Whether a personal injury settlement offer is “fair” depends on the injured individual and the particulars of his or her case. Two people could have the same set of facts, same injuries, and same lawyer but different ideas of what is “fair.” When deciding whether a personal injury settlement offer is “fair” there are a few things one should consider.
Medical Bills & Future Medical Treatment
At a minimum, medical bills should be paid from any settlement. Medical bills that accumulated between the injury and the settlement as well as the cost of future medical treatment should be considered.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Pre-existing conditions and pain must be considered. Just because someone may have previous injuries or surgeries does not mean a recovery is impossible. However, pre-existing conditions must be considered because you are only entitled to recover for injuries and pain caused by the negligent person. The law refers to this as recovering for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
It’s important to consider where a case will be filed because verdicts from similar cases in the same location will help one understand what a jury may award. A good attorney will research cases with similar facts in the same location to determine a likely jury verdict range. All cases are different, but other case results should provide insight on how juries in a particular location value a particular injury.
Special damages are monetary damages like lost wages and medical bills that have specific monetary costs. Past medical costs are easy to calculate because the bills can be added together for a specific total. Lost wages are more difficult because there are a variety of ways that an individual may earn income. Wages for salaried employees are easy because their income is usually set on a yearly basis. However, lost wages for business owners and independent contractors are more difficult to calculate because their income tends to vary from month to month. Therefore, when determining lost wages, an injured party and their attorney must consider whether they have a reasonable basis for calculating and estimating the amount of lost wages.
Was the conduct of the at-fault party egregious? Were they drunk or on drugs? Is the at-fault person being honest about everything? Aggravating circumstance can affect the value of a case.
What might the at-fault person say that will weaken the victim’s case? What legal defenses can be brought? In order to make a fair settlement evaluation, one must consider the challenging facts and law in their case.
After considering medical bills, pre-existing conditions, special damages, location, and possible defenses, one can decide what a fair settlement offer should be. Of course, everyone has a different level of risk tolerance so every injured claimant should evaluate these variables and accept or reject a personal injury settlement offer according to their specific needs.
To learn more about Personal Injury cases, be sure to check out the firm’s YouTube channel. Specifically, our 52 weeks series that will take you through the various stages of a personal injury claim to help you better understand the entire process.