After a slip and fall accident, a car collision, or any other personal injury mishap, our laws and the legal system allow any injured party to demand compensation for injuries sustained and losses incurred. Naturally, if you are the injured party, you want to know how much personal injury settlement to ask for and how much compensable damages you are legally entitled to in order to reduce the suffering and distress.
While there are settlement calculators accessible online, and these do provide a rough estimate of the compensation you can legally claim, you will most certainly need an expert in the field who will be able to help you assess the situation and guide you through the entire personal injury settlement process. Of course, you would not want to underclaim, and the law would also not want you to unjustly enrich yourself, either.
Ultimately, the value of a personal injury settlement will vary from case to case, depending on the severity of the mishap, the actual losses, the damages, if any, among many other factors that are to be considered. Below are helpful guidelines on determining how much an injured party is entitled to claim in a personal injury case.
Factors Affecting Settlement Value
Needless to say, an important factor in determining the settlement value is the liability of the defendant. If the defendant is not at fault for the mishap, then it would be futile to probe into the other factors for determining the value of the injured party’s claim.
Fundamentally, a defendant’s liability is grounded on three elements: duty, breach of such duty, and injury resulting from such breach. On the first element, this refers to the duty of the defendant to take steps to prevent an injury from happening. Breach, meanwhile, is when the defendant fails to live up to his duty to prevent injury. For instance, on the road, a driver is expected to exercise caution and due diligence in order to avoid the occurrence of any collision and mishap. In a case where a driver is texting behind the wheel, for example, and an accident occurs as a proximate cause of such lack of caution and diligence, liability may be surmised based on these three principal elements.
Note, too, that a defendant’s liability may be affected, i.e. reduced, if it can be so proven that there was contributory negligence, or the failure on the part of the injured party to exercise reasonable care for his or her safety. Correspondingly, this means that the injured party’s claim is to be reduced, too, if he or she was partly responsible for the injury.
Another important factor is the available assets of the defendant an injured party wishes to claim from. Of course, if a defendant does not have resources to pay, or if he or she cannot be covered by an insurance payment, then, naturally, there is no point fixing a high settlement value. This is true no matter how strong and convincing an injured party’s case is.
Injured Party’s Losses
In a personal injury case, losses include not only your “out of pocket” expenses, such as medical bills and car repairs, for example, but also those that cannot easily be assigned a monetary value, like the suffering, trauma, or sleepless nights that resulted from the injury. Unearned salary may be claimed, too, if the injury caused a temporary (or even permanent) stoppage of work on the part of the victim. These, basically, are the things to be quantified in order to come up with a settlement value.
Merits of Engaging the Services of a Personal Injury Lawyer
Above are just the basic factors in determining a settlement value but, as mentioned above, personal injury settlements vary from case to case. There are instances where evaluating given just these three factors would easily produce a good personal injury settlement value, yet this will not always be the case, especially in more complicated occurrences. This is where an experienced personal injury lawyer comes into the picture. Essentially, here are the main merits of engaging the services of a legal expert:
- A personal injury lawyer has had years of training and experience in assessing a personal injury case, and so will be able to properly evaluate the facts of your case, no matter how complicated they seem to be. Additionally, quantifying damages will be much easier, too.
- You will be more at ease, especially since the attorney will also be able to build a stronger case for when you and the opposing party eventually decide to take things to court.
- In fact, during the preliminaries, a personal injury lawyer will be able to determine if you have a case in the first place. This is very important in making an informed decision in pursuing your claim.
- A personal injury lawyer will be able to negotiate for you. More importantly, with his or her knowledge and years of practice, negotiation will be done right and well, thus giving you the claim you are correctly entitled to.
- If you are to claim against an insurance company, having a personal injury lawyer will definitely be advantageous, especially since these companies will, of course, be represented by their own lawyers.
If you are in the Atlanta area and are in need of the services of a personal injury lawyer, Musgrove Trial Firm is here to help. Located in Norcross, Georgia, Musgrove is composed of a team of highly skilled and competent personal injury lawyers, who will be able to guide you through the whole personal injury settlement process.
Our office is open and ready to hear your case. Go and send us a message on our website or give us a call for immediate assistance.