25 Apr, 2022

How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement

Author Todd A. Strong
How Much to Ask For in a Personal Injury Settlement
How Much to Ask For in a Personal Injury Settlement

A personal injury attorney can help you determine how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement. Your lawyer will evaluate various details of your case, including your economic and non-economic losses, to determine the amount to request in your demand letter to the insurance company. The at-fault party’s insurance policy limit could also impact the final settlement amount. Many personal injury lawyers recommend that victims request a slightly higher amount than the estimated case value. While there is no definitive rule, it is unrealistic to ask for more than three times the amount of your medical costs.

When considering how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement, you should ensure that your requested settlement will fully cover your losses or damages. These damages range from medical expenses and lost income to emotional trauma and loss of quality of life. A personal injury lawyer can analyze the available sources of recovery for your case and your losses to determine an accurate approximation of your settlement amount. 

What Are the Main Factors to Consider When Calculating a Settlement Demand?

When preparing your settlement demand, your personal injury attorney will consider the following factors.

Medical Expenses 

Your medical costs are a fundamental part of your injury claim. These include costs for ambulance rides, emergency treatment, physician’s fees, medication, and follow-up treatment. You can include all your medical expenses in your injury settlement, as long as you have proper treatment records.

Lost Income 

Did you miss work because of your injuries? Did you miss bonuses, promotions, and other employment benefits? You can factor all these losses in when estimating your injury settlement. 

Lost Future Earning Capability 

If you are unlikely to resume working in your pre-accident field because of your injuries, you can include the loss of future earning potential in your request for compensation. Your lawyer will help you determine the value of your lost earning capacity. It generally depends on your previous job and income.  

Pain and Suffering 

Your lawyer will consider physical distress arising from your injuries when calculating the value of your case. These damages are often hard to quantify. Typically, more painful and distressing injuries result in higher compensation than their less painful and stressful counterparts. 

Mental and Emotional Trauma  

Injuries can lead to profound mental and emotional distress. It is hard to place a dollar value on such damages. You can, however, factor these damages into your settlement if you are experiencing substantial and ongoing anguish due to your injuries. Proof of treatment from a recognized mental health practitioner can help you prove these damages. 

Lost Experiences and Opportunities 

If your injuries have affected certain crucial aspects of your life, you can account for such damages in your settlement. Perhaps your injuries are keeping you from lifting or playing with your children. Or maybe you cannot engage in leisure activities like you used to do in the past. 

Property Damage 

Did you suffer any property damage when you suffered your injury? You can include this loss in your injury claim. For instance, the repair costs incurred because of the damage to your vehicle in a car accident can be part of your injury claim.

Insurance Policy Limit

The available insurance policies and their coverage limits will also impact your final settlement amount. Your settlement will rarely go above the liable party’s insurance policy limit. 

Consider all the above factors when determining how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement claim. Your injury lawyer can evaluate your situation and explain what qualifies as a good settlement offer

Methods of Calculating Compensation 

Damages in personal injury cases fall into two major categories: special (economic) damages and general (non-economic) damages. Special damages include all easily quantifiable losses arising from your injury, including medical bills, property damage, and lost income. General damages include all hard-to-quantify losses, such as pain and suffering. 

You can determine the value of your special damages by summing up all your relevant financial losses or expenses. You must prove these losses or expenses with convincing and accurate evidence. 

General damages are subjective. In other words, an objective method for calculating such damages does not exist. Personal injury lawyers and insurance adjusters use the multiplier method or the daily method to calculate general damages. 

Multiplier Method 

This method multiplies the sum of all your special damages by a number known as a multiplier. This number ranges from 1 to 5. The multiplier depends on various factors associated with your injury claim. These factors may include the severity of your injury, your chances of a quick and full recovery, and the effect of your injuries on everyday life. The degree of fault of the other party may also affect the multiplier. 

Daily

This method uses a daily rate to allocate a dollar amount to your pain and suffering. It involves multiplying your actual daily income by the number of days you endured pain from your injuries. 

What Types of Personal Injury Cases Are Worth the Most?                                    

The most valuable personal injury cases are those that involve catastrophic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), severe burn injuries, severe spine injuries, and injuries that cause permanent disfigurement or disability are some examples of catastrophic injuries. 

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help? 

A personal injury attorney will strive to get you a favorable outcome as you proceed through the steps in a personal injury case. The attorney will compile all the relevant details of your case and calculate a reasonable settlement amount. Your attorney will then make a demand to the at-fault party’s insurer. 

The attorney will evaluate any settlement offer from the insurer before advising you whether to accept it. The attorney will generally determine if the settlement offer covers the full scope of your injuries, losses, and other expenses. 

If settlement negotiations do not yield an acceptable amount, your attorney will file a lawsuit. The attorney will file all the required legal documents. 

Your personal injury attorney will handle all the specifics of the litigation process, including depositions, information requests, and interrogations.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.