Well, not a very comfortable question for any of us. But for attorneys dealing with personal injury victims, handling these questions are a part of their everyday routine.
There’s no science that can be applied for calculating a personal injury settlement. Even though there’s no scientific formula, knowing and understanding the factors that affect the claim value of a personal injury case can help attorney gear up for negotiations in a much efficient manner. This can also help them to manage their client’s expectations better.
For a small / midsized law firm or an individual practitioner that works within a specific budget and lacks the scale of larger adversaries, mastering the ability to project settlement values for a personal injury case can be a big game changer for them. It helps them build most effective arguments on behalf of their clients and saves unnecessary hassles.
Here are five major factors that affect settlements in personal injury cases.
Severity of the Injury
It’s no surprise that accidents that cause more severe injuries end up getting larger settlements because of the trauma, pain and suffering that one goes through. Heavy or hard injuries such as spinal cord damage or multiple fractures will always have higher settlement value in comparison with soft-tissue injuries like sprains or bruising. Similarly, if the injury is permanent in nature, victims can generally be awarded a much larger settlement. Permanent injuries include brain damage / trauma, disfigurement, reduced mobility or the permanent loss or use of a body part.
When someone is injured, not only it is painful, it dramatically disrupts their daily life. If the injuries from an accident ends up disrupting your client’s daily life intensely, you can help them get larger personal injury settlement. To give an example, if the injury leaves a victim unable to walk, stand, play sport, travel or work certain jobs, they’ll be able to get a much larger settlement compared to victims whose lives don’t change dramatically after an injury.
Treatment and Recovery
When a victim’s medical treatment involves hospitals and doctors, as opposed to physician assistant or chiropractors, the settlement probability goes significantly high. Cases that involve reconstructive surgeries are common examples where settlement values were much higher compared to other personal injuries.
Similarly, how long it took for someone to recover also matters. Since longer recoveries involve multiple follow-up appointments and prescriptions for medical treatment, it in turn elevates the settlement value. The longer it takes to recover, the longer is the pain and disruption from regular life, this primarily helps in getting higher settlement values. This also helps us understand why smaller/soft injuries generally end up getting lower settlements.
Emotional and Mental Trauma
If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know that the pain resulting from the accident goes way beyond physical injuries. The magnitude can differ from person to person, but the emotional trauma in the form of anxiety or depression can be equally devastating during the recovery period. Of Course, proving that the victim (client) has suffered or is suffering from mental trauma is not so easy. This in most cases requires input from reputable mental health professional who can testify to an accident’s longer lasting psychological effects on a victim (client).
Cost of Litigation
Initial clerical work, multiple depositions, addressing technical issues through experts, reviewing medical records, the list goes on and very quickly adds up cost for defendant. The cost goes even higher if there are multiple witnesses or any number of contested scientific questions. Mostly, in these cases, defendants prefer to settle at a higher price to avoid running up their defense costs.
Also, on the other hand, if the plaintiffs are not so resourceful to continue to litigate complex cases effectively, well off defendants can persuade them to cut down on settlement’s value.
A well organized and summarized medical record (history) of the victim can help Personal injury attorney’s highlight the above discussed points and evaluate the value of the claim case. ITCube has 15 years of experience working with medico-legal firms for organization and summarization of medical records.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about how we can help you get the best settlement for your client.