What Are Some Typical Car Accident Injury Settlement Amounts in Texas?
One of the first questions most car accident victims ask is, “How much should I expect from my car accident settlement?”
After a crash, you may be dealing with significant medical bills and lost wages—not to mention physical pain, emotional trauma, and stress about managing your personal affairs and relationships. Considering that the average car accident settlement can take 18 months (or more) to resolve, you want to be sure the result will be worth the wait and the effort.
What’s an Average Settlement Amount?
An article published in Forbes, citing surveys conducted by organizations such as the Insurance Information Institute and Martindale-Nolo, found average settlements in 2020 to be somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000. The median was quite lower than that, with most survey respondents receiving less than $10,000.
However, these numbers reflect the fact that most car accident claims are for minor crashes. For every one person catastrophically injured in a car accident, there are multiple people who only need a few trips to the doctor, miss a day or two of work, and make a full recovery.
At Crosley Law, we handle cases of all sizes, with the aim of using our reputation and experience to maximize the value of each case. As a result, our average settlement in car crash cases is about $250,000—far more than the legal industry’s average car wreck settlement amount.
So, there’s really no way to say what a “typical” car accident claim is worth. Every case is different. Many are worth several thousand dollars at most. But some cases can be worth millions of dollars.
5 Main Factors that Drive Settlement Amounts
There are many factors that go into determining how much car accident settlements are worth. Here are five of the most significant:
- Medical expenses attributable to the accident. The at-fault driver is legally responsible for the cost of any medical treatment, medications, or surgeries that you require because of the accident.
- Lost wages. If your accident causes you to miss work, or even forces you to take lower-paying work, you can demand compensation for the lost income. This is why, for example, a young and highly paid professional who is permanently disabled due to a crash will tend to have a higher settlement than a similarly injured individual who is at the end of their career or retired.
- How clear the liability is in the case. Is it crystal clear that the other driver was 100% responsible for your crash? Or is there an argument that you were partially or even mostly at fault? Cases with clear liability tend to result in higher settlements. Further, if a court finds you partially responsible for the crash, you won’t be able to recover the full amount of your damages due to Texas’ comparative negligence laws.
- Amount of insurance coverage. Every insurance policy has a coverage limit of how much it will pay in a claim. In Texas, a passenger vehicle driver can legally carry as little as $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in liability coverage. (Some drivers even drive illegally without any insurance at all.) Whereas other drivers have million-dollar insurance policies, and even excess or umbrella policies above this amount. If you max out the policy limits on all available insurance policies, and the at-fault driver has no additional assets to collect, you won’t be able to obtain more in compensation regardless of how much you suffered in damages.
- Aggravating facts. Settlement totals are often a reflection of how much the insurance company thinks a jury would award if the case goes to trial. If there are aggravating facts that make the defendant less sympathetic—for example, they were drunk, lied in deposition, falsified logbooks, etc.—juries tend to award much higher compensation than cases where the crash was caused by an “innocent mistake.”
A Few Big Car Accident Settlement Examples
Over the years, the team at Crosley Law has obtained several significant settlements and verdicts for people injured in automobile collisions. Here are a few examples from just the last couple of years:
- In late 2021, we helped a young man and his family obtain a $20 million settlement after he was run over by a careless delivery driver while riding his bicycle.
- In 2022, we helped a client obtain $4 million following a trial for a crash involving an 18-wheeler. He injured his hip and neck in the crash, and ultimately required neck surgery.
- Also last year, we helped our client Carla obtain total compensation of $1.95 million after she was rear-ended by a distracted driver. This case was notable because, due to the primary point of impact being the trailer hitch on Carla’s truck, there wasn’t much damage to her vehicle—but a lot of damage to her neck, shoulders, and back.
So, yes, sometimes car accident claims can be worth millions—and if your case is one of them, our team will fight to get you every penny.
So what are some of the key factors involved in determining the final settlement for your Texas car accident claim? Let’s take a look.
Available Insurance Coverage Plays a Huge Role
As noted above, it’s important to understand that there might be a hard upper limit to how much you receive in compensation—liability insurance coverage maximums.
In Texas, drivers are only required to have a minimum of $30,000 per person in liability insurance on their personal vehicles, which maxes at only $60,000 per accident even if multiple people are hurt. That means, no matter how badly a driver hurt someone else in a car accident, their insurance company will only pay up to these limits.
Insurance requirements are much higher if the at-fault driver behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. But the majority of car accidents involve only private drivers and passenger vehicles.
You Can Protect Yourself by Purchasing Good UM/UIM Coverage
If you have serious car accident injuries, it isn’t too hard to blow past these minimum coverage limits, especially if you needed surgery or missed a lot of work. And if the other driver has no other assets to pay your damage claim and there are no other liable parties, you’ll need to seek compensation from your own insurance policies—that is, if you purchased them.
We cannot stress this enough—we strongly encourage everyone to purchase as much uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) as they can reasonably afford from their own auto insurance company. Most Texas drivers don’t carry more than the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. A small monthly investment in good UM/UIM coverage can make a drastic difference if you end up hurt in an auto accident.
One of the examples we gave above, Carla, makes this point very clear. We got her $1.95 million in total compensation, but it was only because she had wisely chosen to purchase a large amount of UM/UIM coverage from her own car insurance company. Without that policy, she would have obtained far less.
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
When you make a demand for compensation, there are typically two major categories of compensatory damages you can claim:
- Economic damages cover monetary losses related to your car accident injury, both now and in the future. Think hospital bills, surgeries, lost wages, and costs of household services.
- Non-economic damages cover losses that are harder to quantify, but no less important. If your accident resulted in ongoing chronic pain, emotional distress, and loss of your ability to spend quality time with your family, those would all be examples of non-economic damages.
The actual calculations that go into estimating settlement amounts can be quite complex. But generally speaking, the more seriously you’ve been injured, the more a jury may agree that your case is worth.
If you only had to visit the doctor a few times, missed a couple of weeks of work, and made a complete physical and mental recovery within a month or two, chances are your car accident case isn’t going to be worth millions, regardless of how much coverage the at-fault driver is carrying.
On the other hand, crashes that result in severe injuries, chronic pain, disfigurement, disability, or other long-term or permanent effects on your life can be worth much more.
In severe injury cases, the value of non-economic damages can greatly exceed the value of economic damages. Non-economic damages are often calculated as a multiple of the economic damages—frequently between 1 and 3.
However, each case is different. There are situations where a case might have fairly low economic costs but serious, life-altering non-economic consequences worthy of much higher compensation.
Because damage calculations are so subjective, the insurance company has a strong incentive to minimize the significance of your losses. Working with an experienced Texas car accident attorney is the best way to fight for a fair settlement that fully accounts for the true scope of your injuries.
Car Crash? Call Crosley
Crosley Law has been helping crash victims get justice since 2005, and attorney Tom Crosley has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers list for 17 consecutive years. If you or someone you love has been hurt in an auto accident, call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Crosley Law car accident lawyer. You can reach our office at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our brief contact form.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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