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What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

January 11, 2023

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s likely that you spent the days following the crash dealing with your injuries, undergoing treatments and procedures, and waiting out the recovery time. In a very serious accident, you may even have suffered permanent disabilities that limit your income-earning capability going forward.

While your focus may have been on maximizing your recovery in the days after an accident, as soon as the medical bills begin arriving and your missed days of work impact your paychecks, you may begin wondering about how to gain back compensation for your damages.

What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?

What Damages Can I Claim for Car Accident Compensation in Washington?

In Washington, car accident settlements vary due to many factors, including the extent of the injured person’s economic damages and the percentage of fault they share in the accident if any. The circumstances of each accident are unique but you can get an idea of the amount you could gain in a successful car accident claim by understanding economic and non-economic damages recognized by Washington’s personal injury legal system. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries you could be entitled to compensation for the following economic damages:

  • Medical expenses and any future expenses for ongoing medical treatment, procedures, and appointments
  • Lost wages and future lost income for further necessary treatment and recovery time
  • Diminished earning capacity if you’ve suffered a disability from the accident

Washington also recognizes non-economic damages after an accident. Though monetary compensation cannot fix non-economic damages, it is the only way the legal system has to right a wrong when you were not at fault in an accident. Non-economic damages available in car accident claims may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • PTSD, trauma, anxiety, or depression
  • Loss of quality of life

It may be more difficult to arrive at a figure for non-economic losses that don’t come with an invoice, but most insurance companies and courts follow a formula to arrive at an amount based on your medical bills, which provide insight into the amount of pain and trauma you’ve likely endured based on your injuries and how the injuries will impact your future.

Average Settlements From Insurance Companies After an Accident in Washington

Every accident is unique and so is a victim’s pain, treatment, and property damage after an accident. Recent car accident costs in Seattle and elsewhere in Washington resulted in average settlements of around $41,000. However, an accident with only minor injuries and property damage typically gains injury victims less than $9,000 in compensation. More serious accidents involving temporary or permanent disabilities could bring a settlement of around $78,000 or more. Car accident claims for fatalities average $1,410,000.

What Can I Do to Maximize My Settlement After an Accident?

By keeping a cool head after an accident, you can take steps to protect your physical and financial future. While serious injuries may leave you able only to remain in place and wait for help, if you are able to move around safely after an accident, the following steps can help to maximize your compensation for damages:

  • After moving out of traffic, call 911 and report the accident
  • Render reasonable aid and comfort to any other injury victims
  • Use your phone to take photos or videos of the accident scene, involved vehicles, and any contributing factors, such as traffic signals, intersections, or road signs
  • Collect the contact information of involved drivers and eyewitnesses
  • Accept transport to a hospital and tell the doctor about every symptom
  • Ask for detailed notes and request a copy of your medical report
  • Follow all your doctor’s treatment advice and recommendations
  • Keep your medical bills and records
  • Obtain a copy of the police report
  • Call an experienced car accident attorney before speaking to insurance adjusters
  • Avoid posting on social media
  • Keep a journal or notes about your pain, treatments, and changes to your life since your accident

By providing an attorney with the tools they need to investigate your accident and craft a compelling case to present to the insurance company of the person at fault in the accident, you can maximize the compensation you gain for your damages after a car accident.

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