If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The negligent party may be held responsible for paying your medical bills, reimbursing your lost wages, and more – so how much compensation could be coming your way?
The Importance of Talking to an Attorney
First, understand that if you’ve been personally injured recently, it’s important to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer is going to serve as a professional advisor for all your legal needs. They’re going to help you understand the nature of your case, your chances of winning a settlement, and how to conduct yourself to maximize the settlement you receive. They’ll also represent you at trial, provided the case goes to trial. Plaintiffs with lawyers almost always see higher payouts than plaintiffs without lawyers.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that every case is different. It’s impossible to estimate exactly how much money you could receive without a professional legal analysis – which any personal injury lawyer can give you.
Let’s talk about typical payouts. Among people with personal injury claims, 70 percent of plaintiffs eventually saw a payout. Nearly 67 percent of plaintiffs saw compensation in the form of a settlement, with only 4 percent of cases ever going to trial.
Roughly half of plaintiffs see a relatively small payout, ranging from $3,000 to $25,000. Around 16 percent of plaintiffs received less than $3,000, with 10 percent seeing $25,000 to $75,000 and 16 percent seeing more than $75,000. Even so, the average payout is roughly $52,900.
Variables Influencing Your Payout
Your payout will be influenced by the following variables:
· Your lawyer. If you have a lawyer, you’ll be in a much better position to win a payout than if you don’t have one. The quality and integrity of your lawyer will also matter; if your lawyer has significant experience and is willing to fight for you, you’re going to see a higher payout.
· The extent of your injuries. The overall extent of your injuries also plays a role in how much money you receive. The more severe your injuries are, the more money you’re likely to receive.
· The evidence. What is the evidence in your case? You’re much more likely to receive a payout if you have significant documentation and other forms of evidence showing exactly how the events unfolded. If the situation is ambiguous, your settlement will be reduced. This is one reason why it’s important to gather evidence as proactively and consistently as possible.
· The nature of the negligence. How negligent was the other party? If they seem like a good person who made an innocent mistake, the payout may be lower. If they seem hostile, ill-intentioned, or if they demonstrate a lack of remorse, the payout may be higher.
· Your medical bills. The nature and extent of your medical bills will also play a role in your settlement offer. The negligent party is responsible for covering your medical expenses, so the higher those are, the more money you’ll potentially receive.
· Your lost wages. Don’t forget about your lost wages. If you were or are unable to work because of injuries you sustained in the incident, the responsible party will be responsible for compensating you for any money or opportunities you lost.
· Your quality of life. In the legal world, defendants are often responsible for damages related to pain and suffering – in other words, you could be entitled to a payout based on the qualitative experiences you had before, during, and after the incident. If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain, or if you’re unable to do the things you love, you’ll probably be in line to receive a higher payout.
· Loss of life or loss of consortium. Cases in which a person has died due to negligence tend to have a higher payout than other cases. If someone you knew or someone close to you passed away in this incident, the responsible party may be required to compensate you for loss of consortium.
· Negotiation processes. Your settlement amount may also depend on the negotiation process. If you’re willing to negotiate more aggressively and draw out negotiations as much as possible, you could end up with a much higher settlement. Insurance companies and defending lawyers usually start with the lowest possible offer they think you’ll consider, gradually ramping up the offer over time (though this isn’t always the case).
· The judge. In rare circumstances, personal injury cases go to trial. When this happens, the outcome largely depends on the judge. With all these other variables in consideration, they’re going to issue a judgment they feel best suits this case.
If you have a strong case, you could end up winning tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Make sure you talk to a personal injury lawyer before making any major decisions, and start working proactively to gather the evidence and documentation you may soon need.