A personal injury settlement usually takes place after the injured party sues the alleged party at-fault. Both parties can only reach a settlement if the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain sum of money for the latter to end the case. This particular circumstance can even take place before a plaintiff places their lawsuit, hence the term “pre-suit.”
Numerous parties involved in almost all personal injury suits decide to end their cases through a settlement. There are even several cases that get resolved before they are filed in court. Thus, personal injury lawsuits often culminate in successful settlements. However, the question remains: Is there an actual “average” settlement amount for these types of cases, and if so, how much would it cost you?
Is There Such a Thing as an “Average” Settlement for Personal Injury Cases?
Unfortunately, an actual “average” personal injury lawsuit settlement in dollars does not have any predetermined value. This is due to the variety of personal injury cases being filed in court, as well as the individual aspects that surround every one of these lawsuits. But a potential plaintiff in a personal injury case can get the “median” decision or settlement for many of these suits by looking through various websites and publications as well as previously documented settlements.
In this case, the “median” is a value that serves as the average range of all personal injury lawsuits combined. This particular value can be greater than the actual settlement received by the plaintiff due to some significant settlements or verdicts. However, it does not provide the plaintiff with a real average or a rough estimate for a settlement.
What are the Key Factors in Calculating a Personal Injury Settlement?
Numerous factors can determine average personal injury settlement amounts, which includes the various elements surrounding a particular lawsuit. One must also consider other common factors in calculating a fair settlement. These can include the following:
- The defendant’s assets
- The plaintiff’s damages
The defendant’s assets
A plaintiff in a personal injury case cannot get a high settlement if the party at-fault cannot pay a settlement using their assets or through their insurer. This is despite the fact that there are various elements associated with the suit. The courts can also sell the defendant’s assets or garnish their income if the latter does not win the case. Otherwise, they would not be able to compel the defendant to give payment to the plaintiff if the latter’s funds are not enough for selling or garnishing. Thus, the plaintiff should take the defendant’s value or insurance policy limits into account when they decide to accept or turn down the defendant’s proposed settlement.
The plaintiff’s damages
Plaintiffs can earn compensation for the following damages in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings or wages
- Their pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Lost opportunities or experiences
- Punitive damages (if their case was a result of the defendant’s negligence or intentional actions)
If the plaintiff can keep complete reports of their medical expenses, this particular type of damage will be included in the calculation of their settlement. But their medical costs can have a small value depending on the different aspects of the case. However, they might expect a relatively high level of possible recovery from physical and/or emotional pain and suffering.
On the other hand, lost wages and opportunities due to personal injury accidents are also considered as significant factors in calculating a personal injury settlement. Plaintiffs take other factors such as property damage (which can relatively be settled beforehand) and punitive damages into consideration as well.
This specific element is deemed as the last aspect of calculating personal injury settlements. Valid proof pointing to whether the defendant carried out particular actions leading to the accident or if those actions resulted in the plaintiff’s damages can either be small or non-existent. There may be cases that involve a liable or suspicious defendant, but both the law and litigation maintain the fact that many distinct elements will determine the defendant’s liability.
How Do Both Parties in a Personal Injury Case Reach the Final Amount for a Settlement?
To reach a reasonable settlement, the plaintiff and the defendant must take numerous elements into consideration. It is necessary for both parties to calculate first how much the suit is worth. They can usually achieve this through the following:
- Doing their own research on similar lawsuits
- Creating comparisons between previous jury awards, with related aspects and relevant rulings as the basis
- Factoring in the unique elements that the current case has
It is also worth noting that the defendant’s insurance company may have a predetermined amount for the settlement.
At first, settlement offers will go back and forth between both parties when they have agreed on a set value for the case. The settlement amount might be higher or lower as they continue to collect more information and eventually determine the plaintiff’s chances of winning or losing the case. Both parties will only sign an agreement when either side makes a reasonable settlement offer. This will also prompt the plaintiff to end the suit.
How Can You Get a Fair Settlement for Your Personal Injury Case?
If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, it is best to settle on a reasonable amount for the various damages that you have suffered in an accident. Here are some tips on how to get a fair sum of money for your personal injury settlement:
- Carry out a full investigation – You have to ensure that relevant evidence related to your accident, such as witness statements, police reports, and medical reports, will be gathered as part of your case. It might also be necessary to hire private investigators and accident reconstruction professionals for the collection of additional physical evidence.
- Obtain photos of all aspects that are key to your case – You also have to ensure that you or your lawyer can obtain as many photos as possible for your case. These can include the place where the accident occurred, your injuries, and other critical elements to your personal injury lawsuit.
- Never reveal your medical records to the defendant’s insurance company – The defendant will gain access to your medical records if you mistakenly sign a release for their insurer. Keep in mind that your insurer has the sole authority to see your medical records and not the other party.
- Know all your damages and injuries – Damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings and consortium, and losses in business, among others. Also, you should not exclude any possible injuries too quickly.
- File your case immediately – Do this as soon as your doctor releases you from medical care. This tip will help you pressurize the defendant’s insurer.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You Settle Your Case
Discussing the different factors surrounding your personal injury case with a skilled lawyer before any negotiations with the other party regarding compensation is essential since it is not advisable to reach a settlement on your own. This will only put you on the losing end as aggressive defense lawyers and insurance companies will provide legal representation to the defendant.
Thus, if you are serious in pursuing your personal injury case against the negligent party, you should seek excellent legal assistance from Mesriani Law Group’s expert personal injury attorneys. MLG offers various legal services for employment law and personal injury cases to potential clients all over California. These include initial consultation and direct client assistance for medical concerns. Our firm is not only committed to helping you and other clients get reasonable compensation, but also to bring your case to justice.