People who have suffered due to an incident caused by someone else’s carelessness, such as in a car accident, may file a personal injury claim. These claims help recoup medical expenses and compensate the victim for pain and suffering and other damages involved in the incident. In these cases, people often wonder what’s an average settlement?
Claims may range between hundreds of dollars and, in the case of a select few, millions. The amount of your recovery is tied directly to your unique situation. Most claims are settled out of court. It’s difficult to pinpoint an average settlement, because each case is unique as to circumstance of the accident, your injuries, your damages and your course of healing. Settlements depend largely on the specific circumstances of a case, and there are numerous mitigating factors that affect final settlement amounts. With that in mind, let’s look at the factors that can influence settlements.
Injuries and Physical Suffering
Evaluating damages in a personal injury case begins with, but doesn’t end with, the physical injuries. People with severe injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, are often entitled to larger settlements because their physical suffering is greater. These types of injuries, as well as any others that have long-term treatment periods, long recoveries, and/or cause permanent physical damage (whether that’s a scar, loss of mobility, or more serious impairment) are often entitled to larger settlements. Keep careful track of your medical expenses, including hospital bills, medication, supplies, and therapeutic treatments to ensure your settlement covers all these costs. Settlements may also include money paid for the physical suffering you’ve endured beyond direct medical costs.
Mental anguish can go hand-in-hand with physical wounds. It can contribute to the damages you may be entitled to. For example, if you experience emotional distress, depression, and/or suffer from trauma or anxiety as a result of the incident, you may deserve greater compensation.
Loss of Income
Physical injuries can often lead to lost income. For example, if you’re forced to miss work, or lose your job entirely, due to physical injuries, you can ask to recover these financial losses in a settlement.
When a person purchases an insurance policy, they select certain limits. Minimum limits are often determined by state law. For example, in New Mexico drivers are required to carry minimum auto liability insurance in the amounts of $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons, and $10,000 for property damage in any one accident. The insured party can opt for higher policy limits, but they may not. Once the insured agrees to these policy limits, the insurance company isn’t going to present a settlement that’s over the insured’s policy.
The Role of a Legal Representative
Plaintiffs with legal representation often achieve higher settlements than those who chose to negotiate on their own. First, legal representatives with experience negotiating settlements better understand from the start the type of settlement you might be entitled to. Keep in mind also that insurance adjusters will be eager to find mitigating factors in your case that will allow them to reduce the amount of your settlement. For example, they may suggest that you have a pre-existing condition that affected the outcome, or that weather was a factor. Attorneys become your advocate. They can help locate witnesses who can bolster your case, prove the incident occurred at no fault of your own, and help the insurance adjuster or court understand what you had to undergo as a result of your injuries. Personal injury lawyers are also up to date on the latest issues, standards and cases, such as how standards may change during a pandemic.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you are seeking a personal injury lawyer and would like to know more about the settlement you may receive, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys, for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve