If you were hurt in an accident, you are probably wondering how much money you can receive from insurance – or if you have to take the legal path – from a jury. It is a natural question to ask, particularly if you have suffered severe injuries or are now permanently disabled. You are well aware that personal injury settlements are more than medical expenses or exact costs. You have probably heard about multi-million dollar settlements between people for various types of accidents and injuries. Even if you do not need one million dollars, you should absolutely expect a fair settlement. For more information on recovering from an accident, contact the Augusta personal injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A.
The main type of damages personal injury victims receive are economic, which means they are derived from specific costs related to the accident and can be calculated. Economic damages are based on specific data like the cost of medical care, medications, rehabilitation, renovations to a home due to a disability, repairing or replacing a vehicle or other property. Economic damages reimburse costs the person has already endured and cover future expenses related to the accident.
The second type of damages a personal injury victim generally recovers are noneconomic. These are also thought of as intangible costs and include emotional distress, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of sexual function. There can be a great deal of leeway in this type of recovery because an insurer, judge, or jury must put a figure on a non-monetary factor. How much is this one person’s pain worth? How much should this other person’s loss of enjoyment of life cost?
Noneconomic damages can raise many questions that a victim and his or her lawyer need to answer. It is often up to the person and his or her legal counsel’s skill in demonstrating these damages that enable more significant settlements. However, there are many factors that go into an insurance company or jury deciding on a higher or lower settlement for the injured party.
Important Factors in Personal Injury Settlements
Almost no settlement is strictly pure compensation for what a victim had to financially spend due to the accident. Damages generally include some form of noneconomic recovery, which is an estimate of what it takes to make a person whole. The purpose of the damages are not merely to make the victim’s bank account the same balance as before the accident, but to take the person back to his or her previous state as much as possible. Because damages are not only based on financial costs, there are factors that can influence a settlement higher or lower.
- Type of injury: Soft tissue injuries, which do not appear on X-rays or other imaging, often receive low settlement offers, but this is not always the case. Insurance companies and even juries, may see these injuries as less damaging or not as big of a deal compared to broken bones or a brain injury. In order to receive a fair settlement for a soft tissue injury, a victim and his or her attorney may have to work hard to prove the damages associated with a soft tissue injury, including other corresponding injuries, advanced medical procedures, extensive pain, and long-term recovery. Soft tissue injuries can also be related to a disfigurement, which would lend itself toward a higher settlement.
- Severity of the accident: Insurance companies, judges, and juries are also influenced by the severity of a car crash or other accident. In truth, the severity of a car accident is not directly proportional to the severity of the victim’s injuries. An accident that may not have totaled the car may still have caused a serious injury to the driver or a passenger. On the flip side, car accidents that turn a vehicle into a pile of scrap may have victims who escape with minor injuries. Despite these differences, people are more likely to believe someone suffered severe physical and psychological injuries if the victim was in a serious accident.
- The jury: When personal injury victim takes his or her case to court, the amount of the final settlement rests in the jury’s hands. Since the jury will be made up of locals of that jurisdiction, the economics, religion, and politics of that region can affect the outcome. Many lawyers notice that more wealthy and conservative areas award fair but smaller settlements. Juries from economically depressed areas are a little more likely to award a higher settlement.
- You: When you take your case in front of a court, the members of the jury have no choice but to form an impression of you in addition to learning facts about your situation. Jurors may be prone to granting larger settlements to victims they like or understand. However, if the jurors form a negative impression of how you handled the accident or the continuing situation, they may award you a compensatory but lower settlement.
No One-Size-Fits-All Settlement
Damages for various injuries vary greatly and are based on a number of factors. There is no way to
predict the exact amount you will settle with an insurer for or be awarded from a jury. So many factors are in play, such as location, severity of accident, and each party’s personalities, that two people with seemingly similar injuries can be awarded very different settlements.
Contact an Augusta Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in an accident and you want to know what you might be able to recover, contact the dedicated Augusta personal injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. right away. By speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible, you can learn the best way to document your physical and psychological injuries, enabling you to better prove your costs, pain, and suffering. While economic damages are easy to request and be awarded, it is the noneconomic injuries you must fight for.