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While motor vehicle accidents account for 60% of all tort trials, most lawsuits involving car accidents settle out of court. As the following car accident settlement examples show, settling with the other party’s insurance company out of court eliminates the risk that a judge or jury will rule against you and ensures that you receive a sum of money in damages.

Arizona Car Accident Settlement Examples

A guide to car accident settlement examples in Arizona

If your case goes to trial, there is a 90% probability that it will go before a jury. Potentially, the jury could decide against you, in which case you get nothing. Settling outside of court means that you collect monetary damages, which can be significant.

You may think that insurance companies would be reluctant to settle out of court, but that is not necessarily the case. While personal injury attorneys who represent plaintiffs usually charge on a contingency basis, insurance companies typically have to pay legal fees no matter what. Therefore, tort trials are expensive for insurance companies. In the interest of saving money, they are often willing to settle out of court and usually end up paying less than they would have if the case had gone to trial.

Accepting a settlement out of court usually means that you receive less money than you were asking for in your lawsuit. That is often the compromise required to get the insurance company to pay out. Nevertheless, there are examples of car accident settlements in Arizona with significant payouts.

Collision Involving a City Vehicle

An employee of the City of Scottsdale who was driving a city vehicle allegedly turned left in front of another driver who had a green light. The other driver claimed ongoing injuries to her neck and back as well as a permanent injury to her ankle. She sued the city for $400,000 and ended up settling for $62,000.

Two-Car Collision Involving an Unsafe Lane Change

While driving on the highway, the driver of a vehicle tried to change lanes in a manner that was unsafe and struck another vehicle in the process. The collision totaled the other vehicle, and the driver suffered significant disruptions to workability and life activities. Settling before the case went to court, the injured driver received $125,000 from the insurance company of the driver who had made the unsafe lane change. This was the maximum that the policy would pay out.

Rear-End Collision Involving Pregnant Woman

A pregnant woman sustained significant injuries when another driver rear-ended her on the freeway and her vehicle caught on fire. She also suffered emotional distress due to her fears not only for herself but for her unborn child. Before the case went to trial, the pregnant woman settled with the other driver’s insurance company and received $235,000.

Devastating Collision Involving a Semi-Truck

The larger a vehicle is, the more force it exerts during a collision. Therefore, collisions involving semi-trucks can be especially devastating, as one married couple in Arizona found out. They were traveling with the right of way when a semi collided with their vehicle. The couple required emergency care, each sustaining serious injuries. Despite efforts of the insurance company to avoid paying damages, it eventually settled with the couple before litigation took place, paying out a total of $350,000.

Commercial Truck Collision Involving a Bicyclist

As destructive as a collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can be, the damages can be so much worse when a truck strikes a person on a bicycle. In a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle, the body of the cyclist bears the brunt of the force of impact. One cyclist involved in a collision with a commercial truck settled with the company’s insurer for $400,000, but only after evidence such as videos, photographs, police records, and witness reports clearly demonstrated that the driver of the truck was at fault.

Pedestrian Collision Involving a Police Car

In 2016, a woman in Phoenix sustained a lung contusion, a ruptured spleen, and at least 10 bone fractures when a police car struck her. The woman was in the crosswalk, and the police car was making a left-hand turn. The woman’s medical bills alone exceeded $236,000; she eventually settled with the city for $600,000.

Severe Collision Involving a Pedestrian

A careless driver struck a pedestrian who was walking along a roadway. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the driver’s insurance company attempted to blame the pedestrian for the collision. The case was settled out of court for $1 million, but only because expert witnesses were able to demonstrate to the insurance company that the pedestrian was not at fault.

Police Car Collision Involving a 3-Year-Old Child

A couple sued the city of Phoenix after a police cruiser struck their 3-year-old daughter and ran her over in 2016. The little girl and her older siblings crossed the street to buy ice cream from the truck that had stopped across from their home in front of the stationary cruiser.

The children stopped and looked both ways before crossing the street, as their parents had taught them, but the police cruiser struck the little girl and dragged her under the vehicle. Her mother watched helplessly, a crying 2-month-old in her arms. The girl’s two older siblings, ages 7 and 10, also witnessed the horrific accident.

Since the accident, the little girl has undergone numerous surgeries. During the accident, her face and head scraped against the asphalt. She has a traumatic brain injury. It is unclear whether she will ever be able to lead a productive life, though her parents remain hopeful. The family settled the case with the city for $10 million.

Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Car accident settlement amounts vary in Arizona.

Not every car accident case results in a large settlement. Examples of car accident settlements such as these make news because the amounts are so big. Every case is different, and many factors can determine the size of your settlement.

Nevertheless, car accident settlement examples such as these demonstrate that, if your damages are significant enough, with the help of an attorney you may negotiate with the insurance company for a large sum of money.

Wanting to get a more specific picture of what plaintiffs typically received in car accident settlements, Martindale-Nolo Research conducted a survey of its readers who had received such settlements. Based on the responses from the survey, the average settlement was about $24,000.

Nevertheless, this average doesn’t tell the whole story. The survey results also included percentages of plaintiffs who received settlements in certain dollar amount ranges:

  • 8% of respondents received car accident settlements over $75,000
  • 13% of respondents received settlements between $25,001 and $75,000
  • 21% of respondents received settlements between $10,001 and $25,000
  • 23% of respondents received settlements between $5,001 and $10,000
  • 35% of respondents received settlements of $5,000 or less

These results tell you that, typically, a little over one-third of all plaintiffs in car accident cases receive settlements of $5,000 or less, a little less than one-quarter receive settlements of $5,000 to $10,000, and a little less than half receive settlements over $10,000. Approximately one out of five plaintiffs receive settlements over $25,000.

Factors Affecting Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Discussing the factors that affect settlement amounts after an accident help claimants understand outcomes.

When discussing car accident settlement examples and typical car accident settlement amounts, it is important to remember that each case is unique. The damages that you can recover by settling out of court have less to do with what is typical in Arizona or the United States and more to do with the specific features of your case.

Here are some of the factors that the insurance company and your attorney will consider when negotiating a settlement out of court.

Types of Damages

In 2022, insurers in Arizona paid out $10,111,295 in property/casualty losses. However, this figure includes all losses, not just damages from auto accidents.

Losses from a car accident usually fall into one of two categories: bodily injury and property damage. Property damage refers to vehicle wreckage as well as harm to any personal assets. For example, imagine that you were transporting heirloom ceramic dishes in your vehicle that got broken in the collision. This would fall under the category of property damage, and you could receive compensation for the loss of your treasured ceramics as part of a car accident settlement.

Bodily injury from a car accident includes all injuries, from the minor to the severe, as well as loss of life. It is much easier to repair or replace objects that are damaged or destroyed in a car accident than it is to heal severe injuries. Furthermore, nothing can replace a human life. For this reason, typical car accident settlement amounts with no injury tend to be lower than the settlement amounts in which bodily injury or death has occurred.

Severity of Injuries

Typical car accident settlement amounts with injury are generally higher the more severe the injury is. The settlement includes compensation for medical expenses you’ve incurred in treating the injury. Since a more severe injury requires more treatment, it stands to reason that it translates to a higher car accident settlement amount.

Severe injuries from a car accident may include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Limb amputation
  • Third-degree burns
  • Deep lacerations

Sometimes an injury that seems relatively minor can have more severe complications. For example, a relatively superficial laceration or abrasion can still allow bacteria to enter the body through the skin, which can lead to an infection.

Lost Wages

While you recover from an injury you received from a car accident, you may be unable to work. If your injury is severe enough, you may never be able to return to your old job. A car accident settlement can include the wages you have already lost due to your injury as well as the wages you stand to lose in the future if you are no longer able to work.

Emotional Pain and Suffering

Not all injuries from a car accident are physical. You may suffer emotional or psychological effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder. These conditions can be debilitating and affect your ability to perform normal activities even though they have no outward signs. Pain and suffering is a broad category that includes the emotional and psychological effects of a car accident.

Arizona Car Accident Settlement Statute of Limitations

The law only gives you a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit after a car accident. The legal term for this period is the statute of limitations. All states impose a statute of limitations to file a tort, but the amount of time varies by state.

In Arizona, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit after a car accident is generally two years. However, this can vary based on the circumstances as well. For example, if the accident involves a public official, the statute of limitations is shorter. In the car accident settlement examples involving police officers or other city employees, the plaintiffs would have only had a year in which to file the lawsuit and must have filed the initial paperwork within six months.

On the other hand, there are circumstances in which the statute of limitations is longer. For example, you have three years in which to file a lawsuit if the driver who caused the accident had no insurance or had insurance coverage that was inadequate to cover your damages.

Car Accident Settlement Examples Demonstrate Why It Is Important To Hire an Attorney

You are more likely to obtain a higher car accident settlement if you have a lawyer to represent you. An attorney can file your paperwork and make sure it is on time. Lawyers have resources available to hire expert witnesses and investigate the case to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. Attorneys understand how the law works and are not susceptible to the intimidation tactics that insurance companies use to try to avoid paying. Having an attorney frees you to concentrate on recovering from your injury.

The differences between the typical car accident settlement amounts and the higher amounts from car accident settlement examples demonstrate why having a lawyer to represent your interests is so important in these cases. Contact us for a free initial consultation.