You get a settlement from the defendant whenever the defendant’s actions cause you to become injured in any way, shape, or form. The defendant’s insurance company will generally give you the settlement in the form of a check.You’ll learn how to value your losses, the types of damages that you can get, who will pay your claim, and the average payout amount.You’ll also learn how certain factors like shared fault and medical liens affect your final settlement amount.
Types of Personal Injury Damages
Personal injury claims cover two types of damages:
- Economic damages – the legal term for these is special damages. These are calculable expenses. You can take the amounts from receipts,bills, and other documents and add them up to come up with a lump sum.
- Non-economic damages – the legal term for this is “general damages” or pain and suffering as they’re harder to calculate since they’re intangible.
- Medical expenses – these are costing that stem from treating your injuries. These play a major role in determining your final settlement amount. You calculate them by gathering all of your bills and adding the amounts up.
- Out-of-pocket expenses – these include any money that is spent on injuries treatment. They include bandages,over-the-counter-medications,crutches, and other related items.
- Replacement services – this is the extra money you spent on taking care of yourself after having sustained your injuries. They are housekeeping,lawn care, child care
- Transportation costs – your mileage costs to and from places that are relevant to your injuries, like the courthouse or the doctor’s office, will be reimbursed.
- Property damage – you can be reimbursed for damaged personal property like cell phones and sunglasses in your settlement.
- Lost income – you can receive damages for lost wages you incurred while recovering from your injuries. You can generate proof of lost wages by submitting a statement of lost wages from your employer or by using a profit and loss statement or communication with clients copy if you’re self-employed.
Examples of Non-economic Damage
Physical pain – this is exactly what its name implied – physical pain that results from the initial injury. It can, but doesn’t always, start when the person initially sustains the injury. Physical pain often lingers on while the person is recovering. People who sustain permanent injuries can endure physical pain, scarring, disfigurement, disability (resulting from limited mobility and bodily functioning.) They may endure this for the remainder of their lives.
Emotional distress – you can be traumatized by an accident, especially if it was bad and you sustained a lot of physical pain as a result. Some examples of emotional distress (note that this is not an exhaustive list) include fear, anxiety, depression, anger,nightmares and PTSD.
Loss of consortium – it can include loss of sexual enjoyment, but it also includes loss of love and other emotional feelings that accompany being around a loved one.
Loss of enjoyment of life – this occurs when the accident victim isn’t able to participate in and enjoy activities that they once used to do.
How to Value Your Personal Injury Claim
You don’t really have a claim if you haven’t suffered from any physical injuries. That’s because the total amount of your physical injuries will serve as the basis for which to calculate other parts of your claim (pain and suffering). There are two categories of injuries:
- Minor Injuries – these are easier to calculate. Just tally up all of your bills, expenses, and receipts, and you have a figure to work with. Use a multiple of 1 or two to calculate pain and suffering.
- Serious injuries –a personal injury lawyer Turlock can determine this because of the complex nature of your injuries. The final amount will include the cost of treatment and care and a larger component for pain and suffering.
Since most personal injury claims (about 90-95%) settle out of court, the average personal injury settlement ranges from $4,500 to $70,000. The average payout for a car insurance accident is $15,000.
How to Increase your damages
- Give notification – ideally, you should be notifying your insurance company right after your accident. If that’s not possible, then be sure to notify the insurance company ASAP!
- Do some evidence gathering – gather as much evidence as possible since you will need that as proof to justify the amount of settlement that you are asking for.
- Demand compensation – you’re entitled to it and deserve it if you have sustained substantial bodily injuries and property damage. You will have your personal injury lawyer send the defendant’s insurance company a demand letter with the initial settlement amount you want. Make sure it’s a fairly high number since you will be revising it downwards, sometimes, considerably so!
- Go through the negotiations process – you will sit down with your personal injury lawyer and the defense to negotiate a settlement that both parties can agree upon.
- Sign the release – get the agreed upon settlement amount in writing. You’ll have to sign a release agreement before you get the money.
Other Factors that Affect Personal Injury Rewards
There are many other factors that may influence your final settlement amount like:
- Shared fault – expect the defendant’s insurance company to use comparative fault laws as a justification for reducing your final settlement amount if you were even a little at fault.
- Insurance policy limits – you may run into issues if the parties responsible for your personal injury accident are either uninsured or underinsured.
- Lack of evidence – don’t expect a high settlement amount from the defendant’s insurer if you can’t produce enough tangible evidence to justify your settlement demands.
- Punitive damages – these are intended to punish the defendant for his or her wrongful actions. Juries tend to award these if the defendant acted in a way that was unacceptable socially or legally.
- Wrongful death – these are complicated, so hire a good personal injury lawyer San Ramon if you have to file one of these.
- Medical liens – you’ll have these if an insurance company paid you before you received your final settlement. You’ll need to pay the liens back.
For more information about legal services in Turlock, contact Braff Injury Law Group today at 209-417-6243. Call us.