Published in Personal Injury on December 3, 2018.
If you were hurt as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Depending on the nature of your claim, compensation may be available for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Before filing a personal injury claim, most victims want to know how much they can actually expect to recover. You may be wondering:
What is an average settlement for personal injury?
That is a complicated question. The best answer is that there is no true ‘average’ settlement amount because each personal injury claim must be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Some claims are settled for a few thousand dollars in total damages, while other claims are settled for millions. Here, our Indiana personal injury lawyers provide an overview of the key factors that affect a personal injury lawsuit settlement amount.
Lawsuit Settlement Amounts: How Much Can I Expect to Recover?
Personal injury claim settlement amounts vary based on a number of different factors. Above all else, plaintiffs should remember that they are entitled to compensation for their damages.
Among other things, your settlement amount will depend on your total losses.
Three of the most important factors that impact personal injury lawsuit settlement amounts are as follows:
- Proving Liability: Indiana is a fault-based car insurance jurisdiction. Under the state’s comparative negligence standard (I.C. § 34-51-2-6), defendants can be held liable for their share of the blame for an accident. In other words, your personal injury settlement offer will depend on your ability to prove liability. As an example, imagine that you were injured in an Indianapolis accident and you sustained $10,000 in total damages. If another driver is found to be liable for the entire crash, you may seek the full $10,000 through a personal injury claim. However, if you are deemed at fault for 30 percent of the crash, your settlement offer will be reduced accordingly. You would only be entitled to recover $7,000 in compensation. Injured victims must avoid an unfair apportionment of liability. The first step in any personal injury claim is putting together the evidence to prove liability.
- Establishing Your Damages: Beyond establishing liability, you must also prove the value of your damages. In Indiana, personal injury claims are generally meant to be purely compensatory in nature. Your settlement offer should account for your specific losses. Recovery may be available for both economic losses and non-economic damages. Your settlement may include money for medical bills, rehabilitative costs, lost current and future wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and long-term disability. To maximize your personal injury settlement, your damages must be properly documented and well-presented. Insurance companies look for any excuse to undervalue personal injury claims.
- Dealing With Insurance Limits: Finally, you may also have to deal with insurance policy limits. If you suffered damages that are in excess of the insurance coverage of the defendant who was at fault for your accident, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney immediately. Your attorney will help you explore every possible legal path to full financial recovery.
Few Personal Injuries Go to Trial: Negotiation Matters
The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of the courtroom.
Indeed, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled prior to litigation.
Generally, personal injury claims are defended by an insurance company. Insurers have a lot of experience handling settlement negotiations.
Their overall goal is to keep average personal injury settlement amounts down. The less these companies pay out in the settlement, the more they can retain in profits.
This is why negotiation matters. You need strong, effective legal representation. Remember, insurance adjusters rarely start with their best settlement offer. Instead, they will use a wide range of strategies to try to limit your settlement.
You need a personal injury lawyer who knows how to hold the insurance company accountable.
Only when an insurer fully understands that they will be held liable through a lawsuit — should the claim go through litigation — will they begin to negotiate fairly.
Contact Our Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Today
At Eskew Law, LLC, we fight for the rights and interests of injured victims. No matter the circumstances of your case, our legal team is ready to help you recover the maximum settlement offer.
To set up a free, no obligation review of your personal injury case, please contact us today.
From our law office in Indianapolis, we represent clients in Marion County and throughout the region.