Personal Injury Settlement Amount Examples
When you suffer an injury from someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent party. Personal injury is an area of law designed to compensate individuals who sustain injuries and other damages caused by another person's actions or inaction.
Personal injury settlements are agreements between the plaintiff (the party who initiates a legal case against another) and the defendant (the party whom the claim is brought against). Settlement amounts vary from case to case, some as low as five-digit figures and some reaching millions. Personal injury lawyers work with plaintiffs to ensure fair financial compensation for their damages.
Did you or a loved one suffer an injury due to someone else's negligence? If so, you have the right to seek financial compensation from the entity responsible. The personal attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you file a personal injury case against the defendant and maximize your potential settlement.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.
What Are Personal Injury Settlements?
A personal injury settlement is an official agreement in which the plaintiff accepts a specified sum of money from the defendant in exchange for not pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in court. According to the US Department of Justice, personal injury cases often end in settlements, with only 4% to 5% going to trial.
Why Do Most Personal Injury Cases End in Settlements?
Most personal injury cases do not proceed to civil court for several reasons:
- Less Expensive: Settling a personal injury case is cheaper than taking it to court, which would entail more expensive legal fees.
- Less Uncertainty: When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you may lose the case. Losing a lawsuit could mean receiving low compensation or none at all.
- Faster Results: Many personal injury lawsuits take months or even years to process. Many families cannot wait for a verdict to receive financial compensation for their losses. Settling a personal injury case usually takes significantly less time.
- Less Complex: Filing a lawsuit requires lawyers to procure more evidence to build a stronger case. Since both parties have a chance of winning the suit, you and your personal injury attorney must work harder to prove to the court that you deserve compensation.
What Are Common Personal Injury Cases?
A personal injury case can arise whenever someone's negligence causes injury or harm to another person. The following are the most common types of personal injury claims:
- Auto Accidents: A driver may be liable for injured victims' damages if they cause an accident due to negligent acts, such as driving while drunk, distracted, or tired. Pedestrians and local governments may also be accountable if they contribute to the accident. Car accident settlement examples significantly vary due to various types of car accidents (e.g., rear-end, front-end, T-bone collisions, etc.) with varying severities.
- Medical Malpractice Cases: Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals are legally required to deliver services according to the standards set by the medical community. Breaching this duty and causing injury or harm to a patient could lead to liability in a medical malpractice case.
- Premises Liability: Property owners are responsible for keeping people on their property safe. Failure to do so could result in a personal injury claim. Common premises liability-related accidents that lead to legal claims include slips and falls.
- Dog Bites: Dog owners are responsible for their pets' actions. If their dog bites someone, they could be liable for the victim's injuries unless the dog was purposefully aggravated or taunted by the victim.
- Wrongful Death: This type of case is filed against an entity whose negligence causes the death of another.
What is The Average Personal Injury Settlement?
Personal injury settlements depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Since personal injury cases have significant variations, identifying an average or median amount is challenging. Furthermore, many settlements are private due to non-disclosure agreements, making it difficult to paint the big picture.
Nevertheless, many surveys suggest that most personal injury settlement amounts range from $3,000 to $25,000. A lower percentage of plaintiffs receive over $25,000, while others receive more than $75,000. A small percentage receive payouts of $1 million or more.
However, even two similar cases may not receive the same personal injury settlement amount. You need a personal injury lawyer to determine the extent of your damages and identify a fair settlement value.
What Affects a Personal Injury Case Settlement?
Several factors come into play when it comes to a personal injury settlement. Your expected payout will heavily depend on the following:
Type of Injury
Not all injuries are the same in the eyes of the law. Some injuries receive higher settlements depending on their severity, permanence, and effects on the victim's life. For instance, a victim that suffers a leg fracture in a car accident may not receive the same settlement amount as someone who fell down the stairs and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
However, injuries do not have predetermined settlement amounts. Using the previous example, a person that suffers a leg fracture may be unable to walk normally again, while a traumatic brain injury victim may make a full recovery eventually.
Moreover, injuries affect people differently. The same injury may be mild on one person but severe on another.
The more severe, permanent, and life-altering an injury is, the higher the compensation.
Some injuries result in higher medical bills than others. Usually, injuries that require more medical treatment attract higher settlement amounts. A personal injury lawyer will calculate your compensation based on your medical bills, including expenses for surgery, emergency transportation, medication, follow-up doctor visits, therapy, medical equipment, health insurance liens, etc.
You will need to prove that you have incurred these medical bills when filing a personal injury claim, which is why keeping copies of all medical records are necessary. It is also essential to keep receipts of other expenses (gas, public transportation, etc.) incurred while accomplishing other tasks arising from your injury.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages refer to compensation for physical and emotional distress caused by your injury. It is usually challenging to calculate a dollar amount for these damages since pain and trauma are not tangible. Although a pain and suffering calculator can give you an idea of how much you could receive, these damages are often subjective.
Juries, judges, and insurance companies usually award higher settlements to more severe, traumatizing, painful, and long-lasting injuries. For instance, a car accident compensation for someone with a broken femur will likely receive a more significant settlement than someone who suffered whiplash.
An experienced personal injury attorney will help you prove pain and suffering through medical records, testimonies, photos of injuries, and other solid evidence.
Most personal injury claims involve lost wages, income, and benefits. For instance, if a car accident puts you out of work for weeks, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the days you've missed. Calculating these damages is generally straightforward since there is a specific amount to base compensation on (i.e., your current salary or wages).
Some circumstances lead to higher settlements, such as when the victim is the family's sole breadwinner or if the injury leads to permanent disability. The plaintiff could claim compensation for the income they should have earned before the injury and what they could have earned in the future if the injury had not happened.
Many personal injury cases pay for property damages. Like lost wages, calculating property damage is usually straightforward. Your lawyer will calculate the value of the damaged property (plus its repair or replacement) and seek compensation for the damage.
In the case of a car accident, you could recover the amount it would take to fix your car. If the vehicle is totaled (damaged beyond repair), you may receive the car's actual market value at the time of the crash.
Personal injury victims can also claim compensation for other damaged personal belongings, such as laptops, cell phones, watches, etc.
Stage of the Claim
You can accept a settlement from the defendant at any point in the claims process. The stage in which you take the payment can affect how much you receive. Most personal injury claims attract higher settlements at advanced stages. Part of the reason is that insurance companies are willing to pay more to avoid going the expenses of a trial.
Most insurance companies offer low settlement amounts at the first stage, hoping that plaintiffs accept the payment due to dire need or assuming they cannot prove that their insured is responsible for their damages. This common tactic is why you need an experienced attorney who can help you fight for a favorable settlement.
Juries and insurance companies usually award significantly higher settlements in wrongful death cases than those involving severe injuries yet living victims. A typical personal injury settlement for wrongful death usually involves funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical bills, lost opportunities and experiences, and so on.
Spouses of deceased victims can also claim compensation from the insurance company for the loss of consortium or the loss of companionship, love, support, and relationships after death.
A partially negligent plaintiff in an accident may receive a lesser compensation based on their level of fault. Certain states have comparative negligence rules that determine how much compensation a victim receives if they are also at fault for the accident.
For instance, a victim that is 20% at fault for the accident may receive compensation 20% less than the total settlement amount.
Most states have adopted one of two comparative negligence rules:
- Pure Comparative Negligence: In pure comparative negligence states, plaintiffs can recover compensation regardless of their degree of fault, even if it is higher than the defendant.
- Modified Comparative Negligence: In modified comparative negligence states, plaintiffs can recover compensation if their degree of fault does not exceed a specific number. For instance, some states only allow victims to recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.
Some states follow the contributory negligence system, wherein a victim cannot recover any compensation if they contributed to the accident in any way.
Judges and juries award punitive damages in some serious injury cases to punish defendants for gross negligence or egregious behavior. Punitive damages are added to compensatory damages (lost income, medical expenses, etc.) and usually don't exceed four times the amount of the latter.
For instance, a jury may award punitive damages to a plaintiff injured in a drunk-driving car accident. In this case, the defendant would have made a conscious decision to act in a way that could easily cause harm to another.
Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
To give you an idea of how much certain personal injury cases are worth, here are some average settlement amount examples from previous Illinois cases of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers:
- $175,000 Auto Accident Settlement: Settlement amount for a married couple involved in a rear-end car accident with a teen driver.
- $250,000 Bicycle Accident Settlement: Compensation for a hit-and-run victim.
- $295,000 Slip and Fall Settlement: Settlement for a parking lot slip and fall case.
- $330,000 Motorcycle Passenger Accident Settlement: Awarded to a motorcycle passenger thrown off a bike, paid by the motorcycle driver and another vehicle driver.
- $400,000 Construction Accident Settlement: Compensation for individuals injured by falling scaffolding in a Chicago condominium construction site.
- $500,000 Work Accident Settlement: Compensation for a transportation worker who sustained a serious injury on a loading dock.
- $570,000 Motorcycle Accident Settlement: Settlement for a motorcycle crash involving a peroneal nerve injury.
- $616,772 Multi-Victim Car Accident Settlement: Awarded to four individuals injured in a crash involving a truck going through a red light at an intersection.
- $750,000 Sideswipe Truck Accident Settlement: Truck accident claim paid by a national trucking company for a sideswipe collision.
- $815,000 Choking Death Settlement: Awarded to the family of a nursing home patient who choked to death.
- $875,000 Bedsore Settlement: Compensation for a patient who developed pressure sores in the hospital.
- $1,000,000 Swimming Pool Death Settlement: Settlement value for the family of a victim who drowned in a backyard swimming pool.
- $1,730,000 Birth Injury Settlement: Compensation for a family involving brachial plexus due to a delivery and labor error.
- $2,000,000 Medication Error Settlement: Settlement paid by a pharmacy involving the wrong medication.
- $2,200,000 Traffic Wrongful Death Case Settlement: One of the most prominent car accident settlement examples in our history; awarded to the family of a man killed in a car driven by a co-worker on a trip to Southern Illinois.
- $3,000,000 Pedestrian-Car Accident Settlement: Awarded to a disabled pedestrian who sustained serious injuries after being hit by a truck.
- $4,000,000 Sexual Abuse Settlement: Collective settlement for victims of sexual abuse by clergy during a religious retreat.
- $9,000,000 Surgery Error Settlement: Compensation for a man who developed severe complications after cardiothoracic surgery.
Should You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit is not always necessary to recover a good personal injury settlement. However, you may eventually have to bring your case to court if:
- The defendant continues to deny liability for your injuries.
- The insurance company refuses to make a fair offer.
- Settlement negotiations with the insurance company have stalled.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Legal help is crucial in recovering fair compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer will:
- Help You Understand Your Rights: Handling a legal claim without a lawyer could deter you from recovering fair compensation. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights and prevent you from accepting a personal injury settlement that is too low.
- Build Your Case: A good personal injury settlement often depends on the strength of a case. An experienced lawyer will analyze the incident, determine liable parties, gather evidence, and perform other tasks necessary to prove why you deserve compensation.
- Negotiate The Personal Injury Settlement Amount: After determining how much you should receive based on the injury involved, outstanding medical bills, and other related damages, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance adjuster. A typical personal injury settlement usually ends after both parties agree to a specific cash value.
- File or Threaten a Lawsuit: If the defendant's insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, your lawyer could threaten to file a lawsuit, resulting in negotiations moving forward. Otherwise, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
As you can see, personal injury settlement amounts vary. Many factors affect the value of your settlement, including the injury type, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and so on.
Avoid relying on average settlement amounts of other cases. The experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, will investigate the unique circumstances of your case and determine how much you should receive in compensation. Our lawyers will ensure that you and your family receive the settlement amount you deserve.
Call our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our personal injury law firm handles all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis. You don't have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case.