When Texans are injured in car accidents, hurt on the job, or become victims of another party’s negligence in another form or fashion, it is their legal right to seek a personal injury settlement. Although a settlement will never completely undo the harm that was caused, it can ease the financial and emotional burden caused by the incident.
What Factors Determine the Amount of a Personal Injury Settlement?
It makes sense that the amount you are able to obtain from a personal injury claim depends on your economic losses, both past and projected, but it is also influenced by non-economic factors such as pain and suffering, which can be more difficult to quantify. An experienced personal injury lawyer, though, can help you calculate an estimate that includes both your economic and non-economic losses and will fight to hold the liable party accountable.
The factors that might determine your personal injury settlement will be unique to your case, but here are some elements that might be taken into consideration.
Past and Future Medical Expenses
The more severe your injuries, the more medical attention you’ll need and your recovery time will be prolonged. This typically warrants a higher settlement amount than accidents where injuries are minor.
Your incident might require an emergency room visit, doctor and specialist appointments, diagnostic tests, medications, physical therapy, surgeries, and chronic pain management. If your medical providers believe you need long-term treatment, the projected costs will be included in your settlement amount.
Medical expenses must qualify as reasonable and necessary, meaning the cost of treatment is justified, the injuries being treated were caused by the accident, and a medical professional can attest to your need for those treatments.
Loss of Income
You might also be able to recover wages from the period of time you were forced to miss work or use PTO while recovering from your injuries. If the injury has permanently affected your earning potential by prohibiting you from pursuing your livelihood, that will be factored into your settlement amount as well.
Pain and Suffering
It can be difficult to assign a dollar amount to emotional, mental, and physical distress, but personal injury settlements often include damages for pain and suffering. A common method used to calculate pain and suffering is to multiply the sum of all the economic expenses by a number between one and five, but this is very specific to the facts of each case.
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, your wrongful death settlement amount will include costs such as funeral services and probate fees. You may also be able to recover medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of consortium depending on your relationship with the deceased.
What Factors Can Help or Hinder Your Settlement?
Certain factors that affect your settlement amount may be out of your control. For instance, if you were injured at work and your employer has worker’s comp insurance, you may be prohibited from filing a claim against your employer, but instead have to file a claim for damages against a third party.
That said, some factors are within your control. After your accident, you can immediately take steps that could bolster your case and maximize your settlement amount. If you were injured on the job, promptly notify your employer of the injury through the proper channels. In Texas, you have 30 days to notify your employer of an injury sustained at work, but waiting will give their insurer more space to question the severity and nature of your injury.
Likewise, you should seek prompt, professional medical care to document your injuries. Even if your injuries seem minor, the initial step of seeking a healthcare professional’s opinion can be critical to your case. If you don’t do so right away, the insurer or representative of the liable party may attempt to diminish your injury, arguing that you were not hurt badly enough to need immediate medical care and therefore don’t deserve compensation.
Finally, it’s important to retain the services of a lawyer immediately. Much of the evidence in a personal injury case is time-sensitive, and the sooner a lawyer can investigate the site of the incident, read police or employer reports, and speak with witnesses, the stronger your case will be. There is never a bad time to contact a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been hurt, but sooner is always better.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help?
Every personal injury case is different; the specifics of your case will ultimately determine your settlement amount. You will need to speak with a lawyer in order to determine an accurate settlement payment estimate. And, of course, some cases do not settle so make sure and find a personal injury lawyer who will take your case to court if needed.
The personal injury lawyers at Johnson Garcia work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not collect fees until we have secured a settlement for you, taking the fight to court if the need arises.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury, you deserve serious representation. Schedule a free case evaluation online, and our experienced, understanding attorneys will review your case to determine a fair and reasonable personal injury settlement amount.