There is no rule book or marketplace formula for determining the fair settlement value of a personal injury lawsuit. Each case should be decided on it’s own merits, however, there are many factors that go into evaluating the settlement value of an injury case. Each claim needs to be evaluated individually. In general, the following factors are significant in determining the settlement value of a case:
1.How bad was the defendant’s conduct?
Being injured by a drunk driver will likely result in higher compensation than an accident where the defendant’s conduct is seen as purely accidental like losing control of your car while going over black ice. Generally, insurance companies will review the police report to see if the investigating officer issued a hazardous action to the at-fault driver. The officer’s opinion is not conclusive on fault issues, yet supportive police officer opinions help with establishing your case in an auto accident.
2.Who the defendant is makes a difference in the evaluation process.
Are you suing a large corporation or an elderly person who reminds you of your grandparents? Was the defendant remorseful after the accident or were they more concerned about getting their car fixed than whether you were injured as a result of their negligence? What kind of witness will the defendant or corporation make in front of a jury? Bad conduct by the Defendant normally results in a larger settlement value.
3.Is the injured person bringing the lawsuit, a compelling witness? Are they sympathetic, likeable and sincere?
4.How objective are the injuries?
Injuries that a jury can normally observe result in larger compensation for the injured party because it can be difficult to prove subjective injuries such as whether an injured person is experiencing headaches. How interfering was the harm on the injured person’s life? Generally, the more medical treatment necessary to fix the injuries, results in a larger settlement. Permanent injuries often result in higher settlements.
Large economic damages such as medical expenses or wage loss damages are easier to recover than non-economic damages such as compensation for pain and suffering. Reviewing what similar cases have settled for can play a role in determining fair compensation. What county is the case being tried in? Some localities have a reputation for being conservative or liberal when deciding damages
5.What is the collectability of the defendant?
Do they have adequate insurance to compensate the injured party for the injuries and losses. Lack of insurance can dramatically effect the settlement value since many Defendants are underinsured.
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist in making an educated decision on how much your case should be settled for and whether you should accept a settlement offer.
For over forty-five years lawyers at our personal injury law firm, Logeman, Iafrate & Logeman, P.C. have helped accident victims recover the compensation they need to rebuild their lives and take care of their families. Helping clients with their injury claims in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and throughout Michigan, our attorneys are highly experienced and supported by well-trained staff. Their successful advocacy is highlighted by the fact that they have recovered damages in cases turned down by other firms as hopeless. If you would like to speak to an experienced attorney, contact us today for a Free Consultation.