Many people wonder how much a settlement would be if they were to bring a claim for an injury they suffered. The truth is, there is no real way to guess a settlement amount because the injuries and circumstances of every case are unique and can vary wildly in value.
Some sources say that the average settlement amount in a personal injury claim is anywhere between $3000-$52,000. That’s a pretty big variance, but it is a fair statement because injuries can run the gamut from a sprained ankle and quadriplegia.
There are ways to understand how to calculate a potential settlement and arrive at a reasonable estimate. While the best way to learn what your own settlement is projected to be is with the help of a lawyer, there are some variables you can consider when creating your own estimate.
Depending on who is calculating the settlement, the methods can differ. If an insurance company is calculating your personal injury settlement, they often rely on industry software to evaluate injuries based on algorithms that involve the results of previous settlements or jury awards.
Their standard offer is based on a range determined by a computer program. However, when a lawyer takes your case, they will perform a complete evaluation of your damages by calculating the actual costs and by using the results of previous cases similar to yours.
Some use the multiplier method, which will calculate pain and suffering costs based on the severity of your injuries. Your total economic damages are multiplied by a certain number, usually between 1.5- 5, based on several factors:
A lawyer will also add up the economic damages and look at previous case results. However, they will also have the opportunity to consider the actual impact the accident and injuries had on your life overall.
They may also consult with financial professionals, medical experts, or healthcare planners to ensure that future complications, long-term care costs, and inflation are accounted for. An attorney can gather the documentation necessary to prove that your compensation should be greater than what the insurance companies will offer.
Your lawyer will negotiate up the food chain to speak to more senior adjusters and even the legal team of the insurance company in order to maximize the settlement amount. If the results are not acceptable, your claim can be pursued in court.
The laws may vary slightly based on the state. However, the recoverable damages in a personal injury claim can generally be:
The costs listed above are broken down into two categories:
Damages that have a quantifiable value, such as a medical bill, are considered economic damages. The accident victim can receive compensation to equal the cost of their financial losses. The idea here is to ensure that the accident victim is “made whole” or that they are not faced with any financial setback due to the accident.
Non-economic damages are more subjective. These include the damages that have no predetermined or universal monetary value. Pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, or loss of consortium are the losses an accident victim suffers that cannot be undone.
Since there is no way to undo pain, the legal system can only offer financial compensation. This is also usually the largest part of a settlement package and is based on the overall disruption to your life and the severity of your injuries.
In certain circumstances involving gross negligence on the part of the other party, punitive damages can be awarded. The money can benefit the victim, however, the aim of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party.
Punitive damages are commonly seen in cases involving big businesses that do grievous amounts of harm to many people in the name of profits. Think of a company that secretly dumps chemicals in a water supply to avoid the costs of ecologically responsible disposal.
Since most people and businesses would prefer to hold on to their money, punitive damages can send a powerful message. Punitive damages in a large amount would act to dissuade further negligent behavior by the liable party and may set an example for anyone else who is considering behaving in such a manner.
An insurance adjuster will have no knowledge about what you know about settlements or your claim value. It’s important to ask for more than your claim is worth up front in order to leave room for negotiation.
If they comply with your initial demands, you will get what you ask for, so it is better to be high than low. The general rule is to ask for a greater amount than you want, but not so high as to send them away laughing at a ridiculous amount.
The insurance adjusters can see through such tactics and return with a laughably undervalued offer. Demanding a million dollars for a broken toe will get you nowhere fast. In general, it’s acceptable to ask for around double the amount you want when you make your initial demand.
A lawyer’s fees can vary depending on the complexity of the claim, but generally, they will charge between 33-45% of a claim. Most lawyers for standard personal injury claims such as car accidents and slip and fall cases will take 33.3%.
This may or may not include court fees, filing fees, or other incidental costs, so be sure to get everything in writing and ask questions if you don’t understand. This can help to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
Personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency basis, meaning they absorb the cost of representing you until the case is settled or an award is won. If you don’t recover any money, you owe the lawyer nothing. This minimizes financial risk to a client when choosing to hire a lawyer.
If you have been injured because of another party’s negligent behavior, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation. We can calculate your settlement amount and negotiate your claim to maximize your compensation.
Contact the personal injury lawyers of 1Law today to learn more about pursuing a personal injury claim for your injuries.