Whenever a person is injured due to someone else’s negligence, the injured party can file a personal injury claim. This allows them to collect compensation for their losses in an attempt to make their lives whole again.
There are a huge variety of personal injury accidents — ranging from car crashes to dog bites — the settlement one can receive will vary. Even among similar types of accidents, they will all have different variables that can affect the amount of personal injury settlements and the factors that influence eventual settlement are equally variable.
In these circumstances, it’s important to understand the factors that can dictate how much you may receive for your personal injury.
The Type and Severity of Your Injuries
One of the biggest factors to consider when calculating a personal injury case’s value is the type and severity of your injuries.
If you have a traumatic brain injury that will leave you with lifelong impacts, you will likely be awarded a larger sum of money than someone who had a leg fracture. Those who suffer permanent disabilities will almost always be awarded more simply because they will have ongoing medical care as a result of their injuries.
Level of Fault
California examines fault when factoring settlements for personal injuries. However, you could be up to 99% at fault in the situation and still receive compensation. Of course, this means you will receive much less. This is common in car accident cases but can occur in other types of personal injury accidents.
If your total damages amount to $100,000 and you were 20% at fault, you’d only get $80,000 of that award. In some circumstances, injury victims are assigned more fault than they deserve due to a lack of evidence. In other cases, a person tries to represent themself and gets taken advantage of. This is why having an attorney can be beneficial to ensure your legal rights are being upheld.
Your Total Medical Bills
Even though medical bills are related to your injuries and their severity, this aspect looks at the total cost that you have paid up to this point. If you had to be rushed to the hospital via ambulance, required emergency surgery, or needed to see multiple specialists, these things can be included in your settlement.
Your Other Damages
Medical bills are just one part of the potential economic damages you can recover in your personal injury settlement. You may be unable to work and earn your wage until you heal. You may have other costs associated with your injuries such as traveling to all these medical appointments. It may be impossible for you to keep your home clean with the injuries you’ve sustained, requiring you to hire a maid service. An attorney can help you determine the full cost of these other economic damages.
Additionally, an attorney is instrumental when it comes to calculating non-economic damages. Things like pain and suffering don’t have receipts or bills to pinpoint an exact financial figure, though you can still be compensated for them with the right proof.
The History of the At-Fault Party
If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury may decide to award you more based on the at-fault party. If the defendant has a history of driving drunk or causing car accidents, this will sway their opinion, working more in your favor.
Strength of the Evidence in Your Case
The more evidence that you have to present in your case that the other party was negligent, the more likely you’ll be to win. This may also mean you’ll get the full amount of compensation that you seek for your damages. The right evidence proves the other party’s liability.
Often, they will want to settle this quickly before it goes to trial, making them more likely to agree to a fair sum. However, if your evidence isn’t strong enough, it can limit the amount of compensation.
When you’re dealing with insurance companies, they will often try to settle a personal injury claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. Most injury victims do not possess negotiation skills nor do they have the intricate knowledge of personal injury law to adeptly fight for a fair amount.
Using an experienced personal injury lawyer can be invaluable in cases where your injuries are serious and you’re sinking into debt because of a careless individual or entity, it’s worth having a consultation with a lawyer to find out more about your legal options.
Source: Rosenstock & Azran Injury Attorneys, Canoga Park, CA