After a personal injury accident, as a victim, you rightfully want to know the value of your claim. One of the ways to determine (or at least ballpark) your claim’s value is based on average personal injury settlement amounts.
No matter these average amounts, every personal injury settlement is different. In this post, the experts at Greenwald Law Firm will go over the various aspects of personal injury settlement amounts in Louisiana.
What Are Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts?
Average personal injury settlement amounts vary. There are a number of factors that are unique to each case.
On the low end, a personal injury case may settle for a few thousand dollars. Many personal injury cases settle for much more. Average personal injury settlement amounts could be anywhere from $3000 to $75000.
These two numbers represent the very high and very low end of the spectrum. The vast majority of cases will fall somewhere in between.
Of course, there are also outliers. You’ve probably heard about settlements numbering in the millions of dollars. These settlements usually have highly unusual circumstances, like punitive damages. Speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer is the only way to determine where your case might fall on the spectrum of average personal injury settlement amounts.
Will My Case Settle For The Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
Well, as we said, there’s a big range for what’s average. We advise victims not to assume the value of his or her personal injury claim. There may be, and often times are, categories of damages you don’t even know about that apply to your case.
The only way to really determine the value of your claim is to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your individual case.
How Do You Determine the Value of an Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
To determine the value of a specific case, you have to look at the case’s individual components. The total value of a personal injury settlement will be made up of many different totals, including economic damages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
When you look at settlements from other cases, you are looking at the total of all three of these parts. If a particular victim has very high economic damages, their total damages will be much higher. If another victim has a claim to punitive damages, their settlement will be still higher.
What Are Punitive Damages?
In a personal injury case, most of the damages are compensatory. The defendant (or rather, the defendant’s insurance company) pays the plaintiff what they have lost due to the injury. The defendant will compensate for lost wages, medical bills, and other costs the plaintiff would not have had without the injury.
Punitive damages are in another category. A court may use punitive damages to punish a defendant for some bad or malicious act that caused the injury.
For instance, let’s say you sustain an injury in a car accident. If the defendant was intoxicated, they may incur punitive damages in addition to compensating you for your injury.
In most states, there is a cap on punitive damages and many civil courts avoid them. Again, the only way to know if you might be eligible for punitive damages is to ask an attorney.
What is the Difference Between A Settlement and a Trial Verdict?
Settlements and trial verdicts are not the same.
The biggest difference is where and when the two happen. Settlements happen outside a courtroom before the case can even go to trial. A settlement is an amount of money that both parties agree to. You and your attorney agree that the number of damages will cover your costs, and the defendant and their insurance company agree that the amount is acceptable.
Alternatively, a jury decides on a trial verdict. Neither side agrees to it.
There are a few things to keep in mind. First, although trial verdicts tend to be higher, it will be a lot longer until you get the money itself. If you aren’t likely to get enough in damages to make up for the added time, a trial verdict might not be in your best interests.
Second, if you go to trial, there’s always a chance you won’t recover any damages at all. This isn’t usually the case, but there’s always a chance during a jury trial.
Whether you want to settle or go to trial is about balance. With a trial, your award may be substantially higher, but there is always a chance you might not get anything at all.
The Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts Depend on What the Responsible Party Can Pay
Another factor that will affect your settlement amount is what the responsible party can pay.
Even if you have a 100% rock-solid case and high damages, the logistics of collecting a judgment can have some bearing on your settlement amount.
It’s important to understand that most of your settlement will come from the defendant’s insurance company. Their liability insurance policy will pay out your settlement. Anything over the amount of their claim will come straight out of the defendant’s pocket.
For example, say we value your claim at $60,000. The other party has an insurance policy for $50,000 and very few assets. In that case, the insurance company would award you $50,000, and the defendant would be responsible for the other $10,000. You wouldn’t be able to receive one part of the settlement before the other.
In a case like that, it might make the most sense to settle for $50,000.
Yes, your case is worth more than that, but the chances that you’ll actually get that extra $10,000 are very slim if the defendant doesn’t have it.
Contact the Greenwald Law Firm
Joseph Greenwald, Jr. is an experienced personal injury attorney in the Shreveport-Bossier area. If you or someone you love is facing personal injury settlement negotiations, or for more information about the average personal injury settlement amounts, call the Greenwald Law Firm at 318.219.7867.