If you have been injured in an accident and are considering making a claim, you probably want to know how much compensation you can expect to receive. Personal injury settlements can help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and more.
What is a Personal Injury Settlement?
The majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. During the beginning of the claims process, both parties may send settlement offers back and forth before reaching an agreement. When both parties reach an agreed upon on amount to pay and receive, they have reached a settlement.
Settlement amounts are based on damages, such as the severity of injuries and property damage. Liability can also play a role. If the plaintiff (the person filing the claim) is partly liable for the accident or injuries, the personal injury settlement amounts may not be as high as expected.
Insurance limits must also be taken into consideration. An insurance company will likely offer an amount up to the policy limit. From there, the additional settlement must come from the defendant’s assets. If the defendant does not have assets, such as savings or investments, your settlement amount may also be lower than expected.
It’s likely that your attorney will not begin sharing a settlement amount with you until they have received an offer that’s worth discussing. The settlement process can take time as both parties continue to negotiate.
Understanding and Agreeing to the Terms
The terms of an agreement must include the amount to be paid and how it will be paid, whether it is a lump sum or installments. An agreement might also include information on whether one party is covering the legal costs of another.
The agreement should also be in writing once you have agreed to the terms. Both parties will also have to sign the agreement, in addition to witnesses.
Negotiation for personal injury settlements is key, which is why you need a lawyer. Once you accept the offer, there’s no renegotiating.
You must also be sure that you fully understand the terms of the settlement. Your lawyer should provide a thorough explanation of what you are agreeing on and how much you should expect after legal fees.
While settlements are meant to cover damages, they can also become the precedence for change.
Most people have heard of the McDonald’s coffee case, wherein a woman sued after she was burned by a cup of hot coffee from McDonald’s. However, most people do not know specific details about the case, such as the claimant’s age of 79-years-old and being hospitalized for eight days to treat the burns. The victim also had to undergo painful skin grafts for the burns, which covered six percent of her lower body. Additionally, before the infamous lawsuit, McDonald’s had faced more than 700 similar claims during the previous decade.
The lawsuit resulted in one of the largest punitive damage awards in history. It also resulted in McDonald’s changing the temperature in which they served their coffee.
Product liability lawsuits can quickly lead to product recalls and force manufacturers to stop producing or selling specific products deemed too dangerous, such as imported children’s toys containing lead paint. The use of Chinese drywall also led to a number of class action lawsuits; in 2010, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would provide tax relief for homeowners affected by property damage caused by Chinese drywall.
While personal injury settlements can help victims and their families recover compensation for the damage done, they can also help protect the rest of the public from similar injuries or damages.
After an accident, you may think that you can handle the matter on your own, however, an attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. When you hire an attorney, you can rest assured you have someone working on your behalf to secure a personal injury settlement that will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
If you have been injured, don’t settle without first calling us.