How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
When you have sustained significant injuries in a car crash, it’s natural to wonder how much to expect from a car accident settlement. Many factors help to determine the answer to this question, including the severity of your injuries. Some other factors include the dollar amount of your property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages as well as whether you can return to work. In terms of the other driver, a jury will likely consider whether he or she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or acted in an especially reckless manner.
Obtaining a fair settlement often comes down to how much sympathy the jury has for your situation. It’s our job at the law firm of Raphaelson & Levine to demonstrate the value of your claim. To do so, we will prove to the jury that the other driver bears responsibility for causing the accident and that it has greatly impacted your life.
Common Injuries from Car Accidents
A critical factor in determining the amount of your car accident settlement is proving that the actions of the other party caused your severe injuries. Because we have represented thousands of people in your situation, our attorneys have extensive knowledge about the types of injuries people receive most often after a serious car accident and symptoms often associated with these injuries. Below are some of the most common injuries resulting from a car crash.
Bulging discs, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries are the most common types of back injuries caused by car accidents. A bulging disc happens when the sudden impact of the crash causes the disc in your lower spine to swell due to the tearing of its fibers. When you have a herniated disc, it means that a piece of the structure of your spine that separates vertebra and bones has moved out of place. Both bulging and herniated discs can be extremely painful and sometimes require surgery to correct.
A spinal cord injury can be minor, but it can also cause permanent paralysis. This happens when the force of the impact bruises, breaks or shatters some or all of the bones or vertebrae in your spinal cord. The following are some of the most common symptoms of spinal cord injuries:
- An absence of pain sensations
- Chronic pain
- Feeling pain sensations in an uninjured body part
- Loss of muscle control
- Loss of voluntary reflux functions
- Muscle spasms
- Paralysis of arms, legs, or both
- Permanent nervous system dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
In terms of a personal injury lawsuit, a car accident neck injury settlement amount tends toward the higher end because it is such a serious injury. Permanent paralysis could mean a settlement in the millions while lesser injuries such as chronic back pain might mean several thousand dollars. Although stating an average car accident settlement amount is challenging, you can feel confident in our reputation as a law firm that earns top verdicts and settlements throughout New York.
Head Injury and Concussion
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion, also known as mild traumatic injury (mTBI), are also common injuries after a car accident. A moderate or severe TBI usually causes a loss of consciousness as well as the following symptoms:
- Behavioral and personality changes, particularly impulsiveness
- Cognitive deficits, including problems with attention, concentration, and memory
- Permanent paralysis
- Speech, sensory, and/or vision impairment
Concussions can be much more serious than previously believed. While the symptoms of a mild TBI can mimic those of a moderate to severe TBI, they are usually less intense and most people recover in a matter of weeks or months. Unfortunately, about 10 percent of people who experience a concussion develop a post-concussion syndrome that can last for years. Some of the most common symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome include:
- Behavioral changes
- Emotional challenges
- Light and sound sensitivity
The average settlement for concussion car accident injuries has increased in recent years as people have gained a greater understanding of its long-term impact. Even so, it requires an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf to prove that you deserve a substantial settlement for the brain changes you suffer due to the actions of another party.
Some people may not think that a pinched nerve is a big deal, but this simply isn’t true. In addition to causing sharp or burning pain, pinched nerves can lead to memory loss and a feeling of numbness in the area that the nerve no longer serves properly. Pinched nerves are more common among car accident victims who have also suffered a herniated disc. The reason for this is that the fragments or bone spurs from the herniated disc can block nerve pathways and cause the above symptoms. The average nerve damage settlement from car accidents depends largely on whether the damage is temporary or permanent and how it impacts your future mobility.
Although fewer medical and legal professionals use this term, it’s still an appropriate way to describe what happens when the head and neck sustain such strong force that they suddenly and violently jerk back and forth several times. A car accident, for example, can cause the muscles and tendons in the neck to stretch further than they ever should. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with whiplash:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
- Sleep disturbances, fatigue, memory loss, and/or concentration difficulties in severe cases
Like other types of injuries, whiplash settlement amounts can vary considerably depending on a range of factors. However, this type of car accident settlement tends to be lower compared to other types of injuries.
Nine Factors That Affect the Settlement Value of Your Car Accident Claim
The average settlement handed down by a jury considers both your economic and non-economic damages. The first category includes an accident-related expense you have incurred such as medical care and property damage. Non-economic damages are more subjective and include such things as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Some plaintiffs also receive a third category called punitive damages. This means that the person who caused your injuries acted in such a reckless manner that he or she showed complete disregard for your safety.
Determining an average settlement isn’t easy, but we can tell you that juries consider the following questions at a minimum:
- Who caused the accident? While it might seem obvious that the other party’s actions caused the accident, keep in mind that New York is a pure comparative negligence state. That means the jury can reduce your payout by the percentage of blame it assigns you for contributing to the accident.
- What is the amount of your property damage? This refers to how much it will cost to repair or replace your car as well as personal items inside of it like car seats or a laptop computer.
- What are your medical costs? This includes everything associated with the accident, including the ambulance ride if you needed one, doctor and surgeon fees, prescriptions, adaptive equipment, and physical therapy.
- How severe are your injuries? You will likely receive a large car accident settlement amount if you received permanent injuries such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, or extensive brain damage. Minor injuries typically receive a smaller amount. However, this may not be true in your case especially if you suffer from chronic pain.
- How much medical treatment will you require? Some car accident victims only need to visit the doctor a few times while others require ongoing care for the rest of their lives. Having a medical expert speak on your behalf can influence how the jury considers this question.
- Are there dollar limits on the other party’s insurance policy? Unfortunately, some insurers simply don’t have the funds to pay what you deserve. You can feel confident that the team from Raphaelson & Levine will uncover additional sources of revenue that the insurer may not voluntarily disclose.
- What type of treatment did you receive? Insurance companies are notorious for deciding what they think is medically necessary and what is not. This can present a problem for you if you favor and have received the most help from alternative medical practices such those provided by a chiropractor.
- How strong is your case? We won’t bring a case to court unless we have a strong belief that we can win it for you. Just the fact that your case made it to court at all can give us greater negotiating power with the jury.
- Have you made any previous claims? If can affect your chances of a fair settlement if you have a reputation for filing frequent personal injury lawsuits. Even so, we will aggressively pursue your right to compensation when we think you deserve it.
These nine factors represent just some of the criteria that juries consider. We will discuss this in greater detail with you at your initial consultation and as we get further along in processing your lawsuit.
Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts
As you now know, the average amount to expect from a car accident settlement can vary greatly depending on a number of critical factors. Over the past twenty-five years, our car accident attorneys have secured over $500 Million in verdicts and settlements with individual payouts ranging from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.
Examples of our firm’s recent car accident settlements include:
- $1.5 Million Car Accident Settlement for a Nassau County woman with a history of prior injuries
- Multi-Million Dollar Settlement from the manufacturer of a defective automobile
- $900K Rear-End Car Accident Settlement for a New York photographer hit by a truck at a stop sign
- $865K Accident Settlement for a worker struck by a dump truck while driving a company vehicle
To view more recent case results, visit our Car Accident Verdicts & Settlements page.
Get A Free Claim Review
Our attorneys represent injured individuals every day and are proud of our reputation as the “voice of the injured” throughout New York. If you’ve been involved in a crash and have questions about how much your car accident claim may be worth, we invite you to contact us at 212-268-3222 or complete the free consultation form to speak with an attorney at our firm. We will help you understand the value of your claim, and will inform you of your legal rights, options, an estimate on how much to expect based on our experience, and your next steps.