Value of an Injury Settlement

If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you might be wondering how much money you can reasonably expect in the settlement.  Your skilled personal injury lawyer can probably give you a high and low number so you’ll have a range and be able to understand about how much you can expect. Does it seem to you like those numbers are just plucked from the air?  They’re not.

Figure Your Personal Injury Settlement’s Value

Every personal injury case is different, even if the circumstances are similar.  If you were injured in a car accident because someone rear-ended you, there’s no rule that says the amount is $X and that everyone who gets in a rear-ending accident and is hurt should get $X also. If the amount of damage done to the car and the cost of the hospital bills were exactly the same, then the damages assigned might be the same, or at least amazingly similar. 
But each case has many intangible things that can’t be taken to a garage and assessed. These things don’t carry a specific dollar value, like emotional pain and suffering.  The presence of these things raises the value of the settlement, or at least they can.

What Goes into the Settlement

  • Any money you’ve lost, because you paid it or you missed work and lost out on money, will be part of the amount.
  • Pain and suffering is one of the damages often awarded, too.  It can increase if the pain and suffering has gone on a long time, or if it’s expected to go on for a long time.
  • Emotional damages are also awarded. If you were in the hospital over your daughter’s wedding, for instance, or you missed an important family or social function because of your injuries.

Figuring the Settlement Amount

While most claims adjusters keep their formula for figuring this amount a closely guarded secret, here’s how it typically works.  The amounts of the provable monetary losses are added up to get a monetary award amount. 

Then the adjuster multiplies that number times whatever percentage he decides best represents a person’s pain, suffering and emotional distress.

In cases where the pain and suffering seems to be relatively minor a claims adjuster could award nothing for those damages, or make them just a small percent of the total of money lost.  But in some cases where the injuries are devastating, have caused great pain or will cause long term suffering, the pain and suffering can end up doubling the amount awarded.

The adjuster will also become familiar with similar cases settled in the area. Even if the adjuster has figured your damages should be about $100,000 but similar cases have never broken over $50,000, you should probably plan on getting less than $50,000 to be on the safe side. That doesn’t make it impossible for you to get the larger insurance settlement, it only makes it less likely that you’ll get much more than most in the area are settled for.

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