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Personal Injury Settlements Guide: Average Settlement Amounts & What Affects Payment Amounts

By: Anapol Weiss

A personal injury settlement can help you recover from the financial, mental, and physical toll a serious injury can have. It can be difficult to know how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement. Whether you’re afraid you’re asking for too much or not enough, an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and protect your rights. While every case is different and based on a unique situation, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some idea of the process of filing a claim or how to calculate a personal injury settlement estimate.

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts Examples

Personal injury settlements can vary greatly. Whether a settlement amount is the result of a decision in a court case or negotiations between the plaintiff and defendant, it will be based on a variety of factors drawn specifically from the case. The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits deal with relatively minor injuries and will total $50,000 or less. In cases with more serious injuries, the amount of damages can increase exponentially, pushing the total into the millions of dollars range.

Types of Damages In A Personal Injury Settlement

When deciding how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement, it’s always best to start with your monetary damages. These generally come with actual dollar amounts attached that provide an objective look at the costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injury:

  • Medical Bills – Bills for treatment from emergency rooms, hospitals, doctors, testing facilities, and labs can all add up, and medical debt is a factor in two thirds of all bankruptcy filings.

  • Lost Wages – In addition to the expenses generated by a personal injury, many people face a loss of income either directly caused by an inability to perform their job due to an injury or missed time as they work with medical professionals and on their own to recover.

  • Therapy Costs – Physical and adaptive therapy that helps you to continue recovering or find ways to cope with a sustained injury. These can be ongoing bills that will need to be considered when you decide how to calculate a personal injury settlement that will be fair to you.

  • Associated Recovery Expenses – From transportation to and from medical appointments to the need for adaptive devices at home, like ramps for injured parties that find themselves wheelchair-bound, there can be a host of expenses that carry an exact monetary value directly caused by the personal injury.

Next, you will want to factor in non monetary damage, such as the pain and suffering that frequently accompanies a personal injury. These are highly subjective and difficult to quantify. Rather than a dollar amount, these are often represented by a multiplier of the property damage based on the severity of the injury and the expected long-term impact on the injured party’s life.

Usually, this modifier ranges from 1X for relatively minor injuries that affect a patient for a shorter time frame, such as a twisted knee from a slip and fall that doesn’t require surgery. More serious or longer-lasting injuries, like a brain injury that will lead to life-long seizure risks, might be given a modifier of 5X on the already more substantial monetary damages.

Costs That Reduce Your Personal Injury Settlement Amount

While settlements may look like a lot of money when they’re touted on flashy commercials or when an extraordinary case makes the news, the truth is that much of the money is already accounted for at the time the settlement is reached.

Medical Liens

In many cases, patients do not have the money to pay their providers for the care they’ve received. In addition, an insurance company that has paid for medical care will want to be reimbursed for their cost from the proceeds of a personal injury settlement. To help enforce these amounts, they may file medical liens against the proceeds of the claim to ensure that the medical bills get paid for.

Additional Bills

As the personal injury settlement process stretched into weeks and months, care is ongoing and so are the bills for that care. Since these did not yet exist when deciding how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement, these would be paid out of any non monetary damage calculation.

Attorney’s Fees

These compensate your lawyer and their team for the work done on your behalf. When you work with a lawyer, there will be a percentage in the contract you sign specifying how much of a settlement they will collect as fees. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to ask that the defendant in a suit be held liable for attorney’s fees as well.

Additional Expenses

In the filing of a personal injury case, there are other fees that often accrue. Postage, filing fees with the courts, and document fees for certified copies are just a few common expenses involved in filing a personal injury claim.

How To Calculate Personal Injury Settlement Demands

When putting together your claim for a personal injury, getting a lawyer involved early in the process is important. They can not only help protect your rights by reviewing any communications with the defendant or their representative but also help ensure you are asking for the full amount of compensation you’re due. To start with, you’ll want to include all monetary damages in your claim. This is money you’ve either already paid or still owe, and it should be used to set the base amount you derive nonmonetary damages from. If care is ongoing, a reasonable estimate can be included to help ensure you don’t short-change yourself while meeting the two-year statute of limitation window.

Questions or Concerns About Personal Injury Settlements? Talk to Our Lawyers Today

Working with a lawyer is easy to do. Start with a free consultation where you will have the opportunity to discuss the specifics of your situation. They’ll talk to you about the potential for a personal injury settlement and your options moving forward. If you decide to pursue a claim, your case will become their cause as they help put together a strong case, negotiate on your behalf with the defendant or their insurance, and represent you in court. Contact Anapol Weiss to get the legal representation you need to get the compensation you deserve today.