Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Indiana

May 5, 2024 | Car Accidents

Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Indiana

At the Fountain Law Firm, P.C., one of the most common questions we receive is, “How much is my car accident case worth?” While we would like to be able to give you an exact figure, this question is impossible to answer. There is simply no “average settlement” amount. 

However, car accident settlements can provide meaningful financial compensation to car accident victims. They can help pay for medical expenses, make up for lost income, and provide some compensation to recognize the pain and suffering the victim has endured because of someone else’s careless actions. 

If you were hurt in a car accident in Indiana, an experienced personal injury lawyer from Fountain Law Firm, P.C. can thoroughly evaluate your case and determine what fair compensation would be, based on the specific details of your case. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation. 

What Is a Car Accident Settlement? 

Before getting into the potential numbers involved in car accident claims, it is important to understand what a car accident settlement is and is not. Car accident settlements derive from tort law, which holds parties responsible for the injuries they cause others due to their negligence. Tort law aims to return the accident victim to the closest position to where they were before the accident occurred. 

Our founding attorney, Merry Fountain, suffered a personal injury in a car accident before she decided to dedicate her life to helping injury victims. She knows that what you want most of all is to have never been injured in the first place. Car accidents can take a heavy physical, emotional, and financial toll on accident victims and their families. While the accident cannot be undone, a car accident settlement can help ease some of this burden. 

A car accident settlement represents what you are willing to resolve your case for rather than pursuing your right to sue the at-fault party. Accident settlements are final, so it is crucial that you only settle your case after you have spoken with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer who has carefully evaluated your personal injury case to determine its maximum compensation and advised you to settle. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot try to request more money down the line, even if you experience additional injuries or incur additional expenses because of the accident. 

What Determines the Value of a Car Accident Settlement? 

Various factors can affect the potential value of a car accident settlement, including:

Insurance Coverage

Most car accident claims are resolved through filing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. In Indiana, all registered vehicles must have at least the minimum liability coverage, which pays for the damages the insured causes through their negligence. The minimum amounts of liability coverage include:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one individual
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death to more than one person in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

These are just the minimum amounts of liability coverage; drivers can opt to get additional liability insurance to protect their personal assets in case they cause an accident. Your car accident claim may be limited to the total amount of insurance available under the applicable insurance policies. 

The Number of At-Fault Parties

In some cases, there may be several parties who are responsible for the accident. In these cases, you may be able to file multiple insurance claims. This could potentially increase the maximum compensation you can receive for your accident injuries. 

The Nature and Severity of Your Injuries

The type of injuries you sustained and their severity can also impact the value of your potential settlement. The more serious your injuries, the higher the potential value of your claim. This is because insurance companies and courts realize that more serious injuries can result in more expensive medical bills, more time off work, reduced long-term earning capacity, and more extensive pain and suffering that can disrupt your life. 

Liability for the Accident 

Indiana is an at-fault state for car accidents. The party responsible for causing the accident is responsible for the financial consequences. However, there are many times when the accident victim may be partially at fault for the accident, too. 

For example, imagine you are driving down the road, going just over the speed limit when you are suddenly blindsided by a driver who ran a red light. The insurance company finds you are 10% at fault for the accident. In this scenario, your financial recovery would be reduced by 10%, since you were responsible for that portion. 

The Strength of Your Case

Insurance companies need an incentive to settle your case. If they think you could not win your case if you went to court, they might refuse to settle your accident claim or settle it for much less. An experienced lawyer can help gather and preserve valuable evidence to support your personal injury claim, such as:

  • Accident reports that cite a traffic violation or state that the other party was at fault
  • Witness statements
  • Electronic records
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene 
  • Reports from accident reconstruction specialists

Stronger evidence of fault and clear damages can translate into larger settlement amounts.

The Damages You Suffered

The value of your claim largely depends on the financial losses and other measurable damages you suffered in the accident. You can show the damages you incurred with proof such as:

  • Medical bills and records
  • Wage loss statements and pay stubs
  • Estimates for car repairs
  • Receipts and invoices
  • Entries in a pain journal 

Whether You Are Represented by Legal Counsel

Aggressive insurance companies sometimes try to push injured accident victims around, knowing that they are already suffering and anxious to resolve their claims quickly. They know you don’t have the experience to properly evaluate your claim.  Accident lawyers can protect the rights of injured clients and demand maximum compensation for a claim.

How Is My Insurance Settlement Affected If I Am Partially at Fault for the Car Accident?

Indiana uses a modified comparative negligence system in cases in which the accident victim can still recover if they are partially at fault for the accident. Under this system, you can still pursue accident compensation if you are not more than 50% at fault for the incident. 

As long as you are no more than 50% at fault, you can pursue an auto accident claim. However, your financial compensation is reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but were 10% at fault for the accident, your potential compensation would be reduced to $90,000 since $10,000 was deemed your fault. 

Range of Average Settlements

Car accidents can lead to cases resolved for nothing or up to millions of dollars. No reputable attorney can give you an exact amount that you can expect for your claim. There is no average compensation payout because every case is unique and depends on factors specific to the case. 

What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Car Accident Settlement? 

Indiana car crash victims can seek compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses that an injured party suffers in an accident, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Costs of care and support services for impairments and permanent disabilities caused by the accident
  • Costs to repair or replace your damaged personal property

Non-economic damages are other losses accident victims experience that cannot easily be quantified. These losses include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost quality of life
  • Lost enjoyment of life

Combined, economic and non-economic damages equal compensatory damages. 

Are There Damage Caps on Car Accident Settlements? 

Insurance companies and big businesses have launched attempts at so-called tort reform, purporting that accident lawsuits cost insurance policyholders and insurers too much money. Some states have given in to these demands and set damage caps that limit the amount of money plaintiffs can receive in these cases. Fortunately, Indiana is not one of these states. 

Here, there is no cap on settlement amounts or jury verdicts. The exception is personal injury cases filed against a state or local government. Indiana law limits damages in these cases to $700,000 per injured person and $5 million per accident. The law also bars the recovery of punitive damages in these cases. 

In other cases, punitive damages are capped at $50,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. Punitive damages do not compensate accident victims for any particular loss they suffered. Instead, they punish the at-fault party for their bad acts and try to deter similar actions in the future. Punitive damages are reserved for particularly egregious cases that demonstrate a wanton disregard for the safety of others. You would only receive 25% of the award and the other 75% goes to the Victim’s Compensation Fund.

How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help

If you were injured in an accident someone else’s negligence caused, an auto accident attorney can guide you through the claims process. An experienced personal injury attorney can help increase the value of any potential settlement by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the accident and gathering evidence to prove the other driver was at fault
  • Preparing detailed documentation to show how the accident harmed you
  • Communicating with insurance company representatives on your behalf so you do not say anything that could damage your claim
  • Negotiating effectively for maximum compensation
  • Consulting with you to advise you whether any settlement offer by the insurance company is fair compensation

You can learn more about how an experienced attorney can help when you contact us for a free case review. 

Deadline to File a Car Accident Claim 

It is important to know the deadline for personal injury lawsuits in case the time is running out for you to file a claim. Under Indiana’s statute of limitations, accident victims typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if it becomes necessary. If a plaintiff brings a case after this deadline, the trial court can dismiss the case as being untimely filed. 

There are much stricter limitations for filing if the at fault driver is a governmental entity and covered by the Indiana tort claims act.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer for Help

If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, an accident lawyer from Fountain Law Firm, P.C. can help. Let our dedicated team protect your rights while you focus on your recovery. Call us today for a free initial consultation. 


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