There are many reasons why you may be considering a personal injury claim. Any accident leading to an injury caused by the negligence or carelessness of someone else could constitute a reason for a personal injury case and a settlement.
The range of settlements can vary. These are usually determined according to the circumstances leading to the injuries, the extent of the injuries, and the impact they may have on your ability to work.
Finding the amount that will constitute a fair settlement is not easy if you handle this type of claim on your own. Also, insurers will try force you to take any settlement they are offering, which is usually lower than you deserve.
A lawyer with experience in personal injury cases will be able to take you through the process and ensure you receive fair compensation, preferably through negotiations, because trails can be expensive and time-consuming.
What should you demand?
Whether you decide to see a personal injury lawyer or to pen your own personal injury settlement demand letter, you need to work out a final figure to demand. You need to consider:
- The type of injuries you have and how long these will take to heal – take into consideration any loss of income and suffering.
- Who caused the accident – Is the other side liable or did you also contribute to the negligence?
- Where there witnesses to the incident who can attest to what happened.
Once you have worked out the amount you want to request as compensation, it is normal to begin negotiating by requesting a higher amount than you would be satisfied with. Stick to the general rule which calls for 75% to 100% higher. This allows you room to negotiate because the insurance adjustor’s offer will likely be much lower than you expect.
Average settlements for personal injuries
Average personal injury settlements for car accidents range somewhere between $3,000 and $75,000. However, these amounts are general and don’t take into consideration more severe injuries or the at-fault person’s insurance. Of course, one does hear of settlements of over $1 million, but these are rare and usually involve cases with unique circumstances.
If you have minor soft-tissue injuries, like whiplash, you can expect to get between $6,000 and $25,000, depending on its severity and your medical bills.
If the at-fault party’s insurance won’t settle, your only choice is to go to court.
Personal injury outcomes and how they can be affected
According to NOLO, the legal help company, 70% of their readers received settlements for their personal injury claims. Of these, only 4 % of the cases went to court. This is typical in these types of claims because most of the parties involved prefer out of court settlements.
Even if your injuries are serious, and you deserve a higher payout, this may sometimes not be possible if the defendant’s insurance policy does not cover the amount. If the driver is uninsured, you will be covered if you have Uninsured Motorist coverage.
A successful outcome can be significantly increased if you hire a lawyer, as the NOLO survey shows. These cases usually have higher settlement success and receive higher compensation than those that try on their own, even after the lawyer’s fees are deducted. However, if you decide to seek compensation on your own, negotiate a settlement rather than taking the first offer from the insurer.