Most accident victims know they are owed something from the at-fault driver – but how much? The answer is a bit more complex than it may appear. The sum you are offered and end up being paid depends on a variety of factors. To find out more about those factors that make up a personal injury settlement, read on.
Factors Influencing Your Personal Injury Settlement
- Fault – In most cases, full compensation is only likely when your actions played no part in the accident. Any fault on your part will greatly reduce your payment. Fault may be expressed in percentages, such as being 10% at fault with the other driver being 90% at fault. The aim is for the other side to be 100% at fault.
- Medical Expenses – The total cost to treat your injuries, both past, present, and future, make up the most important part of a compensation package. That is because of the link between pain and suffering and the severity of injuries. The more catastrophic the injury, the higher the cost of treatment. When the amount of medical care skyrockets, so do pain and suffering payments.
- Personal Characteristics – Particularly when it comes to serious injuries, the age of the victim plays a role. Younger victims tend to garner higher settlements when they not only lose time from work but if they permanently lose the ability to work at their chosen profession because of the wreck. For example, a musician may lose the ability to perform and earn a living if their brain, hands, arms, or fingers are permanently affected by an injury.
- Occupation – Lost wages are a common form of damage and is reimbursed to align with any time missed from work. The more you make, the greater the compensation. As mentioned above, permanent damage to a career may be an additional form of damage.
- Preexisting Conditions – The other side will vigorously investigate to find out about previous medical conditions and accidents. That is especially true when the medical treatment costs are high and a hefty pain and suffering award in on the line. When a request comes for medical records outside the scope of the accident, it's time to speak to a personal injury lawyer. This is a sign that they intend to challenge your medical treatment costs with allegations of preexisting injuries and conditions.
- Location – Settlement amounts vary across the county and even within states. Other settlement payouts for similar cases are considered when making offers, awarding judgments, demanding payment, and filing lawsuits.
For more information about what to expect with your case, speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.