It is estimated that around 90 to 95% of all personal injury claims are settled out of court, rather than proceeding to a judgment at trial. Despite this, many people simply do not understand how settlements are decided, or what factors go into determining how much a person receives in a settlement. So what, exactly, goes into determining how much someone receives in a personal injury settlement?
- Total value of damage to property
- One of the easiest ways to tell what you may get from a personal injury settlement is the total value of any damage to your property. This tends to be relatively easy to deal with because you simply need to demonstrate what was damaged, and present some evidence of the value of the damage done, such as a repair bill or receipt of purchase for a replacement. While this can potentially be negotiated on, this tends to be relatively straightforward.
- Cost of medical expenses
- Much in the same way, you can also determine what you might get from a personal injury settlement based on any medical expenses you paid. Similarly to property damage, it can be easy to point to medical bills as a way of proving the cost of an accident for the purposes of a settlement. Where things may get complicated is tying certain medical expenses to your settlement, especially if you did not immediately seek medical attention, or damage from the accident was not detected until much later.
- Pain and suffering
- Another important factor in a personal injury settlement is “pain and suffering,” the broad term for the non-financial costs that people suffer as a result of a severe accident. This includes damage to a person’s social life, to their ability to care for themselves, to their ability to engage in activities with friends and family, and in their general ability to enjoy life. While there is no specific amount of money allotted by pain and suffering, it usually multiplies the value of a settlement between 1.5 and 5 times, with three times being a rough average.
- Amount of evidence available
- Of course, an important part of any personal injury settlement is how much evidence is available to prove liability for an accident. While you may be able to prove the overall cost to your health and property, you may have a much harder time proving the other side was at fault, affecting how much the other side may be willing to pay to settle a case. As a general rule, the more evidence you have at your disposal, the larger the settlement you can potentially obtain.
- Finally, there is a substantial amount of negotiation that goes into determining a personal injury settlement. This is often one of the most time consuming and difficult parts of getting a settlement, and insurers will try to use this as a way of intimidating people into accepting lower settlements than they might otherwise be entitled to. That is why you should always have a lawyer to help with settlement negotiations, since they can work on your behalf to get you what you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek out the personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates. Our seasoned New York personal injury attorneys bring more than two decades of trial experience to your case. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys always demand maximum compensation. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts.