6 Elements of Settlements for Personal Injury LawsuitsSince most lawsuits never go to trial, especially personal injury lawsuits, this guide focuses on how settlements work. What shouyou factor in for settlements? How does your injury affect the case? What should you and your lawyer consider? We'll be going over these questions and more.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is a key element in getting a better settlement offer. For example, you may get an early offer from the insurer, and even though it's low, you consider it. In this case, you are in great danger of making a critical mistake. You always want legal counsel to look over the offer, even if this means a few hours of consultation with a lawyer. Usually you can get a much better offer by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Expenses and Costs
Does the settlement offer even meet your main expenses and costs? Hospital bills can run into the thousands, as can lost wages. If you are unable to work a job for a year which pays you $40,000 a year, those lost wages need to be covered. There are other costs and expenses too, but the important thing is to have a number you must reach. And usually you want much more than simple expenses and costs.
Pain and Suffering
What surprises many who file personal injury lawsuits is that you can actually get far more compensation from pain and suffering issues than actual medical bills and lost wages. Judges are apt to give you a high amount because, let's face it, an injury can cause severe physical pain, mental anguish such as depression, and often completely changes your life. It's justice to get proper compensation for these affects, and with the right lawyer you can get it. If you get a settlement offer that does not consider pain and suffering issues, you should negotiate.
Who Are You Suing?
How big is the defendant's pocket book? For example, in a medical malpractice case you have a lot of room for damages. This is not just about getting money from them; it's about getting proper help. However, knowing who you are suing and what kind of settlement offer they can make makes the process easier.
What Does Your Lawyer Think?
You may think you have a minor case, until your lawyer finds out a similar case was settled for twice what you were offered. This is where a lawyer can be invaluable: it's his or her job to ensure you get proper compensation. Of course, not all lawyers are equally capable of giving you this information. If you get an experienced one, you should trust their judgment on the value of your case.
Similar Personal Injury Settlements
Finally, we mentioned this last element, that you should consider what similar cases have been settled for. But you should also have a minimum amount you take if the defendant can go no higher. This process can be like dancing. But if you know how much you really want and need, it can help. If you know that another case has settled for this amount, it's a good goal to have.
Remember that personal injury lawsuits take time. If you go to court, it may takes months to years. Settlements save everyone time and money, but don't be afraid to take this all the way to court.