What Is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Friday, May 3, 2024

What Is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

You may be entitled to compensation if you sustained an injury after being involved in a drunk-driving car accident. Understanding the average settlement for a drunk driving accident can help injured victims plan their finances.

Even so, it is challenging to obtain an average settlement amount of losses sustained in a drunk-driving accident. The outcome of each drunk driving accident varies depending on its unique facts and circumstances.

A trusted Chicago car accident attorney can review your case and determine an estimated value for your settlement.

What Factors Affect the Amount of the Settlement?

Several factors come into play when determining a drunk driving settlement value. The factors can significantly vary from one injured victim to another, making it difficult to assign a figure for damages.

Understanding these elements and how they influence a drunk driving case can provide pointers for negotiating a fair settlement value.

Here are the key factors that influence the settlement value of a drunk driving case:

Nature and Severity of Injuries

If you sustained a traumatic brain injury, you’re likely to receive a higher settlement amount compared to a victim who sustained minor cuts. The hefty compensation value is meant to cater to medication, hospitalization charges, out-of-pocket expenses, diagnostic tests, and physical therapy fees incurred during your recovery.

If the events leading to the injury were traumatic, you may receive additional money to compensate you for worsened mental health.


You may receive a lower settlement value if there’s a dispute in determining liability in a drunk driving incident. If there’s no evidence demonstrating the at-fault party or blaming you for the accident, it may affect the value of your settlement amount.

Illinois adopted modified comparative negligence as the standard for recovery of damages. Under modified comparative negligence, an injured party may recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

However, the recovered amount may be reduced in proportion to the degree that the injured party was at fault. The application of comparative negligence means you’ll not receive the total expected damages if you were partially at fault for the accident.

Insurance Coverage

The at-fault party’s insurance coverage could impact the settlement value of a drunk driving case. If you’re pursuing a settlement from an uninsured driver, you may have limited options to pursue injury-related losses.

You could also face challenges with an underinsured driver if their coverage falls below your injury-related losses. However, you can recover your losses by filing an insurance claim against your insurer or a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Long-term Impact on Your Life

An injury with a long-term impact on your life often results in a higher settlement value. Suppose you sustained a broken leg that necessitated amputation. In that case, you may deserve a higher settlement value to cater to specialized equipment, structural adjustments in your home, and long-term personal care.

How Can You Get the Most Money from a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement?

While many factors determine the value of a drunk driving accident, some aspects are within your control. You can do a few things to maximize your settlement value.

Here are a few tips you can apply to enhance your settlement value:

  • Get Immediate Medical Attention: An insurer may question any delay in obtaining medical care after an injury. When you seek urgent medical attention, a healthcare provider will document your injuries, proving the extent of your losses.
  • Compile Evidence: Evidence of the accident will create a strong case against the at-fault party. Consider working with a car accident lawyer for legal help while compiling critical pieces of evidence, including a police report, witness statement, medical records, and mechanic’s report.
  • Know the Value of Your Claim: After an accident, an insurance company may quickly table a settlement offer. If you don’t understand the value of your losses, you may accept the first offer and leave money on the table. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate the merits of the offers and negotiate for a better deal that meets your injury-related losses.
  • Being Patient: While you may be eager to move on after an accident, enduring the lengthy court process could lead to a higher settlement value.

What Are Some Other Options Besides Settling?

Sometimes, an insurer may refuse to settle a valid claim or table a low-ball offer that doesn’t cover your accident-related losses.

There are several actions you can take towards getting a resolution, including:

  • Keep pristine records related to the drunk driving accident and the subsequent  insurance claim
  • Be ready to support your case with documents explaining why you’re unsatisfied with the decision
  • Contact your state insurance department
  • Contact an independent arbitrator to evaluate whether the insurer tabled a fair offer
  • Consult a trial-ready attorney who can file a lawsuit against the at-fault’s party insurer

Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Chicago, IL

Suppose you sustained a spinal cord injury after being involved in a drunk-driving truck accident. In that case, you may endure a worsened quality of life due to medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, and reduced productivity.

Never wait to seek assistance from an experienced attorney who’ll aggressively fight to maximize your settlement amount. Malman Law is a team of personal injury attorneys with decades of experience, giving us the skills to represent you. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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