Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | June 7, 2022 | Personal Injury
An accident or other personal injury can turn your world upside down. In addition to the physical pain and emotional distress, you may incur substantial financial damages. You deserve to be compensated for all damages caused by another party.
However, once your case settles, how much money goes into your pocket from a personal injury settlement? Let’s begin by reviewing the types of damages you could receive for a personal injury claim.
Damages in a Personal Injury Case
The compensation you receive for your personal injury settlement depends on the damages you sustained. Most personal injury cases include compensation for your financial losses or economic damages. Examples include:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Therapy costs
- Household services
- Personal care
- Diminished earning capacity
- Personal care
Victims can also receive compensation for their non-economic damages. Examples of these damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Impairments, disabilities, and disfigurement
- Decreased quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
The final type of damages a person might receive is punitive damages. Punitive damages are only available in specific circumstances.
Personal injury lawyers evaluate your case to identify all damages you could receive to increase how much money you receive from a personal injury settlement.
How Is My Personal Injury Settlement Determined?
Many factors impact how much a personal injury claim is worth. The first factor that affects how much money goes into your pocket is your injuries.
Severity of Injuries
As a general rule, the value of your personal injury case increases with the severity of your injuries. The financial losses associated with catastrophic injuries are much higher. Injuries that can result in higher settlement values include, but are not limited to:
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Loss of bodily functions
- Traumatic brain injury
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
Non-economic damages are also higher for life-threatening and traumatic injuries. A legal team works to document all damages in your case to maximize the amount of money you receive.
Liability for Damages
As the accident victim, you have the burden of proving that the other party caused your injury. If the other party is entirely responsible for causing your injury, the party can be held liable for all damages.
However, if you are partially to blame for causing your injuries, the other party may dispute liability. Florida’s comparative fault laws state that a victim’s compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Therefore, if you were 20% to blame for the cause of your motorcycle accident, your compensation for damages could be reduced by 20%.
Proving fault is crucial after an injury. A personal injury lawyer works with investigators, expert witnesses, and accident reconstructionists to gather evidence proving fault and liability for damages.
Other Factors That Could Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
Your injuries and liability are not the only factors that could impact how much you receive for a settlement offer. Other factors that could affect the amount of money you receive for a personal injury settlement include:
- The parties involved in the case
- The strength of your evidence proving fault and liability
- The number of parties liable for your damages
- The availability of insurance coverage
- The statements you made following your injury or accident
- Any prior injuries or accidents
Your case is unique. You should not base what your case is worth on another case.
Personal injury lawyers analyze the factors that could impact your case. They strive to maximize compensation by minimizing negative factors while emphasizing the factors that strengthen your case.
Personal Injury Settlement Breakdown: How Does it Work?
When your attorney reaches a settlement with the other party, they prepare a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement outlines the terms and conditions for settlement.
Generally, you agree to release all parties from all claims in exchange for a specific amount of money. In other words, once you sign the settlement agreement, you cannot sue anyone or demand more money for the case, even if you discover additional damages.
The insurance company issues a check to your lawyer. The attorney deposits the check into a trust account to hold until it clears. Once the check clears, the attorney:
Pays Subrogation Claims and Medical Liens
Your lawyer must pay any outstanding subrogation claims, medical liens, and medical bills. They can work to lower the amount you must pay to health insurance companies and medical providers for claims by negotiating payoffs.
Deducts Attorneys’ Fees
The attorney deducts their fee after paying outstanding medical bills and subrogation claims. Personal Injury attorneys generally work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, they are not paid until they recover money for your claim.
The contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement claim. You agree to the percentage for a contingency fee when you hire a personal injury lawyer.
Most attorneys pay the costs of the case for the client. Therefore, the attorney reimburses the law firm by deducting the costs from the settlement proceeds. Costs could include filing fees, copy costs, deposition fees, and investigation costs.
Issues You a Check for the Net Settlement Amount
After deducting liens, attorneys’ fees, and costs, your lawyer issues you a check for the net amount of the settlement proceeds. The timeline for a personal injury settlement depends on the case. However, a good personal injury lawyer works diligently to put as much money as possible in your pocket as soon as possible.