Would it surprise you to learn that 95 percent to 96 percent of personal injury cases reach a settlement before ever reaching a courtroom for trial? You might be wondering why they settle before trial and even more about the settlement amounts.
How do the involved parties decide on and even come to an agreement on a settlement amount?
If you’ve suffered a personal injury, you might be wondering how much is your personal injury settlement worth? How much can you get for your case? How is it calculated what you will get?
Read on to learn more about personal injury settlements and the criteria often used to calculate them.
What Is a Personal Injury?
Let’s start with the basics and understand the parameters of a personal injury. A personal injury covers a wide scope of injury types. It can be described as any injury you might experience that causes harm to your body, mind, or emotions.
You can be the victim of a personal injury in so many different ways. This can include everything from being the victim of a car accident, a dog bite, a slip and fall accident, to the victim of an assault. This matters because the scope of your injuries can vary greatly depending on how you got them.
The scope of your injuries will be a factor in a settlement amount.
How Is a Personal Injury Settlement Reached?
There are a variety of factors that’ll get considered when looking at your personal injury settlement. More on these factors shortly.
Almost always when there’s a personal injury case there will be the plaintiff, who is the victim of the personal injury. Then there will be the defendant who is being held responsible for the personal injury.
The defendant may not have done the personal injury themselves, but is still accountable. For example, say you’re at a gathering at slip and fall. The fall happens because the sidewalk is uneven and not marked. The defendant might be the host of the gathering or even the owner of the property.
There will also be the insurance companies of the defendant involved too. So, in the above example, the insurer of the property where the fall happened will be involved in the settlement negotiations too.
Factors In Reaching a Settlement
As the involved parties work their way through a personal injury lawsuit, it will start with each side considering the factors. They will look at a host of factors and calculate what they think the settlement value might be.
An experienced personal injury attorney will use the factors of the case, they’ll use their own valuable experience, and look at cases that are like your case to come up with a figure.
Once each side has done some calculation separately based on their perspective with the case, then the negotiations can begin to work towards a settlement.
It can’t be overstated, this is where having an attorney who has handled many personal injury cases is so valuable. Not only can they rely on their knowledge of previous cases, they really know how to approach negotiating a case too.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other factors the parties will consider.
Assets Available From the Defendant
One thing your attorney should consider is the assets available through the defendant. They simply may not have much in the form of assets. You might think your case is worth lots, but if they don’t have the money, they can’t pay it.
Your attorney will consider their insurance policy. Are there limits on their policy that state how much coverage they have?
If you go to trial and get awarded an amount of money, the defendant could be forced to sell assets to pay the settlement.
When it comes down to it, no matter the extent of your personal injury, your lawyer will have to consider the available assets of the defendant in the case.
Damages and Loss From the Personal Injury
There are a few ways to factor damages.
First, your attorney will consider concrete damages that can be added up. This will include things like:
- Medical care, treatment, and expenses
- Lost income
Other concrete financial losses or bills might also be considered. For example, you might need to hire help to care for you or your children because you are unable to do it. These kinds of bills get added to the damages.
Damages can also come in the form of pain and suffering from your injury. This won’t necessarily be a concrete number and will need to be calculated using the experience of your attorney. The extent, severity, and long-term impact of your injury will be considered.
Liability In the Case
The last factor to consider is the liability in the case. How liable is the defendant in the case? Is there obvious wrongdoing on their part that led to the personal injury of the plaintiff?
The higher the level of liability in a case, obviously, the higher the settlement amount can be factored in.
Negotiating a Settlement
Once all those factors are considered by each of the involved parties, then the sides can start to negotiate towards a settlement. Rarely do personal injury cases actually go to trial.
While you might hope to get more by going to trial, you also risk losing and getting nothing for compensation. Your attorney can advise you when it’s smart to settle and when you should expect more from a settlement.
Factors Involved In a Personal Injury Settlement
Being the victim of a personal injury is frustrating and can be life changing for you too. You’re now suffering from this injury at no fault of your own. You have expenses and lost wages and are probably anxious to reach a personal injury settlement.
Do you need help with your personal injury case? We will meet with you and do a free case evaluation to consider the factors of your case. Let our experience help guide you through your personal injury case. Contact us today to get started.