If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to be aware of your rights and seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if you should seek a personal injury settlement.
If you were in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or experienced a criminal act caused by someone else’s negligence and have sustained injuries as a result, you might have a personal injury claim and should consider legal action against the person who was at fault for your injuries.
Many people do not even consider the possibility of pursuing compensation after being injured due to someone else’s negligent actions. But there are many reasons why this may be beneficial for those who pursue such personal injury settlement claims, so it pays to know what kind of damages can be recovered through these claims and how much one can expect from them.
Although our legal system cannot give you your pre-injury life back, it can get you fair reparations or compensation for your injuries. And while there is no magical formula for determining how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement claim, there are a few factors you should consider.
What Are Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury settlement depends on various factors, including economic damages. Economic damages are essentially damages that you can put a price tag on in the average personal injury settlement claim. Several different types of economic damages may apply to your personal injury case, including:
- Past medical expenses: these are the medical bills you have incurred so far from treating your injuries. It includes hospital bills, follow-up medical care costs, prescription medications, medical devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, in-home physical therapy, and any other care you have needed to recover from your injuries.
- Future medical expenses: in many cases, your doctors will be able to tell what kind of continuing medical care you will need as your life progresses. This includes follow-up doctor’s visits, additional therapy, future diagnostic imaging such as MRIs and CT Scans, future pain management therapy such as steroid injections, and even future surgeries. Of course, how much care you may need in the future depends on factors such as your age and if you have a permanent injury.
- Past lost income/wages: if you are completely unable to work due to your injuries, missed time from work due to your pain, or see your doctors and receive medical care, you can receive compensation for the time you have missed.
- Future wage loss/loss of earning capacity: A person’s injury can often decrease their ability to earn money in the future. For example, you may now only be able to work part-time, or you no longer have the ability to continue working in the same career and need to switch to a lower-paying job. Our personal injury lawyers can work with experts who can evaluate your circumstance and determine how much money you will continue to lose in the future.
- Household services: sometimes, a person’s injury forces them to hire help for tasks they used to do before they were injured. This can be anything from hiring a housekeeper to hiring a lawn service.
How much to ask for in a personal injury settlement
Non-economic damages are often referred to as “human damages” and have no price tag attached – instead, they are damages unique to your circumstances. Non-economic damages allow you to recover compensation for your pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by your injuries.
Non-economic damages can take different forms depending on the injuries you suffered and your lifestyle before you were injured. For example, you may now encounter pain in activities you used to take for granted, such as driving to work, taking leisurely walks, helping your children get ready for school, or other activities you once enjoyed without pain and frustration.
Your ability to receive non-economic damages is also different depending upon how you were injured. For example, if you were in a motor vehicle accident, you must have a “threshold injury” to be awarded non-economic damages by a jury.
A threshold injury is one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
The standard is different if you were in any other type of personal injury accident, such as a slip and fall accident. In those cases, there is no “threshold injury” before you can be awarded non-economic damages. Thus in almost any other type of accident, other than an auto accident, you are generally entitled to receive human damages, also known as pain and suffering damages.
Do I Have a Claim for Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant for their bad conduct and deter others from acting in the same way. So, if you are hit by a drunk driver or a person who was texting while driving, punitive damages may also be a factor in your case.
Punitive damages may also be a factor if you were a victim of a sexual assault or other crime because of a business’s poor security.
Are There Other Factors that Determine What I can Settle My Case For?
Yes! There are a huge number of variables that can affect the value of your case. Other factors that can impact the value of your case include:
- the severity of your injuries,
- your age (which affects damages such as the medical care you may need in the future),
- your past medical history (for example, if a car accident causes a neck injury but you have a long history of prior neck treatment), and
- if your injuries are permanent.
Another consideration is if you were partially at fault, it reduces the value of your case. For example, in a trip and fall personal injury case, a common defense is that the hazard is “open and obvious,” and you could have avoided it if you were watching where you were walking. If a jury believes this defense and finds that you are 50% at fault for your injuries, the amount the jury awards you is also reduced by 50% (i.e., a $100,000 jury award turns into a $50,000 award).
Beyond that, other factors, such as the amount of insurance coverage available to cover your damages. Also, the experience and reputation of your personal injury lawyer, if you choose to have one, can affect the value of your claim. Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers will fight to make sure their clients receive the maximum compensation possible.
Injuries from a car accident or other incidents can cost you hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is important that you know how much money to ask for when negotiating a personal injury settlement.
Knowing how much money your injuries are worth will ensure that you receive the maximum amount possible while protecting yourself from accepting an unfair settlement offer.
If you were injured in an accident and it was not your fault, you should seek compensation for your injuries. If the at-fault party’s insurance company is unwilling to pay a fair settlement amount, you may need to file a lawsuit against them.
Before filing a lawsuit or accepting any offer from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier, contact Ligori Law today for a free consultation so our personal injury lawyer team can help get you the personal injury settlement you deserve. We have helped many clients like yourself receive significant awards in personal injury cases by fighting for their rights and getting them the money they need to put their lives back together after being hurt through no fault of their own.
If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, make sure to hire a personal injury firm where you matter. Our personal injury lawyer team understands that every personal injury case is different and impacts injured peoples’ lives in different ways. Our personal injury lawyers live and breathe Florida personal injury law and stay on the cutting-edge of the ever-changing legal landscape because you matter and deserve justice.
We can help walk you through these average personal injury settlement factors and your case if you give us a call at (813) 223-2929 for a free consultation – we are available 24/7 to take your call.