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A Quick Look At How Settlement Amounts Are Usually Determined

Being injured in an accident is no fun, and can seriously impact your life in a wide range of ways. While your physical recover will often take time and the mental healing can as well, there’s another side of recovery that is just as important – financial recovery.

An accident can come with some very high costs, and they can translate into stress for the person who is trying to heal. As such, it’s common to struggle in the weeks after an injury happens. This is even worse when the accident wasn’t your fault but was instead caused by the reckless or negligent actions of someone else.

Seeking compensation for your injuries is something that’s worth doing if you’ve been injured in an accident that you didn’t cause. Your attorney will need to prove fault and show that the other party acted in a negligent or reckless manner and that those actions led to your injuries directly. If they do so, there is a good chance that you’ll be owed compensation.

But how is that compensation amount determined? In a trial, the courts will determine how much they feel you are entitled to based on a number of different factors. If you’re offered an out of court settlement it’s important that you understand what factors usually go into calculating this figure so you don’t accept an amount that is too low.

Here’s a look at some of the key elements used to determine what your settlement amount may be.

  • Medical Bills – The most obvious factor is the amount you’ve had to pay in recovery. Medical bills are almost always the starting point for a settlement sum. However, it’s important to understand that future medical bills are also included in fair settlements. Attorneys will use the predictions of medical professionals to help identify potential future costs to you and factor them into the settlement amount.
  • Lost Wages – Losing time at work translates to lost money in your bank account. Any lost wages as a result of the accident will often be factored into the settlement amount. And as with medical costs, future lost wages are considered as well. If you are permanently disabled, for example, your entire estimated future lost wages might be added. If it’s expected that in the future you may lose days from work due to surgeries, those will be considered as well.
  • Pain and Suffering – This is a widely variable amount that is generally awarded at the discretion of the courts. But it’s one of the factors that keeps insurance companies and the legal teams of the other side nervous and willing to settle out of court – these awards can be quite high, and as such an amount may be added into the final sum just to offset it.
  • Punitive Damages – Punitive damages are the key reason that the other side will try to avoid going to court. These are essentially ‘punishment fees’ that the courts award to you as a kind of lesson to the other side. They can vary greatly, but can often reach staggering amounts. It’s usually not an option to add them into an out of court settlement, but in some cases fear of them could lead the other side to agreeing to a higher settlement for you. Your lawyer will explain more about how this may apply to you.

There may be other factors at play within your case, and the specifics of the points listed above can vary greatly from case to case as well. That’s why it’s important to turn to a good accident lawyer when you’re facing an injury. It could help you ensure that you don’t settle out of court for an amount that’s too low to be fair to you.

During his time as a public attorney for the State of Florida, Bernard Walsh developed a passion for defending the legal rights of Florida's citizens. Having seen many people being taken advantage of after being injured and the financial harm that can cause for families he committed himself fully to helping injured clients get justice, by fighting to make greedy insurance companies pay what they owe.

A Quick Look At How Settlement Amounts Are Usually Determined

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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