To be frank, there really is no way to accurately name an “average” personal injury case settlement amount. This is because each case is as different as the individual parties involved. Settlement amounts are determined by many factors including, but not limited to, the facts of the case. There are, however, common considerations that should be taken into account when calculating a reasonable settlement amount.
How Settlements are Reached in Personal Injury Cases
Typically, a settlement occurs after the injured party (plaintiff) files a lawsuit against the allegedly at-fault party (defendant). Sometimes a settlement may occur before a lawsuit has been filed in court – referred to as “presuit.” When a settlement happens, the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a specific amount of money in exchange for dropping the case. Some are settled presuit and many do not see the inside of a courtroom. It is common for personal injury cases to end in successful settlement negotiations.
Factors to consider when arriving at a settlement amount are many. At the onset, both parties need to determine the value of the case; this is basically what a jury might award the plaintiff if the case makes it to trial. This value is generally reached after researching similar cases comparing what juries have awarded in the past, based on similar facts and applicable laws. Then, any unique factors of the case at hand are factored in. Finally, if an insurance company is handling the matter on behalf of the defendant, it may already have a predetermined amount in mind.
Once the parties are in agreement with the value of the case – and, sometimes, they are not – then settlement offers go back and forth between them. The plaintiff starts with a number as an offer to settle the case, while the defense starts with a low number. Each side inches closer to the middle until an agreeable amount is reached. Once an agreeable offer is made and accepted, both parties will sign a settlement agreement. The plaintiff will dismiss the case in exchange for the defendant issuing a check for the agreed upon amount.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are several types of accidents that fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. While each type of accident differs, the general legal concepts governing the case are similar.
Traffic accidents are the most common type of personal injury case in the U.S. When a car or motorcycle accident occurs, it is typically due to driver error. Generally, the at-fault driver will be held financially responsible for monetary compensation to the injured unless the accident occurs in a “no fault” state where each party’s insurance company will be responsible. Car or motorcycle accident settlement amounts differ depending on the severity of the crash, the applicable law, the amount of damage, and the age of the victims, among other factors.
The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau are familiar with settlement negotiations regarding all types of accidents. They have years of experience representing the injured across the state of Nevada. If you or someone you know has been hurt in Nevada, click here to contact these skilled lawyers today.
(image courtesy of Kim Gorga)