What Is The Average Settlement For Whiplash Injury?

The average auto accident settlement for whiplash injuries in the United States is $121,542 and the median settlement amount is $35,000, which better represents the typical payout. Factors that affect settlement value for whiplash injuries includes the severity of injuries, aggravation of underlying conditions, and total medical expenses. Settlement data is based on 36 car accident cases recorded by Thomson Reuters in the last 5 years (between 2019 and 2024)

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Average whiplash injury settlement amount chart (2024)
Average whiplash injury settlement amount chart (2024)

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Note: Average settlement data should not be interpreted as a guaranteed settlement amount for your whiplash injury claim. Data and settlement examples provided are intended to be used for informational purposes.

  • Median settlement = $35,000: The median more accurately reflects a typical settlement for whiplash injuries because the calculation is less subject to being skewed by extremely high or low settlement amounts.
  • Average settlement = $121,542: The average settlement amount is the sum of all auto accident settlements that include a whiplash injury (or injuries that later resulted from or were aggravated by whiplash) divided by the total number of settlements (36).
  • Highest settlement = $1,000,000: In an accident involving a rear-end collision while stopped in traffic, an individual suffered whiplash, a severe shoulder injury, and strains affecting the neck and both shoulders. The collision was caused by another driver, alleged to have been driving under the influence, and the vehicle involved was owned and insured by different parties. The individual received compensation through workers’ compensation and health claims, and sought further damages citing negligence, with the defendants disputing the extent and cause of the injuries reported.
  • Lowest settlement = $1,950: In an accident, an individual and a minor were in a vehicle that was stopped at a stop sign when their car was rear-ended by an unidentified driver who then fled the scene. Both individuals sustained neck and back injuries from the collision. The individual, acting on their own behalf and as guardian for the minor, pursued a claim against their uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance provider, arguing that due to the timely filing of the claim related to the accident, compensation was warranted under the insurance policy terms. They sought compensation for personal injuries, medical expenses described as significant, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, in addition to interest, legal fees, and court costs. A settlement was reached that provided $5,000 to the minor, approved by the court through an order that ratified the settlement agreement.

Whiplash Injury Settlement Examples

  • $20K settlement: In an accident, an 11-year-old individual, seated in the back of a stopped vehicle, was injured when another vehicle, operated by a driver and insured under another individual’s policy, rear-ended their car. The individual sustained whiplash involving the spine, strains in various spinal regions, muscle spasms, a shoulder contusion, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cognitive dysfunction. It was claimed that the driver was negligent for not stopping, excessive speeding, failing to maintain control, and not avoiding the collision. Additionally, it was alleged that the vehicle owner was negligent in allowing the driver to use the vehicle.
  • $80K settlement: In an accident at an intersection, an individual, a passenger in a vehicle that stopped at a red light and then proceeded when it turned green, was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by a minor and insured by an insurance company. The individual sustained spine injuries, including whiplash, and headaches as a result of the collision. Claims were made against the minor driver for negligence and against the minor’s parent for liability. A settlement of $80,000 was reached and subsequently approved by the court.
  • $120K settlement: In an accident on a private road, an individual was involved in a head-on collision while ascending a road as the opposing vehicle descended. The individual sustained multiple injuries including a concussion with loss of consciousness, a delayed-diagnosis fractured left ankle, trauma to the left hand, and whiplash involving the neck and back. The opposing party disputed both liability and the causation of the ankle injury, suggesting it was unconnected to the accident. Ultimately, to avoid litigation, the insurance company agreed to recognize all claimed injuries as part of the settlement. Medical expenses resulting from the injuries totaled nearly $30,000.
  • $195K settlement: In an accident where a vehicle was rear-ended, causing a trailer to jackknife, the passengers sustained injuries. One individual experienced a shoulder injury requiring surgery, a spine injury, and received physical therapy and steroid injections. Another individual suffered neck and back pain, treated with nerve block injections and physical therapy, and was diagnosed with whiplash. Pre-existing conditions were noted to complicate the latter’s injury claims, with evaluations determining the extent of injuries related to the accident.
  • $365K settlement: In an accident where a vehicle pulling a trailer was struck from behind, the individual in the vehicle suffered from severe neck and back injuries, classified as a significant whiplash-associated disorder. This condition included symptoms like reduced mobility, muscle tenderness, and spasms. These injuries were reported to prevent the individual from continuing work as a tow truck driver, although this consequence was contested. The trailer involved in the accident also jackknifed due to the impact.
  • $508K settlement: In an accident where a vehicle was rear-ended, two individuals in the vehicle sustained whiplash injuries. The driver also experienced worsening symptoms of a preexisting knee condition, leading to multiple treatments and the recommendation for knee replacement surgery. The defendant argued the collision’s impact was too minor to cause such injuries, suggesting the claims were exaggerated. The case involved disputes over the causation of injuries, especially concerning the severity of the impact and its effects on preexisting conditions.
  • $658K settlement: In an intersection collision involving a deputy sheriff in a squad car and a school bus, the individual in the squad car sustained a traumatic brain injury, spine injury, knee tear, post-traumatic stress disorder, whiplash, and emotional distress. The bus driver was accused of negligent driving behaviors, such as failing to maintain control and yield the right of way. The court found the bus service vicariously liable but concluded the injuries were not permanent, awarding the individual $658,500 for a disability lasting over 60 days, but denying additional claims for loss of consortium.

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Case Factors That Affect Whiplash Settlement Amounts

Severity of Injury: More severe whiplash injuries that result in longer-lasting symptoms tend to receive higher settlements.

🛈 Example: An individual suffers a severe whiplash injury that requires neck bracing for six months, compared to a milder case needing only a few weeks of physical therapy. More severe cases generally result in higher settlements.

Impact on Daily Life: If the injury significantly affects daily activities or quality of life, this can increase the settlement amount.

🛈 Example: A graphic designer experiences persistent neck pain and headaches, impairing their ability to work long hours on the computer, potentially increasing their compensation for loss of earning capacity.

Medical Costs: Higher medical expenses related to the injury, such as for treatment and rehabilitation, can lead to larger settlements.

🛈 Example: The total medical expenses for a whiplash victim who needed multiple treatments including MRI scans, physical therapy sessions, and pain medication might exceed $15,000, directly influencing the settlement value.

Documentation of Injury: Well-documented medical evidence linking the whiplash to the accident increases credibility and the likelihood of a higher settlement.

🛈 Example: If medical records clearly document the progression and treatment of whiplash starting right after the accident, the claimant’s case for a higher settlement strengthens.

Pre-existing Conditions: Existing conditions in the neck or back area can complicate claims and potentially reduce settlement amounts.

🛈 Example: An individual with a prior neck injury might receive a lower settlement if the insurer argues that the whiplash symptoms were primarily due to pre-existing conditions.

Credibility of the Claimant: The more credible the injured party appears, the more likely they are to secure a favorable settlement.

🛈 Example: If the claimant consistently reports symptoms to healthcare providers and avoids exaggerated claims, their credibility can lead to a higher settlement.

Fault in the Accident: Clear evidence that the other party was at fault increases settlement amounts, as liability is more clearly established.

🛈 Example: In a rear-end collision where the other driver is clearly at fault due to distracted driving, settlements tend to be higher due to clearer liability.

Insurance Coverage: The limits of the insurance policy involved can cap the maximum possible settlement.

🛈 Example: If the at-fault driver has an insurance policy with a limit of $100,000, the settlement for whiplash will not exceed this cap, despite actual damages.

Legal Representation: Effective legal advocacy can significantly influence the settlement amount.

🛈 Example: With an experienced attorney, a whiplash claim might settle for $30,000 instead of $10,000, demonstrating the impact of professional legal negotiation.

Settlement vs. Trial: Cases that settle out of court typically result in quicker, albeit sometimes smaller, payouts compared to those that go to trial.

🛈 Example: Opting for an out-of-court settlement might result in a quicker, guaranteed payout of $25,000 rather than risk a trial which could potentially award more, less, or nothing at all.

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Each auto accident case is unique, and settlement amounts for individuals who have suffered whiplash injuries as a result of an auto accident will vary based on many factors. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

Getting started with your 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 whiplash injuries as a result of an auto accident.

⚖️ All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront legal fees or costs — you only pay if you win.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are whiplash injury settlements calculated?

Whiplash injury settlements are calculated based on several key factors. These include the severity of the injury, documented medical costs, the extent and duration of medical treatment, the impact on the individual’s daily life and ability to work, any long-term disability caused by the injury, and the pain and suffering endured. Legal representation can also influence the amount, as experienced lawyers may negotiate better settlements. Additionally, the insurance policy limits of the parties involved can cap the possible compensation. Each case is unique, so settlements vary widely based on these and other circumstances.

How long will my whiplash injury claim take to finalize?

The duration of a whiplash injury claim can vary significantly based on several factors, but most car accident cases settle within 6 to 12 months. Typically, cases with clear liability and moderate injuries resolve in less than a year. However, more complex cases involving severe injuries, disputed liability, or extensive negotiations with insurance companies often take longer than a year to finalize. The process can be extended further if the case goes to trial. Each case is unique, so the timeframe can vary widely from one case to another.

How long do I have to file a whiplash injury claim?

The timeframe to file a whiplash injury claim depends on the statute of limitations in your jurisdiction, which varies by state or country. Generally, you might have anywhere from 1 to 3 years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. It’s crucial to check the specific laws in your state or the location where the accident occurred. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you ensure that you file a strong claim before the deadline.

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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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