How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement
You are entitled to money damages if you were injured in a personal injury matter. After diligently building your claim, it’s time to negotiate a settlement.
It can be hard to know where to begin when approaching your settlement. How much do you ask for, and why?
At LA Century Law, we are a premier personal injury law firm helping clients maximize their settlements and receive justice for their personal injury claims. Let’s talk about how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement.
How Much Should You Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement?
When negotiating a personal injury settlement, you should ask for an amount that reflects your damages under the law. The amount should also consider the strength of the legal claim and the likely outcome if you take your case to trial.
Other considerations include severity of injury, the need for future care, liability, and extent to harm to your enjoyment of life.
Factors in How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement
The primary factor in how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement is the amount of your damages. In other words, you should ask for your losses. However, it’s not that simple. In fact, many factors influence how to approach settlement negotiations and the amount you should ask for.
1. Economic losses and damages
Underlying any determination of what you should ask for in a settlement are your economic damages. Your medical bills and lost income are likely your largest economic losses for a personal injury claim. Be sure not to overlook future medical expenses, physical therapy, mental health treatment, and work-related benefits like the value of health insurance.
2. Non-economic damages
It wouldn’t be fair to overlook pain and suffering in a personal injury settlement. An amount for pain and suffering may be included just like it would be claimed if your case went to trial. In fact, pain and suffering can be considerable amounts of your economic damages. Non-economic losses should be added in proportion to the severity of the injuries and suffering that you endure. It should account for the severity of injuries, their duration, and the extent of suffering.
3. Comparative fault
The issue of shared fault may be present in a personal injury case. If it’s a factor in your case, it may impact the amount you should pursue in a settlement. In California, comparative fault doesn’t prevent you from bringing a case, but it may impact the value of your case.
Remember, you’re not at fault just because the other party says so. However, comparative fault may play a role in what to ask for in a settlement. Our lawyers can provide a realistic assessment of comparative fault and how it may impact the amount that you ask for in compensation.
4. Whether any damage caps apply to the claim
Sometimes, there are statutory limits to the amount you can ask for in damages. California doesn’t have damages caps in many situations, but they apply to pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases. If damage caps apply, you may ask for your actual damages in a settlement up to the amount of the cap.
5. Cost and expense of going to trial
Every trial has some costs. You may need to pay expert witnesses, subpoena witnesses to be present in court, and prepare evidence to present. All of this comes with a cost. The amount you save should be factored into the amount you ask for in settling the case.
6. Questions of causation
In evaluating the strength of the case, causation is one of the important issues. The accident or wrongful act must be the cause of your injuries. If causation is strong, and there is no question that your injuries are the result of the accident, you shouldn’t lower the amount you ask for because of causation. If there are questions about the nature of your injuries, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you factor causation into the amount that you ask for.
7. Legal issues that may impact the trial
Legal issues may impact the trial. There are procedural rules for processing the case and the presentation of evidence. For example, suppose evidence that you want to admit may be classified as hearsay. In that case, it may impact the strength of your case and create questions about what may happen at trial. Whether or not there are legal issues impacting the case may impact what you should ask for in a personal injury settlement.
8. Availability of insurance and the defendant’s ability to pay
The defense is more likely to agree to a settlement that they’re able to pay. You should investigate insurance and other sources that may be able to satisfy a settlement. Knowing what resources are available may impact how you approach negotiations.
9. Range of possible outcomes at trial
The amount you ask for in a settlement should consider the possible and likely outcomes at trial. You should base what you ask for and what you’re willing to accept on what is within the range of probable outcomes at trial. Looking realistically at the amount you’re likely to receive by going to trial can ensure that you don’t ask for too much or too little.
10. Whether you want to go to trial
Ultimately, you have a personal choice about how to approach settlement negotiations. You may want to go to trial knowing the risks and the possible outcomes. On the other hand, a trial may not be something that you’re looking forward to. Whether or not you want to go to trial may impact what you ask for in your settlement and what you’re willing to accept to resolve the case.
Consultations for How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement
What to ask for in a personal injury settlement is extremely specific. What’s right for one case may not be suitable for another situation. Don’t wonder what to ask for or what your case is worth. Get a personalized consultation from LA Century Law.
LA Century Law has offices in Los Angeles and multiple locations in California. We’re available to personalize your consultation so you know exactly what factors may impact your case settlement. Contact us today to review your case.