There is no average settlement for personal injury because the amount you receive as a settlement depends on a variety of factors.
These factors include the type of personal injury case, the unique circumstances behind your personal injury case, your lawyer’s skill, and much more. What you need to think about is whether you will get fair compensation that can cover all the damages you have incurred.
A personal injury lawyer can help you get a rough idea about the value of your claim based on your specific situation.
Reaching personal injury settlements
The defendant may agree to pay a certain amount of money to the plaintiff in order for the plaintiff to drop the case. This is what is referred to as a personal injury settlement.
Both parties reach an agreement for the settlement amount in the following ways:
- Determining the value of the case: Both sides come up with their own estimates of what the case is worth. Insurance companies often base their estimates on other settlement amounts they have paid in the past. The plaintiff’s lawyer researches, the amount juries have awarded plaintiffs in similar cases.
- Demand letters and settlement offers: Both sides send each other offers and demand letters. During this back and forth communication, the acceptable settlement amount may go higher or lower.
- The signing of the settlement: Both parties will sign the agreement once they agree on the appropriate settlement amount. The plaintiff loses all rights to pursue compensation for the underlying accident after that point.
Common outcomes in personal injury claims
A very small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial – about five percent. This is because both the defense and the plaintiff sides want to avoid the time-consuming and expensive personal injury court cases. When you go to trial, there is no guarantee that the judge or jury will agree that you deserve compensation.
As a matter of fact, you may lose your personal injury settlement if you go on trial. So, insurance companies will often do everything they can to reach a settlement with the claimant.
Most claimants receive payouts between $3,000 and $75,000, but there are a significant number of claimants who have received more than $75,000. Plaintiffs that receive more than $75,000 often have more severe injuries, such as brain and spinal cord injuries. The majority of cases fall somewhere in between this range. For a case involving minor injuries, an average settlement typically runs about $5,000. You may have heard instances where some claimants get millions of dollars, but this situation is rare and usually involves a very specific and unique set of circumstances.
Some statistics estimate that about 70 percent of those surveyed who had experienced the personal injury claim process settled their cases out of court. Approximately four percent saw their cases actually go to trial.
What damages does the settlement cover?
The personal injury settlement should cover the cost of:
- Medical expenses in the present and in the future
- Wages you lost while undergoing treatment and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Most personal injury cases involve situations that leave people with temporary or permanent injuries. The money that victims receive from insurance companies is not always enough to cover the expenses for getting treatment, especially if the injury led to a disability which is most likely going to be permanent.
You need a skilled personal injury lawyer
Your lawyer will not only help you calculate an estimate of the average settlement for personal injury you deserve but also represent you in negotiations with insurance companies. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you and present your evidence before a judge or jury. This is assistance you cannot forego.
Survey respondents have shown that when you have a knowledgeable and skilled attorney working with you, a settlement is reached 91 percent of the time. That statistic compares to only 51 percent who received compensation without the aid of a lawyer. Those who hired a personal injury attorney also typically receive more money in a settlement than those who tried to go it alone. Don’t go it alone. Use the valuable resource that is an experienced personal injury lawyer.