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What’s the Average Settlement for a Rear-End Car Accident?

Jul 01, 2021 Car Accidents
  1. 1. What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?
  2. 2. How Do I Calculate My Rear-End Collision Settlement’s Value?
  3. 3. Other Factors That Might Affect Your Rear-End Accident’s Settlement Value
  4. 4. How to Get a Settlement After a Rear-end Accident
  5. 5. What Are Settlement Liens?
  6. 6. How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
  7. 7. Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted Car Accident Lawyers

What’s the Average Settlement for a Rear-End Car Accident?

You were stopped at a red light, minding your own business. Suddenly, a truck rear-ends you, pushing your car into the middle of an intersection. Now, you’re living with severe back pain and your doctors are suggesting surgery.

Your car accident case is worth a lot of money, right? Maybe.

Many factors come into play when personal injury lawyers calculate the value of a rear-end accident settlement—and no two cases are the same. While it might be possible to find lists of rear-end car crash settlement amounts, or an average of every rear-end settlement from the past year, those numbers won’t tell you what your case is worth.

For example, someone who has only minor bumps and bruises from a rear-end accident will probably end up with a much smaller settlement than someone who experienced a brain injury and can no longer work.

This article outlines the essentials of Texas rear-end accident settlements and factors that might affect your case’s value.

What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?

When you settle a rear-end accident claim, you accept a lump-sum payment in exchange for giving up your right to file a lawsuit. This means that, once you’ve settled your case, you cannot go back and demand more compensation from the at-fault driver or the insurance companies.

Insurance companies typically try to settle cases for as little money as possible, and you should never assume that the adjuster’s offer is fair. Instead, you should always be cautious and consult with a Texas personal injury lawyer before taking a settlement.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Texas Car Accident Settlements

How Do I Calculate My Rear-End Collision Settlement’s Value?

A personal injury settlement is meant to make an injured person as close to “whole” as possible. This means money to cover medical care and income lost during recovery, as well as the psychological impacts of trauma, injury, or the loss of a loved one (in wrongful death cases).

Lawyers sometimes refer to these losses as “damages.” They also divide them into three common categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Insurance companies typically try to settle cases for as little money as possible, and you should never assume that the adjuster’s offer is fair. Instead, you should always be cautious and consult with a Texas personal injury lawyer before taking a settlement.

Economic Damages

After your car accident, you probably experienced a variety of financial losses. You’ll need to pay your crash-related medical bills, repair or replace your vehicle and damaged property, and you might be unable to work. All these costs and losses are economic damages.

Economic damages are anything you’ll get a bill for or money you didn’t get because of your injuries, including:

  • Hospital and doctor appointments
  • Surgeries
  • CT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic studies
  • Medication and medical equipment
  • Physical therapy
  • Counseling and mental health services
  • Ambulance rides
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income and wage-earning capacity
  • Replacement or repair costs due to property damage
  • Costs related to replacement services if you cannot perform certain tasks at home (like cleaning or lawn care)

You can help your car accident lawyer calculate your economic damages by collecting all your medical bills, paystubs, statements, estimates, and receipts.

While economic damages are easy to understand, they are not always cut and dry. For example, while you might know how much you’ve already paid for your medical treatment, it’s much harder to estimate your future medical needs. The same applies to your lost income—you probably know how much you’ve lost in earnings, but how much income will you lose over your lifetime.

At Crosley Law, our team often consults with experts like doctors, economists, and life planners to investigate and accurately estimate our clients’ future financial losses.

RELATED: Minor Collision Causes Major Injuries: Betsy’s Story

Non-Economic Damages

Some losses aren’t financial. Your pain, grief, fear, and other suffering are non-economic damages. Common non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of a relationship with a loved one
  • Mental anguish or distress
  • Physical impairment, such as  the inability to do hobbies and other enjoyable activities
  • Disfigurement

Unlike your financial losses, you can’t present a bill to prove that your pain and anguish. Instead, your lawyer might consult with psychologists and other experts, track your mental health treatment, and collect statements from both you and your loved ones.

Punitive Damages

Juries only award punitive damages in the most severe personal injury cases. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, these damages aim to punish a wrongdoer for their actions.

You might be eligible for punitive damages if the driver that rear-ended you acted intentionally or was very reckless. For example, punitive damages are sometimes available in drunk driving cases.

Other Factors That Might Affect Your Rear-End Accident’s Settlement Value

Calculating a personal injury settlement isn’t as simple as adding up your medical bills and lost income. Other factors might affect your case’s value, and you must consider them before you make a settlement demand.

How Much Insurance Coverage Applies to Your Case

The insurance policy limits of the at-fault party are important. If your costs are higher than their policy limits, and the defendant doesn’t have the resources to pay the rest out of pocket, you could come up short.

In Texas, drivers must carry policies that cover at least $30,000 in injuries per person, up to $60,000 per accident they cause. Additional coverage is available, but not everyone has it. If the at-fault driver was operating a commercial vehicle, like a delivery truck or an 18-wheeler, then the minimum required insurance is $750,000, and it’s likely that the policy limits are even much higher.

If the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance, you should look for other sources for coverage. Unless you declined it in writing, you should have at least a modest amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. This policy can supplement the at-fault driver’s insurance when your losses exceed their policy limits.

Similarly, you might have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which can provide extra coverage for your crash-related medical bills. (Again, your policy should include some PIP coverage unless you declined it in writing.) This is a no-fault policy that will cover some of your medical bills and lost income regardless of who caused the crash.

The Crosley Law team works closely with our clients to identify every policy that applies to their claims. It’s our goal to get you the compensation you deserve, so we aggressively work to identify everyone who contributed to your injuries and hold them accountable.

For example, we represented Miguel, a military veteran who was rear-ended by another vehicle. Miguel suffered severe injuries during the collision, but the at-fault driver was uninsured. We helped him file claims with his uninsured/underinsured motorist policy—and fought back when the insurance adjuster tried to blame his military service for his back and neck injuries.

The Crosley Law team works closely with our clients to identify every policy that applies to their claims. It’s our goal to get you the compensation you deserve, so we aggressively work to identify everyone who contributed to your injuries and hold them accountable.

RELATED: A Disabled Army Vet Get the Compensation He Deserves: Miguel’s Story

The Severity of Your Injuries

Rear-end accidents can cause serious injuries that are life-changing. Common rear-end collision injuries include whiplash, herniated discs, broken bones, soft tissue damage, burns and damage from air bag deployment, and mental trauma. Again, no two crashes are the same.

Our client, Lee P. was rear-ended by a young driver while riding his motorcycle. He and a friend were stopped at a traffic light when the collision occurred. “We were sitting at a light behind other vehicles, and the last thing I can remember was getting hit,” recalls Lee.

He suffered a serious brain injury, multiple broken bones, and organ damage. For a time, he needed breathing and feeding tubes to survive. Lee’s damages, both economic and non-economic, were profound—and we negotiated a $750,000 settlement on his behalf (after attorney’s fees and costs, he received $420,801).

If you were involved in a minor fender-bender and have some bumps and bruises, your case might be worth much less. (However, we’ll be grateful that you weren’t a seriously injured.)

RELATED: Motorcyclist Receives Settlement in Distracted Driving Crash: Lee’s Story

Texas’ Comparative Fault Rules

Texas is a fault state, which means that the at-fault driver (or their insurance) is typically responsible for the injuries they cause. How fault is assigned is a bit more complicated.

Usually, the driver who ran into the rear-end of another vehicle is at fault. However, if you contributed to the wreck, Texas’ comparative fault rules might apply to your claim.

Under our state’s laws, the insurance company can reduce your damages by your percentage of fault. So, if you were 25% at fault and have $100,000 in losses, you might receive $75,000 in compensation.

If you were more than 50% at fault, you receive nothing.

Insurance companies sometimes try to shift blame to crash victims, hoping to use these comparative fault rules to their advantage. If the insurance adjuster starts unfairly pointing their finger at you, consult with a lawyer right away.

How to Get a Settlement After a Rear-end Accident

The first step in securing a settlement of any amount is filing a car accident claim. Most of the time, rear-end accident cases settle out of court. However, be aware that the initial settlement offering may be well below what you need and deserve. It’s important to work with an attorney who knows how to negotiate and is willing to go to trial if necessary.

If the accident was complex or the defendant and their insurance company won’t agree to a fair settlement, you and your lawyer may decide to file a lawsuit. If negotiations continue to break down the case may wind up on trial.

Your attorney will guide you through gathering evidence, determining a fair settlement, and negotiating with the insurance companies. This is especially helpful if the defendant doesn’t have insurance or carries a policy that doesn’t cover your needs.

Once you and the defendant have agreed to a rear-end accident settlement or you have won at trial, the settlement check will make its way to your attorney’s office.

What Are Settlement Liens?

Settlement liens are when a third party has a legal claim to a portion of your settlement. In a personal injury case, this is typically the portion of your settlement that will pay the medical expenses your health insurance didn’t cover.

Medicare, Medicaid, and certain auto and health insurance carriers can have liens against your payout for a rear-end accident settlement. We work with our clients to fairly resolve these liens—and we sometimes can negotiate with the lienholders to reduce these expenses.

How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

Most, if not all, injury lawyers are paid on a contingency basis. That means that they do not get paid unless they help you settle your case or win at trial. You shouldn’t have any upfront costs or financial risk when you hire a car accident attorney.

Sometimes, insurance adjusters will tell you that hiring a lawyer is a waste of money. However, research suggests that people who hire lawyers receive more compensation than those who represent themselves.

Crosley Law has a “no fee” policy, where our clients never pay for their attorney’s fees or case costs unless we help them recover compensation. Our initial case evaluations are always free too.

RELATED: Crosley Law More Than Quadruples a Settlement Offer: Andrew D.’s Story

Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been in a rear-end accident, an experienced car accident attorney will be vital to negotiating and securing the compensation you deserve. Whether you’re suffering from whiplash, a herniated disc, or a traumatic brain injury, the team at Crosley Law is ready to provide a personalized assessment of your case’s settlement value.

Please contact our law firm at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete our short online contact form to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers.

References

Texas Department of Insurance. (n.d.). Automobile insurance guide. Austin, TX: Texas Department of Insurance. Retrieved from https://tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb020.html

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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