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What Is the Average Settlement in a Car Accident Case?

Anyone who gets tangled up in an accident in Chicago may have significant losses, especially if they get hurt. Vehicle repairs, personal property replacement, medical bills, and other costs are sure to pile up – doubly so if the injured person can’t get back to work for the time being.

Recognizing their losses, many car accident victims understandably want to know: “How much is a case like mine worth?”

The best way to determine how much your case might be worth is to speak to a car accident lawyer in Chicago near you. Langdon & Emison can help you calculate your full losses and determine the best potential sources of compensation. Learn more about your legal options and how much your case could be worth when you call (312) 855-0700 or contact us online to schedule a free case review.

While pinpointing an accurate “average” settlement can be difficult, the following data and statistics can help you understand the scope of your possible damages.

Illinois’ Costs of Road Deaths Estimated To Be Billions Per Year

In an effort to promote preventative road safety, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides state-by-state estimates for the total economic impact of road deaths.

Their figures for Illinois show that fatal road accidents incur $15 million in medical costs alone. Considering that nearly 1,200 people died from road accidents in 2018, that divides out to approximately $12,500 per case. On top of that, the CDC estimates that preventable deaths have directly led to $1.69 billion in lost productivity across the state annually.

If that sounds like a big number, then you may find the estimates from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute even more staggering. A report issued in 2019 aimed to compile more of the costs caused by fatal accidents. When accounting for medical costs, emergency services, lost productivity, and other factors, their estimate rose to $3.8 billion for the state annually.

That $3.8 billion number indicates the high value of lives tragically lost to road accidents, and it doesn’t even include damages related to the pain and suffering of family members. Accounting for all of these combined, the average fatal car accident case is worth much more than the CDC’s $12,500 estimate of average medical costs.

Average Accident Claim Amounts in the U.S.

Another way of estimating the possible settlement value of a case is to look at the average cost of settled claims. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) compiled statistics from decades of  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research to put a figure to this endeavor.

Unfortunately, data for such topics is sparse. As such, the most recent figures cited by the RMIIA are from 2013 incidents.

According to that data, the average property damage liability (PDL) third-party claim was $3,232. The average bodily injury liability (BIL) claim was $15,443. Combined, that makes the average claim $18,675 in 2013 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $20,836.33 in 2020 dollars.

However, there are two major asterisks to put atop this number.

First, this is the average claim. Since a significant majority of accidents only result in minor property damage, then these cases will drag the average number down.

Second, the figures represent claimed damages, not the final value of the settlement. In cases where the accident victim was negotiating with the insurer on their own, there is a solid chance that the insurer would use many tactics to argue that the real value of the accident is less than the claimed amount.

Further, some incidents that start as claims aren’t resolved until a subsequent lawsuit or court trial.

Average Trial Verdict Amount in Illinois

Another figure that can provide perspective sourced from publicly available data is the average value of a Chicago car accident case resolved through a favorable jury verdict.

Research from Jury Verdict Reporter determined that the median personal injury lawsuit verdict was $27,220 in 2009 ($32,978 in 2020 dollars). The research team also revealed that 51% of Illinois personal injury lawsuits that go to trial result in successful damages recovery for the plaintiff.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Estimates Based on Severity of Injury

Yet one more piece of information worth considering comes from a 2016 study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The study looked at hundreds of different factors that might influence the total economic impact of a crash in several categories of severity. Their calculations determined the following costs nationally, adjusted for inflation:

Category of Injury 2020 Dollars
Fatal (K) $1,828,212
Disabling Injury (A) $163,533
Evident Injury (B) $61,514
Possible Injury (C) $41,696
No Injury/Property Damage Only (O) $9,422

Again, these figures only aim to estimate the economic costs of the injury, including impacts on the economy of the state and country. Further, many third-party settlements will include compensation for pain and suffering and not just immediate financial losses.

Determine How Much Your Case Could Be Worth By Speaking With Chicago Car Accident Attorneys

The outcome of a case is never guaranteed, and looking at figures for the “average” case can be misleading. Simply put, every case is different. So when you are hurt in a car wreck, you should always focus on the best choice for the current moment rather than what has happened (or was estimated to have happened) in past cases.

Begin calculating your damages and determining the potential value of your case after speaking with an experienced attorney at Langdon & Emison during a free, no-obligation case review. Talk with our car accident lawyers in Chicago now when you call (312) 855-0700.