Factors that Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Settlement

When seeking a personal injury settlement there are numerous factors to consider. A knowledgeable attorney with substantial experience in such litigation can ensure that all aspects are covered, from the initial claim filing to the final compensation awarded. If any piece of the puzzle is overlooked or missing altogether, there can be a significant impact on the outcome of the case, including the amount of damages recovered.

Harm Endured

The terminology for this type of legal action refers to harm endured to a person’s body, emotions, or mind, rather than any impact on property. In typical cases the plaintiff claims the damage was the result of another’s negligence. Traffic accidents, work related accidents, claims of assault, product liability and work related illness cases are among the most frequently filed claims. The latter refers to conditions such as occupational stress, repetitive strain, asbestos exposure, asthma and other illnesses related to the workplace.

Statutes of Limitations

Prior to filing such a claim an attorney will consider the medical attention received, any applicable Statutes of Limitations, and the damages to be sought. It is imperative that a doctor was seen in order to determine the nature and extent of the injury, as well as the necessary treatment plan. This information will allow the attorney to establish the amount of money that will be requested in the claim. While the Statutes of Limitations can vary from state to state and even between types of accidents, it ultimately establishes the length of time in which an injured party has to file a claim.

Declaring Damages

A competent attorney can assist in sorting out what damages will be declared when filing for compensation. Special and general damages are considered, as is the severity of the injury and limits placed on the plaintiff’s everyday activities. Those losses falling in the “special” category are those that can be calculated and itemized, including lost earnings, future capacity to earn, medical expenses, property damage, and in some cases, funeral costs. They are considered to be the out-of-pocket losses that are endured following the injury. In contrast, general damages encompass those not easily measured, including emotional distress and pain and suffering. Typically, they are taken into consideration beginning with the date the plaintiff is medically released, and the expected pain and suffering from the same discharge date to the approximate age of life expectancy. This projected impact is manipulated by the medical professional’s final exam and permanency score.

Severity of Accident and Resulting Injuries

The severity of the accident and resulting injuries are key considerations as each incident comes with its own details and impact on those involved.  The extent of the damage will influence the settlement requests and final settlement.  Severed limbs, brain damage, and even broken bones can be serious injuries that result in more long term pain and permanent alterations to one’s life.  The severity will ultimately play a role in the awarded settlement amount.  It may be necessary for the plaintiff to require different services or to stop activities they were previously involved in, such as hobbies, employment duties, and basic household tasks.

Personal Injury Multiplier

The factors impacting a personal injury settlement are often extensive.  A multiplier is commonly employed to calculate the current and future pain to be experienced.  Prescribed medication, medical treatment by a doctor or medical facility, a lengthy recovery period, and day-to-day disturbances will all result in a higher multiplier and greater monetary figure to be awarded. Medical treatment received by non-M.D. doctors, lack of medication needed, short recuperation periods, and the absence of lingering distress are all factors that decrease the multiplier and financial pay-out. Other factors that may come into play and impact a claim one way or another include witnesses, professionalism of the claim dealings, and the proven level of fault for those involved.

Getting Help

Knowing the ins and outs of this form of litigation can greatly influence the success found in the end.  A reputable attorney may be able to maximize the overall compensation received through a personal injury settlement.