There are many factors involved in personal injury cases that will affect the settlement you receive. So the average personal injury settlement varies significantly depending on the type of injury you have suffered, among other factors.
This article will explain what determines the amount of a personal injury settlement, how laws can affect the case, the national average for personal injury settlements, how they are paid out, and why you need an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you.
What Determines the Amount of a Personal Injury Settlement?
A personal injury settlement depends on many components. Here are the major factors that determine the amount you will receive:
1. Type of Injury and Severity
If you suffer from a severe injury, it will pay higher compensation than a minor injury. For example, suppose you are permanently disabled from an accident. In that case, you will be entitled to a higher personal injury settlement than you would if you suffered from minor injuries such as sprains or bruises.
This is because the pain, suffering, and medical expenses will be higher for a victim with a severe injury.
2. Medical Treatment and Length of Recovery
Another main factor in determining the amount of a personal injury settlement is the cost of medical treatment and the time it takes for recovery. Again, this is why a more severe injury pays a higher amount than a case with minor injuries.
For instance, if you need surgery and ongoing medical treatment, these expenses will be evaluated in your case. If you had to take time off work during your recovery or can no longer work due to your injury, you may also be compensated for lost wages.
3. Pain and Suffering & Emotional Stress
Although these things can be harder to evaluate in a personal injury settlement, they do factor in with the amount you receive. If you have lifelong pain and suffering because you are permanently disabled, your settlement will be higher than a temporary disability.
You will have to provide proof from medical physicians and mental health professionals that you experience pain, suffering, and emotional stress from your injuries.
4. Who is Liable
When it comes to personal injury cases, liability is an essential factor in the case. How your case is determined depends on what the law is in your state. There are two legal rules for determining fault; they are known as contributory and comparative negligence.
With the contributory rule, you are not eligible for compensation if you are even 1% at fault. The comparative negligence rule reduces the amount of your personal injury settlement based on the amount of fault of each person.
For example, if you were in an auto accident and you were partially responsible, the case would be evaluated to determine how much you were at fault. For instance, if you were 25% at fault for the accident, then you are only entitled to 75% of the damages rather than 100%.
Most states apply the comparative negligence rule to personal injury cases. However, many states have “modified comparative negligence rules now.” These states have 50% bar rules or 51% bar rules. So if you live in a state that implements the 50% bar rule, you cannot recover damages if you are found 50% at fault or more.
Having a qualified personal injury attorney can help determine fault in your case.
How Do “No-Fault” Laws Affect a Personal Injury Settlement?
Depending on the cause of your personal injury claim will determine what laws can affect your settlement. For instance, if you are in a car accident in a “no-fault” state like Minnesota, it can limit the ability to file a personal injury claim on a third party.
This is because you are required to carry Personal Injury Protection as part of your auto insurance. No-fault laws were implemented to help expedite victims’ treatment and ease the court system’s burden. PIP only covers expenses that occur from the accident, such as medical costs, replacement services, and lost wages.
However, you may make a personal injury claim against the other driver if you attain special thresholds or if your expenses exceed your policy’s coverage limit.
Learn more with the auto insurance guide from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
National Average Personal Injury Settlement
Every case is unique, so the amount from a personal injury case varies greatly. However, there are some ranges in the average personal injury settlement for a few different scenarios:
● A Martindale-Nolo survey found the average personal injury settlement for injured car accident victims between 2015-2020 was estimated at $29,700.
● The National Practitioner Databank Public Use File found that the national average payment for personal injury settlements for malpractice suits was $337,072 in 2017.
● A 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice stated that the median payout for product liability cases was an estimated $748,000.
Remember that there are many factors involved when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit, and it really depends on things like the severity of the injury, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Minnesota’s Average Personal Injury Settlement
According to a Jury Verdict Research study, Minnesota’s average personal injury settlement is $30,000. However, there have been some higher settlements in severe cases.
For example, a motorcyclist was awarded $974,215 because he wrecked due to debris falling out of a dump truck. The driver was found guilty of reckless operation of the truck.
This shows how much compensation can vary depending on the injury sustained.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid?
Personal injury settlements can be paid out in two ways. One is a lump sum payment. This is when the entire amount is paid in one payment. The other option is a structured settlement. This is when payments are made over months or years, depending on the terms and amount.
In some cases, if defendants are not covered by insurance, they may not have the means to pay out a lump sum, so with the help of your attorney, you can work out a structured payment plan instead.
Although getting a large amount of money seems like the best option, it can come with some tax implications. Some amounts may be exempt from taxes but not all of them. For instance, if part of your settlement included punitive damages, that amount may be subject to income tax.
The only exception to this is if it was awarded in a wrongful death case, then it would be exempt from being taxed.
If you choose a structured payment settlement, you can choose how the payments will be paid out.
For instance, you can have a large initial payment and choose to have the payments increase or decrease over time. If you have an increasing structured settlement, your payments will start with a lower amount, and then the amounts will increase over the years.
It’s best to discuss the options with your attorney before deciding which settlement plan is best for you.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury claims can get complicated, and having an experienced attorney is essential in helping you navigate successfully through the process.
A personal injury attorney will assist in the investigation process, which includes ensuring all medical records and information are delivered accurately to the insurance company.
They also represent you if your case goes to trial, and having legal representation typically leads to a higher settlement amount.
Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement with Hoglund Law’s Help!
Don’t settle for the average personal injury settlement you are offered. You should be compensated for the amount you deserve, and we can help you maximize your personal injury settlement.
Before signing an agreement with the insurance providers, reach out to our dedicated team of professionals for a free immediate case evaluation!
We will evaluate your case to determine the best way to proceed and assist you every step of the way. We have over 70 years of combined experience and are 100% committed to you and getting you the settlement you deserve. Contact Hoglund Law today for your free consultation!