You’ve suffered an injury that was not your fault. You’re looking at extensive medical bills, missed paychecks, and a range of other financial hardships. Before you jump to conclusions, it’s important to remember that personal injury law is on your side.
Victims of personal injuries shouldn’t be faced with financial ruin due to someone else’s negligence. But what would the personal injury lawsuit settlement amount be if you filed a claim against the at-fault party?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much data to provide a precise answer here. The vast majority of personal injury cases – roughly 95 percent – never go before the public court system. In other words, most settlement amounts are never disclosed. The best we can do is provide some averages.
In this post, we discuss the major factors of personal injury cases – and how they determine most settlement amounts. Let’s discuss this.
How Does a Personal Injury Settlement Work?
Every personal injury case is different, but the process of seeking fair compensation is pretty similar across the board. Settlements are agreements – in the form of a specified sum of money – that the plaintiff and defendant come to as a way to avoid taking the case to court.
Here is an overview of how personal injury settlements work:
- The victim (plaintiff) works with an attorney to calculate damages and build the personal injury claim.
- The plaintiff will serve the at-fault party (defendant) a demand letter requesting a sum of money to cover the damages.
- The defendant’s insurance company/legal counsel will negotiate with the plaintiff’s legal counsel for the monetary amount. The plaintiff’s attorney will present the evidence and fight for fair compensation.
- Both parties will agree on a sum of money to be paid to the plaintiff: the settlement.
- If both parties cannot agree to the settlement terms, the case will go to trial.
- The monetary amount will then be determined by a judge and jury.
The process of going to trial is very expensive. Due to this, defendants will usually agree to a settlement to avoid the system. Settlements may be paid out in recurring payments or a single lump sum.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
There is no definitive answer to this. Negotiating for the personal injury lawsuit settlement amount can take anywhere from six months to several years. The process depends on many different factors, including the extent of the injury, damages incurred, the number of parties involved, and so on.
The majority of personal injury claims take one to two years to be fully resolved. If the case goes to trial, this timeline will be significantly extended.
What Damages Can You Pursue in Personal Injury Settlements?
There are many types of damages you can pursue in a personal injury settlement. Your goal is to get compensated for every single hardship you faced from the accident. This typically includes hospital bills, lost wages, property damages, and more. You can also request compensation for physical, mental, or emotional struggles you’re facing.
Damages in personal injury lawsuits are grouped into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include anything that has a clear price tag:
- Medical treatment
- Hospital bills
- Estimates for future treatment
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to the physical, mental, and emotional trauma you might be facing. These damages include (but are not limited to):
- Pain and suffering
- Lost companionship
- Decreased quality of life
- Emotional anguish
Calculating economic damages is more or less straightforward. You’ll need to collect all invoices, receipts, estimates, and records to be factored into the personal injury lawsuit settlement amount. Non-economic damages are more of a gray area. You and your personal injury attorney will analyze the non-economic damages you are facing and calculate a monetary value.
The defendant’s insurance company will dispute this amount. You will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to negotiate this amount and come to an agreement. Without skilled legal counsel, your chances of earning fair compensation will be extremely slim.
What is the Average Settlement for a Personal Injury?
The average personal injury lawsuit settlement amount is between $3,000 and $75,000 – but this is by no means an exact science. These numbers depend on your individual situation, and understanding exactly how much you are owed is difficult without a professional.
Most personal injury cases fall on either the low end or extremely high end of settlements. You have likely heard stories about personal injury lawsuit settlement amounts in the millions. Some cases certainly settle for seven figures, but they typically involve unique circumstances, punitive damages, or other extraordinary situations.
When you partner with a personal injury attorney, they will assess your evidence and estimate what your claim might be worth. Ultimately, you won’t know the exact amount until the very end.
How Important is a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pursuing Claim Settlements?
Hiring a personal injury attorney to fight for your settlement is the most important move you will make in the process. Earning fair compensation without adequate legal representation is nearly impossible.
For one, calculating damages is a process that is much more in-depth than many assume. Personal injury lawyers work on these cases for a living – they will factor in damages that you may overlook. Secondly, negotiating with insurance companies is an extremely difficult task. These companies have legal departments specifically trained to dispute claims.
To put it bluntly, most companies won’t even take your claim seriously if you don’t have an attorney – and you’ll likely be left short-changed. Here are the primary duties your personal injury lawyer will perform:
Building the Personal Injury Claim
The primary job of a personal injury attorney is to create a strong foundation for your lawsuit. This involves gathering evidence from the incident, invoices, and records for damages you have suffered, witness statements, pictures, camera footage, and more. The goal of this process is to attribute liability to the at-fault party to file the claim.
Calculating damages is one of the most important reasons to hire a skilled attorney. To reiterate, these experts work on cases like yours every single day. They are privy to damages you might miss. Your personal injury lawyer will instruct you on gathering every record related to your financial losses. Additionally, they will assess the severity of your non-economic damages and determine a monetary value.
Negotiating a Settlement
There’s no question about it, the negotiation process is THE biggest reason to hire a skilled personal injury attorney. Again, insurance companies have departments solely dedicated to minimizing personal injury lawsuit settlement amounts. Experienced lawyers know all the tricks and tactics these companies use to deny claims. They will work to push through these obstacles quickly and earn fair compensation.
Representing You in Court
In the rare situation that both parties cannot agree on the personal injury lawsuit settlement amount, the case will go to trial. You will need an attorney to represent you in court, present evidence, and convince the judge/jury that you deserve compensation for your damages.
What’s the Next Step?
After suffering an injury, your primary concern should be recovering and getting your life back – not getting bogged down in the stress of fighting for a fair personal injury lawsuit settlement amount.
The first step in the process is speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Most offer free consultations to assess your situation and determine if you have a valid case. Moreover, these attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement – meaning they make a percentage of the total personal injury lawsuit settlement AFTER they win. You don’t pay a penny out of pocket.
For more questions about the legal proceedings after an injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Midwest Injury Lawyers. We are happy to answer your questions and help guide you in the right direction. Call us at 312-786-5881, email email@example.com, or book a consultation online.