When you begin your personal injury case journey toward compensation after an accident, you probably know that you’re in for a long road ahead.
But one of the questions we find that is top of mind with our new clients is “How much should I ask for a personal injury settlement?”
Before we dive into the average personal injury settlement amounts, let’s first dig a little deeper into what a personal injury settlement actually is.
What is a personal injury settlement?
In personal injury law, a settlement is a resolution between disputing parties regarding injuries and damages caused by negligent acts of one or more parties. Settlements can be reached before or after court action begins.
In a personal injury case, you will work with your attorney to gather documentation and information regarding your injuries and your case. Both you and your attorney will analyze this information and come up with a settlement amount that you are happy with, which is fair and reasonable for your case.
The path toward reaching a settlement agreement with the opposing side in a personal injury case can be lengthy. However, many car accident injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom (which is a much faster process than taking a case to trial).
What is an average personal injury settlement amount?
Personal injury settlement amounts vary greatly. There are many variables that determine the value of a case and all are unique and specific to your accident or situation. The specific factors that influence the value of a case can include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.
On the low end, settlement amounts can be a few thousand dollars but in extreme/severe cases, can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before you sign a settlement agreement
It’s important to truly understand what it is that you’re signing.
So what is a settlement agreement?
A settlement agreement is an agreement to terminate, by means of mutual concessions (compensation), the claim that is being disputed.
Essentially, a settlement agreement is a set of documents that bring both parties involved to an agreement, resolving any disputes, dismissing all claims and releasing liability between the two parties.
Within the settlement agreement documentation, there will be details of the accident, information regarding the claim as well as specifications on payment to reach an agreement.
In most personal injury cases, a settlement agreement will take place between an injured individual and an insurance company.
As with all aspects of a personal injury case, it is encouraged to work with a personal injury attorney. A trained attorney can help you to understand the details of your proposed settlement. While many cases are resolved by way of settlement before they reach trial, it’s important to understand what you’re gaining as well as giving up.
After Signing a Settlement Agreement
Once your settlement agreement is signed, there’s no going back. Once those documents are signed, you have told the other party that you fully accept the terms within the agreement.
If you move on with your life and months later discover an underlying injury from your accident, you cannot seek additional compensation for the same injury/accident.
In some cases, your settlement may be worded to prohibit you from ever making a claim against the other party again.
It is crucial to ask questions and work closely with your attorney to really understand your potential settlement documents.
It’s a good idea to take healing seriously before you consider settling your case.
You should feel confident that you’re being fairly compensated for all of your injuries, medical bills and other related expenses before signing a settlement agreement.
Consult with your Attorney About Your Settlement Agreement
Settlements are calculated with many factors in mind. So don’t dismiss a settlement simply because you feel the dollar amount is not enough at first glance. Additional factors that may come into play are limitations of liability or limitations on insurance.
On the other hand, it is important to take your time to truly understand the details of your potential settlement agreement. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to clarify these details for you. Once you sign, your case is essentially closed. You will not be able to revisit for additional compensation later.
We urge you to seek experienced assistance on any personal injury case you may encounter.
Professional attorneys are well versed in settlement agreement verbiage and can help you navigate the tricky waters.