Several factors affect how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement, including:
- Severity of injuries
- Length and complexity of recovery and treatment
- Mental trauma
- Evidence and certainty of liability
Settlements can be affected by the type of insurance coverage and policy limits. Some states also place a cap on certain types of damages or personal injury cases. For example, states can place pain and suffering caps on medical malpractice cases.
How to Know What to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement
Many victims do not accurately assess the value of their damages. They may accept a settlement that is not adequate for their financial losses and injuries.
That is why we encourage you to talk to a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the settlement process and can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Takes an Objective Evaluation
A personal injury lawyer can objectively and thoroughly review your injuries and damages, including any future medical costs or life care you may need. A lawyer will consider many factors when valuating your damages, including:
- If your injuries left you permanently disabled, disfigured, or with a prolonged medical condition
- If you are unable to work or to return to the type of work that you did before the personal injury
- If your injuries prevent you from enjoying the same activities and lifestyle as you did before you were injured, including consortium with your spouse or partner
- If you are the injured person or seeking damages for a loved one who suffered a wrongful death by another person’s actions
You may not be able to see the “big picture” when it comes to how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement. This is understandable: you might be at home, recovering from your injuries, or even in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility. You may be too angry or upset to make the best decision.
That is why many accident victims seek a personal injury lawyer to help them recover a reasonable settlement. You also have the peace of mind that someone is fighting for your legal rights while you are focusing on your health and well-being.
What Damages a Personal Injury Settlement Might Cover
Each accident, injury, or illness is different. However, there are basically two types of damages in personal injury settlements: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are also known as economic damages. These are tangible damages or expenses, such as:
- Ambulance and emergency room
- Specialists, medical tests, and hospitalization
- Prescription drugs
- Lost pay during the time that you had to miss work
- Related out-of-pocket expenses
Your lawyer can prove these special damages with receipts, credit card statements, pay stubs, and other evidence of economic loss.
General damages are also called emotional or noneconomic loss. They are less tangible than special damages because they involve your emotional or mental anguish, pain, and suffering because of the accident.
- Diminished quality of life
- Embarrassment or diminished personal reputation
Your personal injury settlement may include one or both types of damages.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Valuates Damages
It might be straightforward to submit a bill from the emergency room as special damage, but it is more difficult to assign a value to general damages.
Personal injury lawyers have many ways to valuate damages, including expert testimony from:
- Medical professionals about your physical and emotional injuries
- Vocational specialists about how your injuries may affect your earning ability
- Financial professionals who speak to the impact of your injuries or damages on your economic well-being
Catastrophic Injuries and Damages
Generally, the more severe or extensive the injury, the greater the number of damages that could be recovered.
For example, if you were in a car accident and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), your costs could be in the high thousands. According to research published in PLoS One, in-hospital treatment costs for patients with severe TBIs ranged from $2,130 to $401,808.
For a medical malpractice case in which the doctor failed to correctly diagnose cancer, cancer treatment can cost $150,000 or more, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
It is assumed that general damages, like pain and suffering, will be greater with severe or extensive injuries.
Call for a Free Case Evaluation with Our Attorneys Today
A lawyer with D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™, can help you understand how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement. Please call (713) 850-8600 today to speak with a member of our team.