When you are injured by another party you are likely thinking about your options to get compensation for your damages against the at-fault party. The reality is that suffering from a personal injury can result in not only physical but many financial impacts in your daily life. The aftermath of an accident is often overwhelming and filled with uncertainty about your future health and finances. A common question from injured parties is how much of a payout can they expect from their personal injury claim and how much should they be seeking.
What is a Personal Injury Settlement?
It is important to distinguish between a personal injury settlement and a personal injury judgment. The ultimate goal of a personal injury settlement is to reach an agreement with the at-fault party on your compensation for damages. In turn, the case will not proceed with a trial in court. A settlement can be reached at any time in a personal injury matter before a verdict is entered by the court. Most cases involving personal injury claims reach a settlement before a verdict is entered. Yet, there are some cases where an agreement cannot be reached and the matter can then proceed to trial.
How Much Should You Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Personal injury claims are a complex matter best dealt with the help of an experienced and professional personal injury lawyer. Each personal injury case presents a unique set of circumstances that requires a personalized evaluation and consideration of your case. There are many factors used to determine how much you can seek specific damages in your case. Without a thorough assessment and in-depth research of your particular case, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimation of how much compensation you could ultimately be entitled to. There are some basic concepts that are followed when making calculations of damages in a personal injury case and the calculation of a potential settlement.
How to Calculate the Settlement Amount in a Personal Injury Case?
The amount you can or should seek in a personal injury matter must take into account several elements, in order to reach an amount that protects your legal rights and best interests in the case. After all, the purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to ultimately receive compensation for the personal damages you have incurred from the negligent act or inaction of another party or parties. You should make certain you are seeking out compensation for all damages that you are legally entitled to.
Types of damages to include a personal injury settlement calculation include:
Medical expenses — All medical bills and costs related to your injury now and in the future including emergency care, treatment, and rehabilitation. Oftentimes, the extent of your injuries and your future needs may not be fully known at the time of settlement. A personal injury attorney can help guide you and seek the expert knowledge needed to estimate the future costs of medical expenses related to your injuries.
Loss of Income — You are entitled to seek compensation for not only your lost wages now but those in the future as well as your ability to earn income. If your injuries have affected your ability to carry out your work duties and potential to earn income you may be entitled to compensation for these current and future losses.
Pain & Suffering — Injured parties have a legal right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering endured as a result of their injuries. Whether the pain is temporary or lifelong you can recover monetary compensation for the discomfort and pain you have lived with and may continue to live with down the road.
Punitive Damages — In some personal injury cases it may be found that an opposing party acted beyond negligent and either willfully or maliciously caused the accident leading to your injuries. In these rare cases, courts will allow for the inclusion of damages with the sole purpose of punishing the defendant in the case for their actions or inaction.
Other Damages — You are eligible to seek compensation for any other damages to property or financial impacts you have suffered as a direct result of the injuries you have suffered from the accident.
What is the Average Payout in a Personal Injury Claim?
Depending on the type of personal injury case involved and the unique factors of your case, a personal injury claim can fall into a wide range of possibilities. While the majority of personal injury cases can average between a $3,000 to $25,000 payout, a large percentage of plaintiffs can receive over $25,000 with many settling beyond the $75,000 mark. Due to the intricate nature of personal injury law and the specific factors in your case, it is impractical to offer a blanket average personal injury settlement without further research and evaluation of the facts and circumstances of your case.
Factors that Can Impact a Personal Injury Settlement
One of the biggest driving factors that ultimately holds the most weight in a personal injury settlement is the extent of the damages you have suffered and the injuries you have sustained. The more loss you have incurred due to the accident you have been a victim of, the more compensation you may be entitled to.
It is also important to note that the opposing party’s insurance coverage limitations will also play a large role in determining just how much they will be willing to settle for. If your overall damages exceed their insurance policy limits, it may be more difficult to reach an agreement that fairly compensates you for your injuries through the settlement process.
An interesting but often overlooked factor that can impact the personal injury settlement reached in your case is the hiring of a personal injury attorney to represent you in the matter. It is estimated that just over 50% of claimants reach a personal injury attorney without legal representation in comparison to over 90% which have obtained legal counsel. The staggering difference, however, is in the amount of compensation received by individuals without a lawyer averaging $17k per claim versus those with a lawyer receiving over $77k per claim.
How Long Does it Take to Reach a Settlement in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There are several factors that contribute to how long it can take for you to reach a settlement in a personal injury case. Negotiating a personal injury settlement effectively often takes time and patience, to make certain your legal rights and best interests are protected and considered in the calculation for the compensation you are offered. In about half of personal injury cases, claimants can reach a settlement in as little as a year, but, it is possible for some cases to go beyond the one-year mark.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident due to the actions or inaction of another party contact a personal injury attorney to get the expert guidance you need to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.