What is the average settlement for a car accident in the USA?

settlement for a car accident in the USA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021. NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. These statistics are truly outrageous, don’t you think?

The average settlement for a car accident in the USA can vary based on many different factors, including if there were any injuries, who caused the accident, whether or not the drivers are at fault, and what jurisdiction it falls under. 

However, the average settlement for an accident in the USA is around $20,000. The amount of money you receive will depend on a variety of reasons, which I would itemize below.

22 Factors affecting accident settlements

The amount of personal injury settlement after a car accident in the USA can be affected by several factors. It is important to know these factors as they will determine the settlement package one gets in cases of car accidents.

The average settlement for a car accident in the USA depends on many factors, such as:

  1. The level of injuries sustained (e.g., head injuries) 
  2. The type of collision (e.g., rear-end accident, side collision) – The position of the injured party in the car (e.g., a rear-seat passenger is at a higher risk of sustaining injuries than a front-seat passenger)
  3. Whether or not alcohol was involved
  4. Whether or not there were any witnesses,
  5. The amount of insurance coverage available to the injured party and the other party (the higher one’s insurance coverage, the more likely. The dispute will be settled out of court)
  6. Whether or not the parties involved were willing to accept a settlement offer
  7. How the parties involved have negotiated their settlement
  8. Whether or not any lawyers were involved in negotiating the settlement.
  9. The length of time required to negotiate the settlement
  10. The type of injuries sustained (e.g., brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, etc.)
  11. The severity of the injuries sustained (e.g., less severe injuries are treated and can be recovered from more readily than severe ones)
  12. Whether or not medical treatment was needed (e.g., will surgery be required) 
  13. Whether or not any follow-up treatment is needed 
  14. Whether one party had limited insurance coverage
  15. The extent to which one party’s injuries continued to affect the other party
  16. The amount of time required for the injured party to recuperate and return to work
  17. Whether or not the parties involved were at fault for causing the accident
  18. The amount of time it took for the parties to settle the dispute – Whether or not a lawsuit was lodged against either party
  19. The amount of money each party has to fight over (a bigger difference in monetary value can lead. It is similar to a plaintiff doing a lot of investigation and getting an attorney involved.
  20. The laws of the state
  21. Emotional distress
  22. Property damage

These factors are not set in stone, and most of them are flexible, meaning that they can be adjusted. All of these factors must be considered when determining the settlement amount for a car accident in the USA.

See also: What is the average settlement for a car accident with injury for big winners?

The Average Settlement for a child in a Car accident.

A car accident can have serious consequences for anyone. However, when a child is involved in an accident, the physical and mental consequences may be more severe.

Children are physically and mentally more fragile than adults. In a car accident, they are at high risk of suffering injuries, psychological trauma, and mental distress. In severe cases, a child victim of a car accident may suffer life-long complications.

There is no estimated average settlement for a child in a car accident, but the factors above hold sway in accidents involving children. In fact, because of the severity of the physical and mental challenges on the child, their settlement packages tend to be more than that of the adults

What is the Average Settlement for a Minor Car Accident?

Some accidents don’t involve physical injuries, just physical damage to the car and or property. Minor collisions tend to involve cases where the personal injury is minor, or not that serious.

Also, because of the lack of physical damage, a minor accident is less likely to be contested in court and settled out of court as well.

The average amount of settlement for a minor car accident is normally below $5000 per person.

What is the Average Time for a Car accident settlement?

The time a settlement is to be made is dependent upon the type of accident, the severity of injuries, and the location where the accident occurred. The process of settlement normally begins when you return the accident claim document to the insurance company and you both agree to settle the claim. 

The insurance company then compiles all the necessary information from its internal data sources, including car and driver details, damage caused by the accident, etc. After this, they look into the information and check if they agree with the claims made by you or not.

You may sometimes be required to provide some documents and appear personally before the insurance company. This is when the company needs to check all the information provided.

They may also need you to appear personally so that they can check if you have any injuries and see if you are fine enough to do the settlement process. 

The entire settlement process, in some cases, can be coupled up with a conference to discuss quite logically what your case is and how you can go about settling the matter. The company needs to have all the relevant information before they settle the case.

Often, the case may be settled with free claim forms if no serious injury has occurred and there is no need for medical attention. This type of settlement normally takes about 2-4 weeks after the accident.

For more serious injuries or injuries that need surgery, the case settlement may take a longer time, running into months, due to the fact that doctors and insurance companies will have to monitor your health and validate the substance of your claims.

According to the law, there are certain time limits for settling a case. They need to be aware of such time limits or else their case will be dismissed. 


The best way to go about this is to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will be able to guide the victim through the entire process, and he can even give an estimate of how much they will be able to get as a settlement.

It seems like an absolute no-brainer to me, as some law firms offer a “no-win, no-fee guarantee policy” that ensures you only pay them when they win you the case, ensuring you go home with the best settlement package you deserve.

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