It is not all that helpful to look at average settlement amounts in car accident injury claims because every case is different.
For instance, a labourer who suffers a whiplash injury or a lower back injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident will normally be entitled to much more than compensation than someone who suffers the same injuries but works in an office. This is due to the fact that the labourer’s career is likely to be significantly affected by his or her injuries, whereas the office worker would hopefully be able to make adjustments and be able to continue working, even if that is in a slightly reduced capacity.
The other thing that impacts heavily upon average settlements from car accident injury claims is which personal injury lawyer is representing the injured person. Some personal injury lawyers are far more experienced and knowledgeable than others and some personal injury law firms push harder than other injury law firms to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Having said that, there are some statistics which provide a general guide as to how much compensation someone who has been injured in a car accident receives on average. The findings reported in a paper presented to the Motor Accident Insurance Commission by the Australian Lawyers Alliance in August 2019 set out the following statistics regarding legally represented claimants compared to self-represented claimants:
- (a) Those legally represented reported settlement amounts averaging $78,000 and estimated their lawyer’s costs (which would include outlays) at just under $30,000.
- (b) Presumably the balance of approximately $6,000 would be the estimated statutory refunds [like refunds payable to Medicare, Centrelink, private health insurers and the like] for each claimant (averaged).
- (c) A person legally represented would receive approximately $42,000 clear in their hand after payment of all statutory refunds, legal costs and disbursements.
- (d) Claimants without a lawyer – those who chose to rely on the insurance company – received less than $8,000 ($7,839.05) clear, in damages/compensation for their injury. This figure is down on the 2017 average by over $5,000 from $13,481.
- (e) Thus, those with independent lawyers representing their interests, receive clear in their hand after all legal costs, statutory refunds and outlays more than five times the amount of compensation of those who relied upon the purported “fairness and professionalism of insurers” [the phraseology used in the MAIC report] and were not legally represented.