If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, rest assured that you’re not alone. Just last year, nearly 130,000 accidents occurred in Arizona. More than 54,000 people suffered injuries, and almost 1,000 were killed due to the negligence of another driver.
As you begin to navigate the settlement process, it might be comforting to learn of other auto accident victims who have been through a similar predicament. Take a look at recent personal injury settlement stories to discover what might come next in your legal journey.
Plus, learn key bits of advice from trusted car accident settlement lawyers.
Top 10 Auto Accident Settlement Success Stories
While it might sound odd to call the outcome of a traumatic auto accident a “success story,” any car crash that results in justice for the victim is a success in the eyes of the law. What’s even better is when the settlement offer awarded to the victim is proportionate to their amount of economic damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn more about how car accident injuries are classified and how much victims may receive in compensation, consider these 10 significant auto injury settlement amounts.
1. $1.2 Million for Car Accident Injury
A 43-year-old man was traveling northbound when he was T-boned on his passenger side by another motorist. The victim had no traffic signals controlling his route of travel, but the at-fault motorist was supposed to yield to a stop sign. The victim claimed the at-fault motorist was negligent for failing to stop. The at-fault motorist argued his vision was partially obstructed by a vehicle parked on the corner, and he couldn’t see the stop sign or the victim. The motorist also claimed that the victim was traveling at an excessive speed.
After the car crash, the victim received a variety of diagnostic tests, including an MRI of his spine. The results revealed a variety of traumatic car accident effects, including two herniated discs in his neck and two herniated discs in his lower back. After months of failed conservative treatments, the victim received a spinal fusion surgery and a discectomy surgery. The victim made claims for past and future medical treatment, pain and suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Both parties negotiated a $1,200,000 pretrial settlement.
2. $1.4 Millon Car Accident Settlement Amount for Victim Injured on the Job
The victim—a 48-year-old hospital employee—was working in an ambulance when this car crash occurred. The ambulance was transporting a patient in a non-emergency setting. As the ambulance proceeded through a green light, a motorist turned left, striking the emergency vehicle. The victim claimed that because the other motorist was making a left turn, he had failed to observe traffic straight ahead. The motorist, however, claimed the victim was the cause of the accident.
The victim suffered cervical spine damage and ultimately required a cervical discectomy. Following the surgery, doctors believed the victim would require a second fusion to heal his neck injuries. Unfortunately, the victim had a pre-existing, life-threatening heart condition that prevented him from receiving additional surgery. The court ruled that despite the victim’s heart condition, the at-fault driver still owed him compensation because of the accident-inflicted neck injuries. The victim received a $1,475,000 car accident back injury settlement.
3. $2 Million for Multi-Car Pileup Accident Injuries
A 44-year-old New Jersey man was a victim in a chain-reaction car accident with an SUV, pickup truck, and sedan. The victim’s car was the third in a four-car pileup. As a result of the accident, he received two disc herniations in his lower back, which led to leg radiculopathy and nerve root irritation. The victim required epidural steroid injections to help alleviate pain and regain his normal range of motion. However, doctors determined his injuries would likely be long-lasting.
The victim alleged that the initiating driver’s negligence caused his permanent injuries. The initiating driver admitted liability for the accident but disputed the injury claims. Instead, the driver argued the other vehicles in the pileup were to blame for the victim’s permanent injury. Fortunately, a jury verdict found the initiating driver accountable for all injuries and awarded the victim $2,083,105.
4. $2.76 Million Settlement Offer for a Side-Impact Accident
Double-parking your car isn’t always the wisest decision, and a 60-year-old retiree learned this lesson the hard way. The man was sitting in his double-parked car on a two-way road when a United Parcel Service (UPS) truck operator approached from behind. The UPS operator entered the opposite lane to pass the victim’s vehicle but was met with oncoming traffic. The UPS operator suddenly swerved back into the victim’s lane, colliding directly into the victim’s double-parked vehicle.
The victim suffered severe injuries to his neck and back, including multiple herniated discs. The disc damage resulted in cervical radiculopathy, causing significant nerve pain. The victim required an anterior cervical discectomy, cervical fusion, and lumbar fusion surgery to repair the damage. He received a $2.76 million cervical spine injury settlement.
5. $4.25 Million for Rear-End Collision
A 42-year-old man was involved in a rear-end car accident while stopped at a red light. He experienced pain in his back and left leg immediately after the accident. Doctors began conservative medical treatments, including physical therapy and lumbar steroid epidural injections. However, the victim ultimately required a decompressive laminectomy for degenerative spondylosis. Soon after, he underwent a second spinal fusion surgery to further repair the damage.
Despite continuous pain management, the victim continued to experience pain so severe that he was unable to return to his career as a copy machine technician. The case settled in a mediation just days before the trial date, and the victim received a $4.25 million settlement.
6. $4.6 Million for Whiplash Accident Injuries
A 53-year-old male was severely injured when a negligent driver ran a stop sign and slammed into the passenger side of his vehicle.
The injury victim experienced severe skin trauma and sustained both avulsions and lacerations to the face when his car windshield exploded. Shortly after the accident, the victim began to experience delayed neck and back pain. Diagnostic tests revealed he suffered herniated discs in his lower back and severe whiplash in his neck.
The victim required cervical and lumbar fusion surgery to repair the damage. He also underwent hours of physical therapy to improve the swelling, stiffness, and pain the accident caused. He ultimately received a $4.6 million whiplash settlement.
7. $5.1 Million for a Hit-and-Run Case
This hit-and-run accident case paired insult with injury. A man in New York was a passenger in a company-owned truck when a negligent driver ran a stop sign and collided with the truck’s passenger side. The victim suffered immediate distress, but the at-fault driver fled the scene. Medical imaging revealed the victim sustained disc bulges at two spots in his lumbar spine and disc protrusions at three spots in his cervical spine.
The victim received spinal fusion surgery in two separate areas. Afterward, he began weekly treatment of chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, and acupuncture. Sadly, his range of motion remained severely impacted, and he was unable to return to his career as a landscaper. He received a $5,160,916 verdict for his car accident injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
8. $22.5 Million for a Head-On Collision with Severe Crash Injuries
A 32-year-old woman was driving in the winter when she approached a snow-covered portion of the road. She significantly reduced her speed to pass through the area safely. As the road began to curve left, the victim saw a pair of headlights from an approaching vehicle.
The oncoming vehicle was driving diagonally towards her, drifting into her lane.
The victim attempted to avoid hitting the oncoming vehicle by steering to the right but found that her traction was compromised by black ice on the road.
She collided with the vehicle head-on, totaling her car and suffering severe crush injuries to her left arm and elbow. She sustained compound, comminuted fractures, as well as a severed ulnar nerve. The victim required over 20 surgical interventions, including an allograft, and required treatment for an MRSA infection she acquired while at the hospital.
Interestingly enough, the victim’s accident was not the first in the area. An investigation revealed two similar incidents that occurred within the few weeks before the victim’s crash. The state was well-aware of the road’s icy conditions. In fact, the road was so icy that when firemen brought out the “jaws of life” to rescue the victim, they had trouble keeping their balance. The victim was awarded a total settlement amount of $22,500,000.
9. $90 Million Settlement for a Celebrity Walmart Truck Accident
This $90 million settlement involving actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is one of the most famous personal injury cases. Morgan was traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike with his assistant Jeffrey Millea, his assistant’s wife Krista Millea, comedian Ardie Fuqua, and comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair when the vehicle was struck by a Walmart delivery truck. The truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and was speeding. Investigators discovered the driver had been awake and driving for more than 24 hours before the accident, which is a violation of federal law intended to prevent fatigue-induced accidents.
Comedian James McNair, was killed in the truck accident. His children filed a wrongful death lawsuit and received $10 million. Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), broken ribs, and a broken leg. The Milleas and Fuqua suffered various non-threatening injuries.
The three surviving parties filed a personal injury lawsuit against Walmart Inc. Though the terms of the settlement are confidential, it’s believed the parties received a $90 million settlement check.
10. $100 Million for a Tragic Truck Accident
A Chicago reverend’s life permanently changed after he was in a traumatic motor vehicle accident with his wife and six children. The accident occurred when the taillight assembly detached from a Transamerica Leasing tractor-trailer and became lodged in the family’s gas tank. The collision immediately caused sparks, igniting an explosion that engulfed the vehicle.
The reverend and wife barely escaped the flaming vehicle. However, their six children tragically perished in the crash. The couple filed a truck accident lawsuit against the shipping company Transamerica Leasing, Inc. They settled out of court for $100 million.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Settlements
Though the above car accident settlement stories aren’t the most light-hearted, they do provide hope of success. And the “success” is that accident victims can receive maximum compensation for the negligence taken against them. But now that you know how much compensation can be granted in a car accident settlement, you probably have quite a few questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions our car accident attorneys receive.
1. How Much Should I Settle for My Car Accident?
Car accident settlements can vary greatly depending on multiple factors, so this is a hard question to answer without knowing the details of your specific case. However, there are two main factors to consider when settling an accident claim:
- The seriousness of the injury
- The amount of available insurance coverage
- Seriousness of the Injury
The seriousness of the injury refers to the injury itself, as well as the associated healing time and medical bills. For instance, a traumatic head injury may require months or even years to heal and can rack up extensive medical expenses. A spinal injury that requires back surgery is another example of a serious injury that requires serious medical treatment. These types of injuries typically result in a higher payout. Minor injuries, such as a sprained wrist or laceration, will likely not result in a high settlement amount.
Amount of Available Insurance Coverage
The amount of available insurance refers to the policy limit of the at-fault driver. In some cases, a driver has one insurance policy for a set amount of money, and the victim’s injuries exceed the policy limit. In other cases, there are multiple insurance policies to recover compensation from. For example, a truck accident typically involves the at-fault driver’s insurance as well as the company that hired the truck driver and the owner of the truck. It’s wise to hire an auto accident attorney that can investigate all available insurance coverage, so you can receive a fair settlement.
2. How Much Should I Ask for in Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident?
Pain and suffering is directly related to the actual suffering a victim experienced based on their injuries. Similar to how the seriousness of an injury can impact an overall settlement amount, an injury’s severity also determines the total amount of pain and suffering.
For example, a victim who is bed-ridden for a year will likely receive more pain and suffering compensation than a victim who only required four sessions of physical therapy.
Most insurance companies use the multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. First, an insurance adjuster rates pain and suffering on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the mildest and 5 being the most severe. They bear in mind all medical bills, emotional distress, property damage, and attorney fees. Once the insurance adjuster decides on a number, they multiply it by the total amount of economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
The equation looks like this: (All economic damages) X (Pain and suffering rating) = Total pain and suffering.
It can be difficult to price all of your existing damages on your own. Consider seeking the help of a personal injury attorney to file a pain and suffering claim.
3. Should I Settle Through the Insurance Company or File a Lawsuit?
Whether to settle through the insurance company or file a lawsuit is another question that requires the individual details of your car accident case. It’s important to remember that if you settle a claim through the insurance company, you will likely have to sign a release.
This release will prevent you from ever filing another claim relating to your accident, so if your condition worsens, you cannot seek further compensation.
Another factor to consider is the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. Sometimes, there’s simply not enough insurance coverage to compensate for all of the damages. In other cases, the driver is an uninsured motorist, so you cannot file an insurance claim. When you are left with medical bills or debt despite trying to go through insurance, you should file a lawsuit.
4. Do I Need an Auto Accident Attorney to Get a Car Accident Settlement?
Legally, you do not need an attorney to receive a car accident settlement. However, without an attorney, you face your car accident case alone. This means you’ll be up against a team of professional attorneys and insurance adjusters who work full-time negotiating against accident victim settlements. They may give you a fair settlement, low-ball you, or even deny your claim.
Chances are, you’re not as knowledgeable as an attorney when it comes to your legal rights, alternative avenues, or how to fight back.
If your case ends up going to trial, you’ll have to face a jury verdict in court with no legal representation. So, while you don’t need an attorney by law, you probably won’t regret having one by your side.
5. How Do I Get the Most Money from an Auto Accident?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions at every law firm. To reiterate our previous point, each personal injury case is different and will require individual legal advice. Generally speaking, you need to have suffered a severe injury to receive a substantial settlement. Of course, you never want to be badly injured. However, a settlement is to provide for damages you’ve sustained—without an injury to generate damages, you cannot have a settlement.
Next, you and your attorney need to preserve as much evidence as possible. Photographs, interviews with witnesses, and medical documentation of your injuries are necessary to receive a fair settlement. Without proper evidence, it’s impossible to prove to the insurance company that you’ve been badly injured.
Lastly, you need to know how much your case is truly worth to get the most money possible. This last step is the hardest for someone who doesn’t have a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can accurately price your damages so you can settle for a fair amount.
Seek a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve recently been involved in a vehicle collision, follow suit with the settlement success stories above and seek the guidance of a trusted accident lawyer. An accident lawyer can provide a complimentary case evaluation so you can be sure you’re receiving a fair settlement from the insurance company. And if your settlement amount is unsatisfactory, an attorney can fight for your right to the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait, contact an attorney today.