If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if it’s worth it to pursue legal action.
Each case is unique, but we’re going to review the average personal injury settlement in the U.S.
After reading this article, you should have a good idea about whether it’s in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Springfield, Missouri.
If you have filed a claim after sustaining a serious injury, you may be wondering how much you can expect from a settlement. Your settlement can help you pay for legal expenses, medical bills, and the many other costs you may face, so it’s important that you get a fair settlement that meets your needs.
What Factors Impact Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement Amounts?
If you are looking for amounts and examples of personal injury settlements, you can find people who received less than $ 50,000 in a settlement and those who received millions of dollars. This is because many factors can affect your claim and the settlement amount you may receive, including monetary damages and non-monetary damages. Monetary damages can include:
Lost wages. Whether you lost time from work during your recovery or because your injury prevents you from working, you can seek to recover lost income through your claim.
Medical bills. About 18 percent of Americans have medical debt, and after an injury, medical costs can add up. The higher your medical bills, the bigger the possible deal to cover those costs.
Therapy expenses. Occupational, physical, and other therapy can help you recover or adjust to new mobility challenges after a serious injury. These can be long-term ongoing costs and it is important to calculate them when determining what a fair settlement for an injury might look like.
Incidental costs. In addition to lost income and medical costs, many injured patients face a number of incidental expenses after an injury. They may need to replace or repair personal property that was damaged in the incident that caused the injury, for example. Patients may have to pay for medications, medical devices such as wheelchairs, as well as taxis and transportation to doctor’s appointments. They may need grab bars and other adaptive devices for the home.
All of these costs can affect the settlement amount, but they can also affect non-monetary damages. These are more difficult to quantify as they encompass pain and suffering and the impact an injury can have on a plaintiff’s life. In many cases, the costs of non-monetary losses are calculated as a modifier, based on the monetary damages and the expected impact of the injury on the plaintiff’s life.
In addition to monetary damages and non-monetary damages, there are other possible types of damages in a personal injury settlement. These can include wrongful death damages, which can be recovered by immediate family members if the injuries prove fatal. Punitive damages are also sometimes an option in a personal injury claim if the recklessness or gross negligence that caused the injury was especially egregious.
What Factors Have the Most Impact on Your Accident Settlement?
Monetary factors, especially medical bills, property damage, and loss of income, tend to have the biggest impact on a settlement, as these are the factors that can drive up costs for an injured patient. The reason a person with a severe spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury might seek a great settlement is that their ongoing costs and losses are considerable. They may simply not be able to return to their normal lives and jobs without meaningful support, and an agreement can help address this. Factors that can negatively affect a settlement amount include:
Added expenses. It is not unusual for unexpected expenses to arise after a serious injury. During the time it takes to resolve a claim, for example, a patient may face complications due to injury or additional medical costs from her. These are generally not included in the agreement because the parties did not anticipate them. Non-monetary damages awarded can help pay for these and filing fees and other incidental expenses related to a claim.
Immediate Expenses. After an injury, it may take some time to secure a settlement, but medical bills related to the injury can be due immediately. When patients are unable to pay, medical facilities or insurance companies can place a lien on the settlement proceeds to guarantee payment. Some plaintiffs also seek litigation financing, which places a lien on the expected proceeds of the settlement.
Legal costs. Plaintiffs who work with an attorney must pay for these services, and some payment structures allocate a portion of the settlement proceeds for this purpose. In some cases, attorneys may seek to hold the defendant responsible for legal costs.
In addition to these costs, keep in mind
Note that simply waiting for an agreement can incur additional costs. Some plaintiffs borrow money at interest to cover living costs while they wait for the proceeds of settlement and, of course, additional costs can occur at any time.
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How to Calculate Personal Injury Compensation Amounts
An easy way to calculate your potential settlement is to add up the expenses related to your injuries thus far, including medical expenses, incidental costs, lost wages, and other losses you’ve incurred. Multiply this by one to three if your injury is a bone fracture or other injury you hope to recover from, or multiply your monetary losses by up to five or more if your injuries were catastrophic and will have lifelong impacts. These are your possible non-monetary damages. Subtract any expected legal fees or costs.
While this can give you a very rough estimate, keep in mind that many other factors can affect your settlement. The defendants in the case and their responsibility play a role, for example. There is also no promise that an agreement will be reached. No one can guarantee a settlement or a specific dollar amount for an injury claim.
The best way to determine how much your claim may be worth is to speak with an attorney. An attorney who has worked with hundreds of plaintiffs has an idea of the variety of possible settlements in his area for injuries similar to yours. They can also help you understand what to expect from the claims process.
Can an attorney have an impact on the amount of your settlement?
Ultimately, deals boil down to negotiations. Defendants will attempt to resolve claims as economically as possible, while your attorney will seek to obtain the fairest amount for your injury. An attorney can affect your agreement in several ways:
Lawyers understand what injuries can be worth, so they start out in a position of strength when negotiating.
Attorneys are experienced in how insurance companies and defendants evaluate injuries, so they can respond to attempts to reduce the settlement amount.
By working with doctors and other professionals, attorneys can make a strong case for why you deserve a fair amount of settlement.
Defendants simply tend to take attorney’s claims more seriously.
After an injury, the last thing you want to do is deal with our complex legal system. One of the benefits of working with an attorney is that you can focus on securing your agreement while you can focus on your health.