SETTLEMENT VALUE BY ACCIDENT TYPE
Find Out the Average Settlement Compensation You Can Expect for Rear-End, Head-On, Pedestrian, Drunk Driving, and Other Accident Types
Case Value By Type of Auto Accident
On this page we will look at various types of auto accidents (rear-end, head-on, pedestrian, tractor trailer, highway, etc.) and the average settlement value for each accident type. Accident type is never really a major driving force behind the settlement value of an auto tort case. Certain types of injuries like a broken arm are going to have the same value whether they happen in a rear-end collision or pedestrian accident.
With other types of injuries, however, accident type actually does matter. When the case involves questionable injuries (e.g., soft tissue or back sprains) the insurance companies factor accident type into their settlement formulas. So the settlement value of a neck sprain will vary somewhat from a rear-end accident vs. a head-on collision.
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of auto accident. According to the NHTSA, rear-end collisions accounts for over 30% of all 2-vehicle accidents. Rear-end accidents have the lowest average settlement value of any accident type across all injury levels. The primary reason for this is because a large percentage of rear-end collisions are classified as “low impact” accidents. They occur at lower speeds and both cars are typically moving the same direction, so the force of the impact is generally much lower.
Insurance companies tend to view all rear-end accidents as minor fender benders. If the claimant is seeking compensation for any type of soft tissue injury that is not clearly and unquestionably the result of the accident, they can expect significant resistance from the insurance adjuster. Rear-end accidents are given consistently lower settlement valuations by insurance companies.
Head-on accidents include any direct, frontal collision between vehicles traveling in opposite directions. Head-on accidents often involve violent, high-impact collisions and are therefore some of the most dangerous types of accidents. Head-on accidents between 2-vehicles are relatively rare, accounting for under 3% of all auto accidents.
Head-on accidents have a very high average settlement value compared to other accident types. Insurance companies do not devalue injuries in head-on collisions in the same way they do with rear-end accidents. As a result, average values for head-on collisions are at the high end of the valuation range based on injury level.
SIDE IMPACT ACCIDENT
Side impact accidents include any 2-vehicle collision in which the primary point of impact is on the side of the vehicle (as opposed to the front or back). This includes so-called “T-bone” collisions in which the front of one car rams into the side of the other car. It also includes sideswipe accidents (usually seen in lane changes) where both impact points on are the side of the vehicles.
Side impact accidents are the most dangerous accident type. Side impact accidents account for 21% of all traffic fatalities. This is twice as high as any other type of accident. The reason side impact accidents are so potentially dangerous is simply a result of the way vehicles are designed. The side of any vehicle offers its occupants the least amount of protection from any impact. The front and back of a car can absorb an impact and protect anyone inside the vehicle. The side of a vehicle offers none of this protection.
Classification as a side impact accident generally will not have any impact on how the insurance company values the case for settlement.
A pedestrian accident occurs when a vehicle hits someone who is on foot or riding a bike, skateboard, scooter or any other non-motorized vehicle. Pedestrian accidents are a unique category because the pedestrian is completely unprotected and vulnerable to very serious injury or death from the vehicle. Death or serious injuries to pedestrians are common even at very low speeds.