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What is the Average Accident Settlement Amount for Rear End Collision?



The average settlement for a rear end collision consists of both tangible and intangible costs. While you can easily calculate medical expenses, the other quality of life costs are harder to determine. We'll explain what you need to know about proper compensation.

What Do I Need to Know about Rear End Collision Accidents?
How Is My Accident Claim Paid?
What Is the Average Settlement Rear End Collision?
Examples of Rear End Collision Settlements
How Do I Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering?

What Do I Need to Know about Rear End Collision Accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were about 6,296,000 police-reported traffic crashes in 2015. Rear end collisions accounted for nearly 30 percent of wrecks or over 1.8 million. It is one of the most common types of accidents.

There has been a steady uptick of rear end collisions with over 1.6 million in 2011 and more than 1.7 million in 2012. Personal injuries and its expenses tell only one part of the story. Other expenses include lost productivity, insurance costs, and legal and court fees

The NHTSA estimated the direct costs of all motor vehicle accidents at $242 billion. Taking into account the indirect costs of things such as the impacts on quality of life puts the total value of societal harm at over $836 billion. The car accident settlement amount is likely conservative.

The Most Common Causes of Rear End Collisions

A study by the NHTSA found that the most common causes of rear end crashes were distracted driving, unexpected changes of events, and poor visibility. Unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and following too closely also increased the likelihood of wrecks.

What Is My Risk?

The NHTSA study found that men are 1.2 times more likely to have a rear end collision than women. Drivers between the ages of 25 to 34 years represented another high-risk group being 1.9 times greater rate of accidents than other age groups.

You may think that weather is a major factor, but the NHTSA found that most crashes occurred during daylight on straight, level roads that were dry. As you may expect, they are more common in business locations with over 60 percent happening in intersections or on ramps.

How Is My Accident Claim Paid?

How your insurance company pays your car accident settlement amount depends on who is at fault and if the accident claim is for vehicle damage or personal injuries. Your collision coverage will pick up the tap for damage to your car if you're at fault.

Your property damage liability coverage comes into play to pay for damage that at-fault drivers cause to others. Coverage for physical injuries depends on your state. If your state has no-fault insurance, the injured individuals are paid by their first-party personal injury protection coverage.

If your state has a traditional tort insurance system, then the person at fault will pay for the costs of personal injuries. In this case, your medical payment insurance will cover your at-fault expenses. Bodily injury liability coverage handles at-fault drivers and your at-fault costs.

What Is the Average Settlement Rear End Collision?

When it comes to determining a car accident settlement amount, there are both the tangible costs of damage and medical bills as well as the intangible ones of pain and suffering. We will consider each of these separately. Remember, there is no typical case.

The Distribution of Collision Coverage Claims

About one-third of collision claims are under $1,000, yet they account for only 4 percent of monies paid out. The distribution of claims is a right-skewed curve, meaning that the average or mean is much higher than the median or middle value of claim amounts.

An average figure for collision coverage claims is much higher than the reality. That is true because one large settlement amount can skew the data to imply a much higher claim.

The Distribution of Property Damage Liability Coverage Claims

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the average property damage liability accident claim is $3,115. As you may expect, minivans and large stations wagons had the lowest claim severity, while small luxury cars had the highest.

Examples of Rear End Collision Settlements

Some rear end collisions stand out as extreme examples of settlements. Take the case of Vishnu Siew from New York. Siew's stopped car was hit from behind on on December 26, 2012. He suffered neck injuries at the time and later had to have cervical fusion surgery.

Siew sued the owners of the vehicle that hit him four years later. The case was settled for $537,500 and $58,158 in Workers' Compensation benefits. This example shows the lingering effects of these accidents. It also provides a good example of the indirect costs.

Other times, rear end collisions can cause unexpected consequences. On November 1, 2013, Alfred and Ana Maria Sanchez were rear-ended and pushed into oncoming traffic on Interstate 10 in Yucaipa, California. Ana Maria suffered abdominal and spinal injuries.

The Sanchez couple took their case to court in June 2014. It was settled in January 2017 for $2,331,075.08. While it may seem excessive, it's worth noting that Mrs. Sanchez may likely suffer from chronic pain for the rest of her life.

Larger settlements often occur with cases where treatment including surgeries is ongoing. Such was the case following the 2011 rear-end collision involving Keisha Baa of New York. Direct medical costs played a major role in this settlement.

Evidence presented in court stated that an abrupt lane change by a city sanitation truck caused the rear end collision. Baa suffered multiple injuries that have required six surgeries. She has been unable to work since the accident, adding to her financial losses.

The case was finally settled in March 2017. The final settlement was a $4 million. As with the other examples, quantifying compensation for injuries can be problematic at the time of the accident. It may take some time before the actual direct medical costs is determined.

How Do I Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering?

The gray area when it comes to rear end collision settlements exists with personal injuries and their costs. It has two parts: direct medical expenses and intangible costs. The former is straightforward with documentation that you can easily obtain.

For the quality of life costs, you should document your course of treatment, working closely with your primary care physician. You should stick with traditional medicine rather than alternative treatments since the scientific evidence supporting them is limited, explains Mayo Clinic.

And your insurance company may not cover these treatments. Rear end collision settlements vary simply because people respond differently to treatment. Sometimes, injuries can cause chronic pain that lingers long after an accident, making it more difficult to quantify.

How Do I Estimate My Costs?

To get a figure, consider the NHTSA estimates for motor vehicle accident costs. These costs included both direct medical expenses and societal costs which are essentially what exists with a rear end collision with personal injuries. Less than one-third of accidents include injuries.

A general rule of thumb is to multiply the direct costs by 1.5 to 4 to come up with the total settlement costs. For example, if you had $1,000 in direct costs, your total settlement would range between $2,500 to $5,000 using this range.

The extent of your injuries and response to treatment will help to determine where you fall in this range. Expenses such a physical therapy or ongoing pain management will push your settlement toward the higher end of the scale.

If we look at the NHTSA figures, the quality of life costs are 3.45 times the amount of the direct costs of an accident. The estimates fall in line with what the research has determined for the intangible costs.

Rear end collisions account for about one-third of motor vehicle accidents. Distracted driving is the most common cause. The average rear end collision settlement takes the direct costs and adds 1.5 to 4 times this figure to determine the total amount you should receive.

Sources

$537,000 settlement in rear-end collision

Analyses of Rear-End Crashes and Near-Crashes in the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study to Support Rear-Signaling Countermeasure Development

California State Jury Awards Couple $2,331,075.08 For Rear-End Collision That Caused Their Vehicle To Spin Into Oncoming Traffic

Comparison of property damage liability losses by vehicle class and size/weight group, 2013-15 models

Distribution of collision claims by claim size, 2011 models

SKETCHES OF COURT: Car accident trial results in $4 million settlement

Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes

The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes

Whiplash


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