What is the Value of a Typical :Personal Injury Settlement?
In law, a personal injury includes any physical, mental, or reputational harm a victim experiences. While personal injury cases may involve intentional damage inflicted by a defendant, most claims are based on negligence. Common types of personal injury cases include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Premises liability claims
- Workplace accidents
- Wrongful death
- Defective products claims
- Medical malpractice
To recover a settlement for the losses they’ve incurred due to their injuries, a victim may file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company. If the insurer refuses to pay a reasonable settlement, the insurance coverage is insufficient, or the defendant has no insurance, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Every personal injury case is unique, and settlement values can vary widely based on the circumstances. An experienced Washington State personal injury lawyer can detail some of the elements that could impact the final value of your settlement. However, to better understand the potential worth of your claim and safeguard it against any costly errors, we recommend consulting with a trusted law firm as soon as possible after your injury.
What Factors Can Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim?
Determining a fair settlement amount for your injuries requires close attention to detail and a careful examination of the ways your accident has affected all aspects of your life. Each personal injury claim is highly individual, and settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to several million for the most severe cases.
Personal injury lawyers are adept at uncovering the full extent of your damages and translating that into a settlement amount that will provide financial stability for you and your family as you recover. Failing to consider the full spectrum of losses can result in accepting a settlement value that is too low and does not adequately compensate you for your injuries, potentially leading to major financial challenges and an inability to get the care you need. Issues your lawyer and the court will consider when determining your settlement amount include:
- The severity of the injuries and the level of pain involved.
- How long the injury has affected or is reasonably anticipated to affect you.
- The impact of the injury on your ability to care for yourself and your family.
- How the injury affected your income, benefits, retirement, and ability to continue working in the same field (or at all).
- Current and future medical treatment necessary to treat the injury, including medication, surgeries, and physical therapy.
- The disruption caused to your daily functioning and your capacity to enjoy life.
- Whether the injury is considered catastrophic or permanently disabling.
- The quality of your evidence proving the defendant’s liability and negligence.
- The negotiation skills of your legal team and the insurer’s willingness to settle the case.
- The precedent for settlement amounts for similar injuries in your jurisdiction.
What Steps Can You Take to Increase Your Chances of a Higher Settlement?
While personal injury lawyers aim to recover the maximum compensation for their clients, insurance companies are for-profit businesses that generally attempt to pay the lowest possible settlement to victims to protect their bottom line. Intense negotiations between your legal team and the insurer are common as they try to reach a settlement. In fact, an estimated 95% of pending personal injury lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement between the parties.
So, what can you do to support a strong claim and increase your leverage in negotiations? The following tips may help you maximize your compensation:
- Get prompt medical care: Many insurers have strict timelines for initial medical evaluations, so don’t delay getting care and be proactive in following your treatment plan.
- Take photos of the accident scene: As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Accident scenes are often cleaned up quickly, and critical evidence may be lost or destroyed. Taking video or photos of the accident site and your injuries can allow for accident reconstruction and provide visual proof of the incident.
- Keep detailed records of your recovery process: Gather all bills for appointments, therapy, surgery, and medication in a safe place. Also, begin a diary during your recovery to note pain levels, daily challenges, and your mental state as you care for your injuries.
- Call a trusted personal injury attorney: They can help determine how much your claim is worth and prevent you from accepting lowball settlements. They can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so you avoid misstatements that could be used against you in court.
What Damages Can an Experienced Lawyer Help You Recover in Your Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury can be emotionally and financially devastating for survivors and their families. While nothing can undo the pain and difficulties you’ve experienced, a personal injury lawsuit can help you regain financial stability after your accident. The compensation available in a Washington personal injury case can be split into two categories:
- Economic damages: Covers monetary losses you’ve suffered due to your injury, including lost wages, medical expenses, costs for services such as home health care, and more.
- Non-economic damages: These losses are more challenging to quantify because they are less tangible than economic damages, but they can still tremendously impact your life. Through a lawsuit, you may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, emotional distress, scarring, and disfigurement.
Does Washington State Allow Personal Injury Victims to Recover Punitive Damages?
Most states give courts the discretion to award punitive damages in personal injury cases where the defendant acted with malice or gross negligence. These damages serve as a punishment and may deter others who may be considering the same actions.
Although these damages are rare, they can significantly increase the total settlement in a case. However, Washington is one of the few states that generally does not allow punitive damages for most personal injury claims. If you have questions on this topic, we urge you to contact our law firm to receive the most up-to-date information on the relevant state laws.
How Can a Personal Injury Law Firm Assist You?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is vital to understand your legal rights and know the full value of your claim. Our skilled legal team can carefully evaluate your case to determine what a fair settlement should entail. For personalized information on your unique claim, contact South Sound Law Group at 253-383-3328 to schedule a free consultation.