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What to Expect in Your Injury Settlement

If you’re bringing a personal injury claim against a person or an organization, you’ve been wronged, and you’re looking for the compensation you deserve. You may even need that compensation to help you pay for the bills that have stacked up. A settlement can help you rebuild your life after an injury has so cruelly interrupted it. Your final settlement is supposed to help you restore your life to what it was as much as that’s possible.

You’ve put in significant time and effort to gather evidence, document your costs, and build your case for compensation for your injury, and you’ve done all that while simultaneously trying to recover from your injury and take care of your ordinary family responsibilities. Now you want to know how much you’re likely to receive so that you can properly plan for it.

Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to predict what you’re going to get. Every case is different, and there are so many variables that can affect the outcome. Your reward amount will depend largely, however, on the assessment of the damages you’ve suffered and smaller procedural questions around the settlement and the case itself.

Adding Up Your Damages

Companies, lawyers, and judges will all come up with different evaluations of your personal injury settlement and what your claim is worth. Each has a different perspective and experiences shaping their estimate. Insurance companies for the liable party will want to make the settlement package the lowest possible that you would still accept in order to save money.

Lawyers may give you a higher number because they want to win you as much compensation as possible. Judges will make an evaluation based on the arguments in front of them and similar cases they’ve had in the past. But whoever is doing the counting, your damages will be calculated by putting together a number of different factors. Some are straightforward and easy to assess, while others are more subjective.

Material Costs

A significant part of your damages will be made up of the specific monetary costs you’ve suffered as a direct result of the injury. You should seek medical care and keep a thorough record of every expense related in any way to your injury to be able to present to the court. There are many different possible expenses you should include as part of your economic damages.

  • Medical bills for treating your injury and related conditions
  • Estimated future medical costs
  • Lost wages if you are or were unable to work
  • Estimated lost earnings in the future
  • Damage to any of your property
  • Extra transportation costs for you or your family resulting from the incident

Any expense or wage lost because of your injury can count as part of the economic damages you’ve suffered. You’ll need evidence to prove all of these damages to the judge as well, which is more complicated for the estimations of future costs.

If you’re going to continue requiring significant medical care in the future or you now suffer from a disability that will continue to prevent you from working for a long time, you need a medical professional to explain that for the official record.

 Pain and Suffering

Not all of the damages you’ve suffered because of the accident will be easily quantifiable. Less tangible effects of the injury are still important to the settlement and should be carefully reported to the court. These general damages include all of the pain and suffering you may have gone through because of the injury.

  • Extreme physical pain or discomfort
  • Forced changes to your lifestyle or plans (i.e., You can no longer enjoy your favorite hobbies)
  • Strain to your relationships with friends and family
  • Depression, anxiety or other mental and emotional effects
  • Regular interference with your everyday life

Because all of these general damages are subjective and impossible to quantify with a dollar value, a lot depends on how well you are able to present these damages to the court. Statements from yourself and from doctors and loved ones will help.

Although it may not seem fair, dramatically serious or visible injuries sometimes tend to get more attention and compensation, simply because it’s easier for the court to see and imagine how your life has been affected. That’s why the severity of your injuries makes a huge difference.

Your compensation for general damages will depend on how similar cases have been treated in the past. Usually, you will be given a multiplier based on these damages that will determine your final settlement using your economic damages as the base cost to be multiplied.

Other Factors

Of course, your injury settlement also depends on your case. Are you able to clearly establish the facts of our case? How strong is the link between your injury and the negligent behavior of a liable party? Without a strong case, you might not be able to count on a significant settlement. Weaknesses in the case and other circumstances can significantly affect your settlement.

Who is Assigned Fault?

If your case goes before a judge, there will be an official determination of fault. The judge will assess whether or not you share some of the fault for your injury, or if the fault entirely belongs to the other liable party. If you have some degree of partial fault, your injury settlement may be reduced correspondingly.

Settling Out of Court

After filing your claim, the liable party might offer you a set amount for a settlement. This means you’ll receive your reward without you or the other party having to deal with the work of going to trial. Essentially you give up your right of pursuing the case further for a negotiated pre-trial amount.

You may be likely to receive a smaller settlement if you handle it this way out of court, especially if you don’t have a lawyer to help you negotiate, but it might be cost-effective when you consider the costs and time investment involved in taking the case before a judge and hiring a lawyer.

 Getting a Professional Estimate

The best way to get a reliable assessment of what your final settlement will look like is to talk to an attorney with experience in cases like yours. A personal injury attorney will know how to evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and guide you in deciding how to proceed.

 

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