Whether seeking compensation for a personal injury claim or negotiating a divorce settlement, any legal negotiations inevitably involve exchanging money. So what is a good settlement offer? This is frequently a difficult question for any lawyer to answer because it depends on many different factors. These factors include:
The Gravity of the Injury
The gravity of the injury is an important factor in determining a settlement offer. Injuries that permanently disable or cause death tend to command larger settlements than temporary or less severe injuries (for example, slip and falls). In most jurisdictions, an injured person can recover damages for pain and suffering, which is often a subjective assessment of an injured person’s overall level of pain and discomfort.
The greater the injury, the more likely it is that the injured party will have incurred long-term or permanent pain due to his or her injuries. This kind of evidence helps to “sell” your case to a jury so that they agree to award you a significant amount. Proving damages after a car accident is less complicated than proving damages in a slip and fall case. Because the injuries are “objective” (they result from a third party’s negligence) and not based on the injured person’s feelings, proving your case will require more evidence than proving pain and suffering.
Your doctor’s advice is one source of evidence that can support your claim. If you suffered physical injuries due to another driver’s negligence, you can point to your doctor’s diagnosis of the injury and give examples demonstrating its severity. Expert testimony is also beneficial in demonstrating the impact that the accident has had on your life. Expert testimony can show how the pain has affected your daily life. For example, you may have to work smaller shifts or take longer breaks due to the level of discomfort you feel.
In some cases, expert testimony might show that you are permanently disabled due to your injuries. If the extent of your injury prevents you from returning to your previous occupation, this is strong evidence for a large settlement offer.
Level of Income
Your level of income is vital in determining how much money you should be paid if you win your lawsuit. For example, a person who earns more than $10,000 per year might not need as large of a settlement as an injured person whose income is much lower.
A judge or jury might also consider the future earning potential of an injured person when determining the appropriate size of a settlement offer. In some cases, a judge or jury might still award you compensation even if your injuries do not prevent you from working. For example, a person who has been in an accident and can no longer perform specific physical tasks may be compensated for the loss of earning power.
If you are required to miss work due to a doctor’s order after your accident, it is helpful to have copies of your medical treatment records available during settlement negotiations. A doctor’s note may show that you have been unable to work due to your injuries.
Emotional and Mental Trauma
The extent of your injuries may not be obvious to others. This can make it difficult to prove precisely how much pain you are in. Emotional and mental trauma is one way to compensate for the pain you have suffered. This kind of evidence can help a judge or jury understand the true impact of your injuries on your quality of life.
For example, if you were involved in a car accident, you may have to deal with anxiety and depression because you no longer feel safe driving after the accident. The emotional and mental trauma associated with being unable to drive would be an important piece of evidence to include in any settlement offer.
Certainty of Liability
The more certain the liability is, the higher a settlement offer you should expect to receive for your case. For example, if another driver hit you on the highway in broad daylight, the driver was likely negligent. It should be easier for you to prove liability in this type of case than if you were hit in a parking lot after dark and the responsible party claims that you stepped out into traffic without looking. Liability is more difficult to determine if an injured person was injured in a slip and fall accident.
Injury cases that involve national or well-known companies such as restaurants, hotels, or car rental companies tend to attract more attention from the media than other accidents. The worse a defendant’s reputation is in the public eye, the greater the likelihood of having to go to trial. If the media get involved in your case, your odds of collecting a large settlement will be higher. This is because of the greater public awareness of the incident, which can help you prove that your injuries were severe.
Get Legal Help Today
All settlement offers must be carefully considered and explained to the client to obtain the best possible result. In personal injury cases involving a minor, for example, any money received by the minor will be held by a court until he or she reaches adulthood. The lawyer will be unable to represent the child’s interests unless he or she has express permission from the court. Give us a call today to book your appointment for a consultation