Suffering an injury can negatively impact your life and can change it in ways you never expected. Not only is there the obvious physical pain you experience, but often there is an emotional and mental impact that can make an injury difficult to recover from.
Life can be even more stressful if the injury occurred because of another person’s negligent actions. On top of recovering from the injury and managing missed time at work, you also must worry about money and getting the proper amount to cover your loss wages and medical expenses.
Any person injured because of negligence has the right to a fair personal injury settlement. A fair settlement consists of coverage for your medical bills and any lost wages you may have that are a direct result of the injury. Since there are several factors that contribute to the amount you receive in an injury settlement, it is important you seek legal guidance to ensure that all entitled compensation is received.
What Determines a Personal Injury Settlement?
A personal injury settlement is not black and white and consists of many dynamics influencing the amount you ultimately receive. It is in your best interest to educate yourself of these factors to be compensated fairly and properly.
Insurance companies look at special and general damages in an injury case. General damages are not measurable and consist of emotional pain or psychological trauma or pain and suffering. Special damages are more specific, such as lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and other expenses.
Other important factors include the severity of the injury, and the subsequent recovery from the injury, as well as how the injury affects the victim’s life. There is also the looming possibility of legal and court costs.
How Does an Injury Impact a Settlement?
Since there are so many injuries one can suffer, and how they affect the victim varies from person to person, it is important to be properly checked by a doctor and have all medical visits and expenses recorded and monitored. The severity of the injury is a big factor; a more severe injury normally warrants a higher settlement because a severe injury requires longer rehabilitation periods and may permanently render an injured person unable to work.
A doctor’s determination of your injuries also plays a role in compensation. To an insurance company, a soft tissue injury, such as whiplash, can range from minor to severe and may not result in a large enough settlement amount to cover your needs. A doctor’s visit and the proper documentation can show a judge or an insurance company how much the injury you suffered really affects your life.
A severe injury, such as a brain injury, can cause permanent damage and hinder a person’s daily life. A severe injury can cause loss of movement or cause an inability to function normally, which could render someone unable to work and needing to apply for long-term disability. This could derail an injured person’s career and make them unable to support themselves and their family, which could also lead to emotional and mental anguish. It is important to factor in these scenarios when determining an injury settlement.
Legal Costs and Fees
If it comes down to it, there may be a possibility of your settlement going to trial, which would also affect the amount you receive. This may also be a positive for the victim. The threat of trial, along with the expensive legal fees, hiring of experts, or additional court costs may sway the responsible party on deciding on a larger settlement amount to avoid going to court. Most parties would rather settle on a larger payout instead of going to court where they may not succeed.
Tips to Achieve a Fair Injury Settlement
The most important advice to give when hoping for a fair injury settlement is to hire the proper personal injury lawyer. These cases can often be difficult to manage and could compound the stress for the victims, so hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the proper settlement amount to cover your expenses. In fact, statistics show that injured victims received almost three times the amount of compensation than those who did not seek legal guidance, and that is after subtracting the legal fees.
Those that hired a personal injury lawyer raised their chances of compensation as well. Injured parties with legal representation had a 90 percent success rate of compensation, whereas those that did not have representation only had a 51 percent success rate. During negotiations, an attorney also raised the average amount of compensation. According to recent statistics, a personal injury lawyer has negotiated, on average, over a $30,000 increase over the initial offer of the responsible party.
It is also important to note that over half of personal injury claims are settled without pursuing a lawsuit; however, those that proceeded with filing a lawsuit were more successful receiving a payout than those who did not. This shows that responsible parties are more likely to settle than to go to court.
Here are a few more tips to help you receive a proper and fair injury settlement:
- Document everything: It is imperative to have everything involving your injury documented, whether it be police reports, camera footage, witness statements, or any other evidence that supports your claim. You should also keep all bills and receipts and expenses that are affected by your injury. Keep a record of any other damages, such as therapy, pain and suffering, hiring help around the house, and any psychological issues you may experience.
- Medical records: Your medical records should only be released to you, your attorney, and your insurance company. Anyone else should not have access to them, especially the responsible party, their attorney, or their insurance company. Your medical records and history could be used against you during negotiations.
- Reserve account: The insurance company for the responsible party will have an adjuster for your case and will set a reserve account to cover what they expect to pay you. This amount is influenced by everything that happens after your injury, which includes bills and legal costs, and lost wages. Anything that you lose needs to be disclosed to them, and the insurance adjuster should be informed every time something changes.
As always, if you are injured and are seeking to obtain compensation, it is advisable to get legal counsel immediately. An experienced lawyer will evaluate your case and will determine if your injuries warrant pursing a personal injury claim.
Chester County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Injured Victims
Suffering an injury could easily derail your life and your career. Medical expenses and bills may pile up, along with the emotional stress that comes with an injury that can render you unable to work or function normally. It is important to pursue a fair injury settlement so that you and your family can cope with the abrupt change. Our experienced Chester County personal injury lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. will fight to get you the rightful amount of compensation. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.