Can The Type of Accident Affect My Claim?

Can The Type of Accident Affect My Claim?

April 3, 2023

Following a motor vehicle collision, you might be dealing with serious injuries and quickly building medical expenses while also being unable to return to work. Filing an auto accident claim might help you recover compensation for your medical bills, wage losses, property damage, and your non-economic pain and suffering losses. Here’s some information about different types of car accidents and whether your accident type might have an impact on the value of a potential settlement from the experienced legal team at the Avian Law Group.

Understanding Motor Vehicle Accident Settlements

Many people who have been involved in car accidents and are going through the claims process wonder how much they might receive in compensation through a settlement. However, every accident is different, and there isn’t a set value that can be quoted for the value of your claim. Instead, your attorney will need to carefully analyze the case-specific factors involved in your case to calculate a range of probable values within which you might expect a fair settlement offer to fall.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the average settlement for injury accidents involving passenger vehicles in 2021 was $22,734. For accidents that primarily resulted in property damage, the average payout was $5,314.

The settlement amounts vary greatly because the available compensation depends on the unique factors of a particular crash. Some of the factors that might influence how much the insurance company is willing to pay include the severity of your injuries, the likelihood you will fully recover, the length of your recovery, the accident’s cause, and more.

Factors That Influence the Value of Car Wreck Claims

How much you might anticipate receiving in an auto accident claim depends on the facts and circumstances involved in your accident. Since no two accidents are alike, the value of a car accident claim varies from case to case.

The following factors can impact the value of your claim:

  • Severity of your injuries
  • How long it might take you to recover
  • Whether you will ever fully recover or if you were permanently disabled
  • How long your injuries force you to miss work
  • The impact of your injuries on your ability to earn an income in the future
  • The extent of damage to your vehicle
  • Whether you shared fault or if the other motorist was solely responsible
  • Emotional injuries you might have suffered
  • Available insurance

While the type of crash you experienced might not be a direct factor in the value of your claim, different types of collisions might cause more severe injuries than others. For this reason, certain types of motor vehicle crashes might lead to higher settlement values than others.

Car Accident Types and Settlement Values

Car crashes can happen in multiple ways, and the type of collision can factor into the severity of the injuries those involved might suffer. Here’s a brief overview of different types of car accidents and their potential impact on settlements.


Minor accidents are those in which minimal damage is caused to a vehicle, and the people involved might only suffer minor injuries or none at all. These types of collisions also involve the lowest claim amounts. If you were uninjured but suffered some damage to your vehicle, you will likely not need to hire a lawyer to handle your claim. In this type of collision, the insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle. You might expect to receive a settlement offer for the cost of repairs and your medical bills (if any). This type of accident might lead to a recovery in the low thousands.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end accidents happen when a rear vehicle strikes the back of the vehicle in front of it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) completed an in-depth study of rear-end accidents and found that they account for an estimated 29% of all collisions that occur.

Most rear-end collisions are the fault of the drivers in the rear vehicles. However, there are certain instances in which the front driver might share some fault. For example, if the front driver was driving on a rural road at night with non-working taillights, the front driver might share a significant share of liability.

In most cases, however, the rear driver will be primarily or solely at fault in a rear-end collision. This means that the value of the front driver’s claim will not likely be reduced because of shared fault. California follows a comparative negligence rule under which a motorist who is partially at fault can still recover damages. However, the available damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the claimant.

Since a rear-end collision is typically the fault of the rear driver, the comparative negligence rule might not come into play when valuing a claim. Rear-end accidents can cause injuries that range from minor to severe, including whiplash, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and more. However, rear-end collisions often don’t result in as severe of injuries as other types of crashes and often result in relatively lower settlement offers.

Side-Impact Collisions

Side-impact or T-bone collisions occur when one driver strikes another vehicle on the side. This type of collision can be very serious and result in injuries or deaths. In a t-bone collision that causes the death of a passenger occupying the side of the impact, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In some cases, both drivers might share some fault. Injured passengers and the surviving family members of those who are killed might file claims against both drivers in that type of scenario.

Since t-bone accidents typically result in severe injuries or deaths, they often also involve higher personal injury claims and settlement values. If you were injured in a t-bone collision because of the negligence or recklessness of the other motorist, you might anticipate receiving higher compensation because of the severity of your resulting injuries and the length of your recovery period.

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions happen when one vehicle crashes into the front of another car. This type of crash might occur when a motorist engages in a variety of different negligent behaviors, including:

  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Unsafe passing
  • Wrong-way driving

Head-on crashes are often the most severe type of motor vehicle collisions and consequently often lead to catastrophic injuries and deaths. Because of this, they typically involve significantly higher personal injury claims and settlements than other collisions.

In some cases, head-on collisions will also involve punitive damages based on the egregiousness of the at-fault motorist’s conduct. Punitive damages are paid in addition to any compensatory damages and are generally awarded only when the at-fault driver’s conduct was particularly outrageous. For example, if you were seriously injured in a head-on collision because the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, punitive damages might be available and increase the size of your potential settlement or verdict award.

Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe collisions occur when vehicles next to each other collide along the side. This type of collision can occur when a motorist fails to check their blind spot when attempting to change lanes. It can also occur when a motorist who is being passed on a highway speeds up to try to prevent a passing car from getting back into the lane ahead of them.

These types of crashes can be particularly dangerous because they can cause both drivers to lose control of their vehicles and careen into other cars around them. The value of a sideswipe accident claim will depend on the extent of the injuries and whether the claimant shared liability.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes

Multi-vehicle or chain-reaction crashes can cause multiple injuries and/or deaths for those involved. These types of collisions can be caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and many other types of negligent driving behavior. Since a multi-vehicle collision involves several drivers, it can be difficult determining liability for the collision. You might need to gather evidence to provide to the involved insurance companies to show that you were not at fault. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney at the Avian Law Group can investigate what happened to make a liability determination and gather critical evidence to support your claim.

The value of your claim in a multi-vehicle crash will depend on the following factors:

  • The extent and severity of your injuries
  • Whether you shared fault
  • If you were partly at fault, your degree of blame
  • The available sources of recovery

Speak to an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney

If you were seriously injured in any type of car crash in California, you should consult an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney at the Avian Law Group. We can analyze your case and help you understand your legal rights and the remedies that might be available. Call us today for a free consultation at 888-465-0540, or submit your information online with our contact form.

Posted by

Michael Avanesian

Michael Avanesian, the founder and driving force behind Avian Law Group, is a passionate and dedicated attorney with a strong background in personal injury law. As a partner at JT Legal Group, Michael led the growth of the personal injury practice from a single employee to a team of over ninety professionals, securing over $2 billion in settlements for clients in just three years.

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