So you’ve been in an accident and are looking for a personal injury settlement?
In this article, we’ll break down the average personal injury settlement amounts and what you can expect from your case.
Bear in mind that personal injury sums are calculated by a variety of factors. Therefore, just because someone else won $1 million in a settlement that seems similar to yours, it doesn’t mean you’ll be banking that amount.
Read on for not only the average personal injury settlement but also how personal injury sums are calculated and what you can expect when bringing your case forward.
Will My Case Result in a Settlement?
If you decide to bring your case forward, you’ll get a crash course on personal injury law as you do. You’ll learn some of the ins and outs of the system in a baptism by fire.
One thing many people wonder is whether their case will result in a settlement or go to a trial. After all, you often hear about personal injury settlements and not two sides duking it out in a courtroom.
Most personal injury cases result in a settlement. Only around 5% of them see the courtroom.
The only time your case will go to court is if you and the opposing party cannot agree on the proper amount to compensate you. However, as you can see via statistics, most parties do come to an agreement before you enter the court.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?
Many people have the misconception that a settlement is quicker than going to trial. They may also believe that you can settle out of court in a matter of days or weeks.
Television often portrays settlements as quick events. One person states their amount, the other party talks them down and then they reach an agreement in just a few moments.
In real life, settlement proceedings can take several months to a few years. This is due to the fact that both parties must participate in “discovery,” where they investigate the claims of the event that occurred. Both parties also often hire an investigator to help them calculate the amount owed.
We’ll talk about some of that later on in the article.
Generally, however, don’t expect your settlement to mean you’ll be getting money deposited into your bank account immediately.
What are the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts?
This is difficult to say, partially because most personal injury cases are kept confidential. Once a settlement has been reached, it’s not necessarily on the books.
But, according to some revenue reporting, the average amount for a personal settlement in 2013 was around $24,000. Most of the claims were born out of automobile accidents.
However, you can’t automatically assume you’ll get $24,000. Instead, the process is a lot more complex than that. You could wind up getting a lot more, or a lot less depending on the circumstances of your personal injury.
Let’s take a look.
What Affects the Amount of Money One Receives?
There are two major factors at play when calculating personal injury settlements. One is how much the insurance company is willing to payout, and the other is the extent of your injuries.
If your injuries were not very extensive, you likely won’t receive much money from the payout. Additionally, if the insurance the company took out isn’t extensive, you won’t receive much money from that either.
In some cases, you can also claim for psychological stress associated with the accident. However, the payout will depend on a variety of factors, including the company’s insurance policy.
When Do You Receive the Settlement?
As stated previously, it can take several months to arrive at a settlement agreement. But settlement agreements don’t typically start until you’ve completed treatment for your injury or psychological illness that resulted from the accident.
This is so that you can only claim back things that are measurable. After your illness, you will likely have medical bills. Therefore, the courts and lawyers, as well as the insurance company, can see this.
If the treatment for your injury will be ongoing for the rest of your life, that may play into the amount you’ll receive. However, the settlement will most commonly cover the treatment that is already completed.
How Settlements Are Calculated: Loss of Time at Work
Another way settlements are calculated includes the wages you’ve lost at work from being unable to attend.
For example, if you work at a position where you receive $3,000 a month and can prove this from previous pay stubs, you’ll receive $3,000 if you had to miss one month of work.
This doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive $3,000 for the month you’ve lost, but it is a starting point for negotiations. It is likely your lawyer will demand that you receive that amount for your time lost.
As stated above, medical bills that have already been rendered are included in your settlement. You may be able to accrue the medical bills and pay them later through the settlement money. Or, depending on where you were treated, you may have to pay out of pocket and then reimburse yourself through the settlement payout.
Often, if you receive surgery or have to receive onsite care, you will receive a much higher payout.
Factored into your medical bills will be how long you stayed in the hospital, the type of care you received, and how you had to be transported. If you had to be transported via ambulance or received onsite care, you may well receive more money than the average settlement.
Pain and Suffering
You may have heard of people receiving a payout for pain and suffering. You may have even rolled your eyes at the term.
However, pain and suffering is a legal definition that accounts for anxiety, pain and other things the individual has endured as a result of this accident.
It is difficult to calculate pain and suffering since it isn’t measurable like other types of claims. There is no bill you can submit to show how much you paid for pain and suffering.
Instead, a lawyer will often try and calculate the amount of money you should receive per day for your suffering, and multiply that for how long it will take you to recover.
For example, if your doctors estimate it will take you six months to fully recover, your lawyer can request $200 per day. If the six months was 184 days altogether, this means you can request $38,600 for your pain and suffering.
This sum is likely negotiable with the insurance company and other party’s lawyers.
You traditionally prove pain and suffering through a variety of means. This can be through photographs of your daily life after the injury, videos or witness statements. Doctors can also testify to the amount of pain a person would be in your situation to help prove the case.
Loss of Enjoyment
Loss of enjoyment can be even vaguer than pain and suffering, but it is one way that your personal injury settlement gets calculated.
Loss of enjoyment can include a variety of things, including being unable to participate in activities you used to participate in, being unable to bond with your family or being unable to celebrate special holidays.
This type of claim is often handled differently from state to state, so if you think you have a claim for it, you’ll need to speak to your lawyer about how to go about it. In some states, it is included in the overall personal injury fee. In others, you’ll have to go through a separate venue to collect the claim.
Often, a loss of enjoyment claim is for an injury that has debilitated you for the rest of your life and caused serious issues within.
For example, if you broke your ankle, your personal injury claim may include the days you spent off of work and your medical bill. But, because it healed in six weeks or so, you’re unlikely to claim a loss of enjoyment. While it did affect your life, it is doubtful it did so in a permanent way.
Ready to Make a Personal Injury Claim?
Average personal injury settlement amounts are difficult to measure, as each case is different. Your amount will not likely be the same as other people’s, specifically because of the variety of factors that must be taken into account.
Have you or a loved one been in an accident and want to look into making a personal injury claim? If so, contact us today to look into what we can offer.