There’s no such thing as an average personal injury settlement! Whether a settlement amount will result from a decision of a jury or negotiations between the plaintiff and defendant, it’ll often be based on various factors associated with the specific personal injury case.
The larger majority of personal injury lawsuits encompass moderately minor injuries amounting to $50,000 or less in settlements. In lawsuits involving severe injuries, the amount of damages may increase exponentially and in turn push the total amount of settlement to thousands or millions of dollars.
This article discusses everything you need to know about average personal injury settlement. Read on to learn more.
Average Auto Accident Settlements
The average auto accident settlement in the U.S. is $15,443 for accidents involving physical injuries and $3,231 for accidents associated with property damage only.
But relying on average auto accident personal injury settlements to predict compensation for your personal injury case is like comparing apples and oranges. That’s because every auto accident personal injury settlement is personal and unique to the claimant.
Factors Affecting Auto Accident Personal Injury Settlement
Some of the factors considered when calculating the average settlement amount of a personal injury case include:
1. Severity of Injuries
The severity of your injuries is the most critical factor influencing the amount you can receive in settlement.
If you sustained minor soft tissue injuries, chances are you’ll be back on your feet with medication and a few visits to a physical therapist. But if you sustain severe, life-changing injuries, you might never return to your pre-accident status.
Accordingly, the average personal injury settlement amounts mentioned earlier cannot be used as a standard for what every personal injury claimant can expect.
2. Pain and Suffering
The greatest losses suffered by an injury victim are most often intangible—pain, agony, and inability to engage in daily life activities as before.
It’s impossible to assign a fixed number to such losses. At the same time, getting into a settlement agreement may be your only chance to receive the compensation you deserve.
In making a decision on what’s fair and reasonable, your lawyer will evaluate the amount that should compensate you now and for pain and suffering you might endure later. The considerations include:
- Will you need further treatment in the long term?
- Has this personal injury affected your daily activities?
- Are your injuries chronic in nature?
Whether or not you feel pain-free after receiving medical treatment for your accident-related injuries, keep the possibility of pain flare-ups in mind when negotiating settlement terms.
3. Medical Expenses and Lost Wages
Your lawyer also takes several losses into consideration when negotiating the settlement amount.
One of the damages you are entitled to is compensation for medical expenses, particularly those incurred after the accidents and those you’ll reasonably incur in the future.
Just like medical expenses, you’re also entitled to compensation for time you spend off work as a result of your injury.
You might even get permanent disability and be totally unable to go back to work or to resume working in the same career/position. Such wage loss projections are calculated and included in the compensation.
The amount of money that you’ll receive in settlement primarily depends on the insurance coverage you have.
Basically, insurance coverage is the common source of recovery for most types of personal injuries, including auto accident injuries.
The insurance coverage available varies in accordance with the defendant and the insurance policy. If the person who caused you the accident is not insured, then they might not have the resources to pay you for damages suffered.
How strong is your case against the defendant? Is the defendant liable?
While potential damages could be high, you must have evidence that the defendant’s negligence indeed caused you the damages or injury. The possibility that both of you were at fault cannot be overruled.
Until there’s no reasonable doubt on who was at fault, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant can be entirely sure they will win the case.
Average Personal Injury Attorney’s Cases in a Year
The success of your personal injury claim depends on the attorney you have hired to represent you in court. If your attorney has so many cases to handle, you might feel like your personal injury case is at the bottom of their priority list.
An attorney with fewer cases at a time will give you the personal attention you require during your personal injury settlement case.
A question that may arise when choosing an attorney is: how many settlements does the average personal injury attorney handle in a year?
All attorneys handle approximately 24 cases per year, irrespective of practice, location, or specialty. In that case, a personal injury attorney may handle more or less this number of settlement cases.
What Should You Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
You need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to recoup the maximum possible compensation in your case. Here are some of the critical factors you should consider when hiring one:
You might think that any attorney can do it, but location is of key importance in a personal injury case.
Different states have different legal frameworks, which means that hiring a local lawyer who is conversant with the justice system in your state of residence would be a sure bet.
2. Practice Area and Expertise
Personal injury cases are not the same. To be sure that you are hiring the best lawyer for your personal injury settlement claim, find an attorney with experience in the case’s practice area.
If you sustained an injury from a detective product, hire a product liability lawyer. If you sustained injuries from a motorcycle crash, look for an attorney specialized in motorcycle accidents.
3. Client Testimonials
You can never go wrong with checking an attorney’s website for professionalism and authority. Also, find out what others have to say about your potential legal partner. Their website is a good place to look for testimonials, but remember to check third-party websites for objective reviews as well.
4. Attorney’s Fees and Costs
You’re seeking compensation for your personal injury. You definitely don’t want to spend the better part of the settlement paying your attorney. So you’ll need to know about their fees beforehand.
Are working on a contingency fees basis? Do they have additional fees for certain services? Make sure to find out what you’ll pay for before signing the agreement.
5. Legal Help with a Smaller Case
Most lawsuits that are filed across the country don’t involve millions or thousands of dollars. That’s the reason small claims courts were established- to address claims worth less than the average settlement amount set by state laws.
If dealing with a minor personal injury case such as trivial property damage or minor injuries, you will file your complaint in the small claims courts.
You might be tempted to manage your own case without a lawyer to save on the legal fees. This might not be a good idea.
Why Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with your case is important. Here are some of the important reasons you should work with an attorney instead of approaching the case solo.
a) Your injuries may not be as minor as you think
Some people are reluctant to hire lawyers for injuries that look relatively minor. An example is when you get a few bruises from a car accident.
Unfortunately, some of these minor injuries may eventually turn into major cases. A good lawyer can advise you to wait until you’re sure of the total extent of your injuries and help you determine when to accept an offer.
You are also entitled to pain and suffering damages. These are only taken into consideration when you take your case to court. Only a lawyer can help you know the damages you are entitled to and advocate on your behalf until you receive a satisfactory settlement.
b) Compliance with strict rules
The American legal system outlines certain procedures to be followed when investigating a claim. From paperwork to damage inspections to schedules, and definitely procedures for accurately diagnosing your injuries.
Without legal help, it can be challenging and confusing for you to navigate the personal injury claim process, and missing a single step might cause delays or significantly reduce your payout.
A personal injury attorney will help you gather facts and information, explain pertinent liability laws to you, and handle law enforcement on your behalf. An experienced personal injury attorney is also more conversant with local courts, which goes a long way in speeding up your claims process.
c) Insurance companies are after own interests
Most people ignore seeking legal help, citing that they have insurance or that the other party has one. You might assume that the insurance firm is looking out for you. But in most cases, the insurance company’s interests do not align with yours:
Your primary goal when filing a personal injury claim is to get the maximum damage award as compensation for your suffering. On the contrary, insurance firms will do everything possible to pay you as little as possible so that they can make profits.
You definitely need to hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf.
d) Represented plaintiffs collect Higher settlements
Research conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that a common civilian receives three and a half times more in settlement with legal assistance than they would without it. That makes a whole big difference in personal injury settlements in which the particulars of the law can become complex.
What happens if the person who caused the rear-end accident has no insurance or the insurance fails to pay? What if your neighbor who damaged your property refuses to take responsibility? What if the minor dog bite becomes a large wound that costs you thousands of dollars to treat?
So, at any case that you sustain injuries and are dealing with an insurance firm or any other private entity for your claim, it is within your rights to consult an attorney and hire one represent you.
Auto accident personal injury settlements vary greatly depending on a number of factors. The severity of the injuries is the most important factor in determining an auto accident settlement.
Other factors that can affect a personal injury settlement are pain and suffering, insurance liability, and the average case load for a personal injury attorney.
If you or your loved one has been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to find out the true value of your claim.