filing a claim later.

How long will my car accident case take?

Car accident cases with clear liability and moderate injuries are often finalized within 6 to 12 months after medical treatment is complete. However, the amount of time it takes to resolve a case depends on many factors such as the severity of injuries, complexities of the claim, and if the case goes to trial.

How much does a car accident lawyer cost?

The majority of car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there are no upfront legal fees. Rather, a portion of the final settlement or verdict is used to pay attorney fees, which commonly ranges from 30% to 40%.

Will I get more money if I hire a car accident lawyer?

Studies have shown that individuals who have legal representation receive a higher settlement amount. Specifically, the study by Nolo found that 91% of people who hired an attorney received a settlement and the individuals who had legal representation (compared to those who did not) received significantly higher payouts from settlements.

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We use settlement calculators to help individuals estimate how much compensation they may receive from their personal injury claim. We partner with law firms throughout the United States to help produce the most accurate results. Our content and calculators are created with the help of top-rated attorneys and legal professionals.

Accident type Avg. Settlement
Drunk driver $262,479
Uninsured driver $128,129
Hit-and-run $87,233
Rear-end $181,309
Injury type Avg. Settlement
Back & neck $263,030
Herniated disc $220,066
Concussion $347,046
Whiplash $121,542
PTSD $762,436

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