It’s hard to calculate how much you could get for a personal injury settlement before we investigate your case, but it’s also hard to calculate an average. The best a lawyer can do is call upon their past experience with similar cases to give an estimate.
Why is it so hard to calculate an average personal injury settlement? It’s because there are so many factors that could change the amount. Here are a few you should know about when seeking compensation.
Types of Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases
“Damages,” put simply, are what you get paid for through compensation. They are divided into three kinds. Economic damages are any costs related to your injury you can put a dollar amount on, like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Repair or replacement of property
- Potential future wages you can’t realize due to injury
- Funeral expenses, if necessary
- Medical gear and accomodations for a new disability
The second type of damages are non-economic, such as pain and suffering. Usually, an insurer will use a multiplier of the economic damages to calculate these costs. Thus, until we know all the economic damages, we can’t give an accurate estimate of a case.
The last type are punitive damages, which is an award by the court for bad cases of negligence. These can only be received through a lawsuit, and there is no guarantee you could receive them. It is at the discretion of the court.
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The Type of Case Matters for Settlement Amounts
Personal injury covers a huge range of situations, some of which pay out more money than others. Not all personal injury settlements will be the same. A truck accident or a medical malpractice success is likely to pay more than a dog bite or a minor car crash. Thus, any average estimate of compensation must be limited to similar cases.
The reason these cases pay more is because the insurers of these cases usually offer much higher policy amounts. An at-fault car driver may only carry $10,000 in insurance, but an 18-wheeler may have $750,000. A malpractice situation may have a policy worth millions.
Your Negligence Can Reduce Your Compensation
Indiana recognizes that multiple parties could have responsibility in an accident. As long as you are under 51% responsible for an accident, you can seek compensation. If not, you can’t get money through the court and it will be hard to get it from an insurer.
Your percentage of responsibility reduces your compensation by a like amount. If you are awarded $50,000 but have 20% of the responsibility, you will only receive $40,000. Most estimates you receive will assume you had no responsibility, but it is a factor to consider.
There Could Be Damage Caps
There are certain cases where the law decides the maximum amount of compensation you can get through the court in a personal injury settlement. Medical malpractice is a good example. Assuming your case happened after July 30, 2019, the most you can get is $1.8 million.
If you have a medical malpractice claim, a claim against a governmental entity, a punitive damage award, or a wrongful death claim, you may face these damage caps. Your lawyer will tell you if this is a possibility for your situation.
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How to Get a Good Estimate of Compensation
Naturally, people want to know how much they can get in compensation. They may not feel it’s worth pursuing a lawsuit unless a certain amount of money is on the table. The best way to get a good estimate for a personal injury settlement is to bring documentation of your injuries with you.
The more evidence your lawyer has at a consultation, the better they can judge your chances. If you have a question on what to bring to your consultation, do not hesitate to ask during the scheduling call or when filling out a contact form.
Doing some legwork on your own will also reduce the time your lawyer must take to get that evidence. This can lead to a quicker outcome if you seek to get compensation as soon as possible.