Mitchell Lattof | March 30, 2021 | Personal Injury
Most people want to know who much they could receive for a personal injury claim. The truth is that personal injury settlements vary greatly. Some individuals might receive a few thousand dollars for their personal injury claim. Other settlements for injury cases total six figures or more.
The amount of a settlement depends on numerous factors. If a personal injury attorney gives you a value for your injury claim without investigating the claim, the value is merely a guess. An experienced accident attorney works diligently to recover the maximum value of the claim based on the circumstances of the case.
Factors That Impact the Amount of a Settlement in a Personal Injury Case
Various factors affect the value of your personal injury claim. Common factors that impact the amount of money you might receive for your injury case include:
The Type and Severity of Your Injuries
In most cases, the value of a claim increases with the severity of the injuries. Catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities increase the value of a personal injury claim the most. Why? Severe injuries generally increase the value of a person’s damages, including the cost of medical care, loss of income, and physical pain.
Duration of Recovery
The longer it takes you to recover from your injuries, the higher your settlement may be for your claim. When you miss work to recover from your injuries, you lose income. The longer you are under a doctor’s care, the more money you incur for medical bills.
Also, the length of your recovery may be used to calculate pain and suffering damages using a per diem method. A per diem (daily amount) is multiplied by the number of days you were under a doctor’s care to determine the value of non-economic damages.
Permanent Impairments and Disabilities
If the accident causes disabilities or impairments, you could be entitled to future damages. Future damages may include ongoing medical care, long-term personal care, and future lost income. You are entitled to compensation for future financial damages, but you are also entitled to compensation for future pain and suffering.
Disabilities and permanent impairments could cause you embarrassment, inconvenience, a decrease in your quality of life, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages. You deserve to be compensated for all damages caused by a disabling condition or impairment – past, present, and future.
Strength of Evidence
You must prove that the other party caused your injury to recover compensation for your claim. If the evidence you use to prove fault is weak, the other side may offer a lower settlement amount. You must decide if it is better to accept the lower settlement offer or take your chances in court with a weak case.
Allegations of Contributory Negligence
Alabama is one of four states, along with the District of Columbia, that use contributory negligence in personal injury cases. Under the theory of contributory negligence, a victim cannot recover any compensation for damages if they contributed to the cause of the accident in any way.
In other words, if the other party is 99 percent at fault, and you are one percent at fault, you cannot recover any money for your claim. If there is any evidence that you could be partially at fault for the cause of your injury, the other party may refuse to settle the claim. Depending on the evidence, the other party may offer a small settlement to avoid taking the matter to court.
Availability of Insurance Coverage
Every driver in Alabama must have minimum liability insurance coverage for accidents. The minimum amount of insurance required for bodily injury is $25,000.
Therefore, if your damages exceed $25,000, the most the insurance company must pay you for your claim is $25,000. You can sue the at-fault party directly to obtain a personal judgment, but you may or may not receive any money for the personal judgment.
If you have underinsured motorist coverage on your personal car insurance policy, you could file a claim for additional compensation. Your insurance company should compensate you for the difference between your claim’s value and the amount paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
An accident attorney investigates all potential sources of compensation for an injury case before accepting a settlement offer.
Beware of Signing a Settlement Agreement Without Counsel
Signing a settlement agreement ends your claim. Settlement agreements drafted by insurance companies and defense attorneys contain language that releases all parties from all claims. In other words, you cannot seek more money for your damages after you sign the settlement agreement.
Before accepting a settlement for an injury claim, it benefits you to have a personal injury lawyer review the case. An attorney can tell you if the settlement offer is fair based on the facts of your case. If the settlement offer is not fair, an attorney can help you fight for full compensation for your damages.