Average Settlement for a Car Accident: How Much Can I Expect?

One of the hardest things Indianapolis auto accident attorneys deal with is explaining to their clients why their case isn’t worth as much as they think it is. A lot of our clients envision getting on the stand and telling a jury their story. When we explain that more than 95% of all personal injury cases settle, our clients are often surprised. They hear the word “settle” and can’t understand why we would talk about a settlement so early in the case. The truth is that our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys have an awful lot of experience handling these cases. We know there’s a good chance your case will settle. We’d rather be upfront and honest. Nobody wants to give their client an unrealistic expectation when it comes to their case.

Just because we understand your case will likely settle, that doesn’t mean we don’t intend to work hard. Our goal is to get our clients as much money as possible. If that means we settle rather than go to court, so be it. There are a lot of good reasons why personal injury plaintiffs usually settle their case. Not only does it guarantee you a lump sum, but it also saves you a lot of money. 

Here, we’ll explain why settling is a good idea. We’ll also explain how the amount of your settlement is calculated. If you have additional questions after reading the information here, simply give us a call. Our administrative staff can schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have and find out what your case may be worth.

What are the Advantages to Settling Your Indiana Car Accident Lawsuit?

Most people we represent insist they want their day in court. When we first bring up the idea of a settlement, they aren’t happy. However, once we explain the benefits of settling their lawsuit, they feel much better. There are several advantages to negotiating a settlement. Some of these include:

  • It’s a lot cheaper to settle. You won’t have to pay for expert witnesses. Your Indianapolis personal injury attorney won’t have to pay the fees associated with discovery. For example, you won’t have to pay court reporters to attend depositions. You’ll save money on travel as well as things like postage and copy fees. 
  • When you settle, you walk away with a lump sum. If you go to trial and win, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see a dime. The defendant could file bankruptcy. Or the insurance company may close their doors.
  • You don’t risk losing when you settle. Just because you and your lawyer feel your case is strong doesn’t mean you’ll win. Anything can happen during trial. With a settlement, there’s no risk of this happening.
  • It takes a lot less time to settle than it does to go to trial. Some trials take over a year to take place. Depending on the judge’s schedule, it could be much longer than a year. With your settlement, you’ll be done long before that. 

When you consider these advantages, it’s hard to believe that anybody would choose to go to trial. 

You also need to remember that the defendant may not want to settle. If they feel they have a strong case, they may want to drag the case out for months or years. Even if they think they have a weak defense, they may still want to drag it out. Money in their pocket today is worth more than money paid out down the road.

How Much Will You Settle Your Case For?

As much as we’d love to tell our clients exactly what their cases are worth, we know we can’t do that. There are too many unknowns to make this kind of determination early in the game. However, there are some estimates Indianapolis personal injury attorneys make when evaluating a potential case.

  • The more serious your injuries, the more you’ll be paid. For example, a neck or back injury is worth more than a sprained wrist.
  • Certain injuries, such as whiplash, cannot be proven. They also heal rather quickly. Claims for these types of injuries are only worth a few thousand dollars.
  • If you suffer from severe injuries, you’ll be entitled to more in pain and suffering. If your Indianapolis auto accident attorney can show that you suffered more than the average person, you’ll be entitled to more money.
  • People who suffer burn injuries, facial lacerations, and paralysis are entitled to a lot more than plaintiffs with superficial injuries.

These are just some of the factors your lawyer will take into account when evaluating your case. Your attorney will encounter others as they work your case and talk to the defendant’s lawyer. 

Your Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney Won’t Force You to Settle

Just because most cases settle, that doesn’t mean your lawyer will force you to settle. If you really want to go to trial, they’ll do that. The same is true if the settlement offer is too low. You won’t be forced to accept a settlement amount that you don’t think is fair. You an ask your lawyer to go back to the defendant with a higher amount. Or you could refuse to settle outright. Since it is your car accident lawsuit, you get the final say. Just remember – your Indianapolis auto accident attorney isn’t going to negotiate any amount that doesn’t make you whole. You may not walk away with a ton of money, but you won’t walk away still at a loss. Your attorney has your best interests at heart. 

It’s a Good Idea to Talk to an Experienced Indianapolis Auto Accident Attorney

It’s always surprising to learn that so many car accident victims handle their cases by themselves. What’s even more surprising is that they do so without even meeting with an Indianapolis auto accident attorney. We offer all our clients a free, initial consultation. This gives them a chance to really discuss their case with somebody who knows the law. If they walk away and choose not to retain our services, that is fine. However, the hope is that they’ll understand how it can help to have a legal professional by their side.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash, all you have to do is call our office and schedule your free consultation today.

View these other frequently asked questions pages:

Should You Sue Someone With No Insurance for a Car Accident?

What Happens If Someone Causes an Accident While Driving My Car?

Can You Still Sue if You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?

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