What Factors Impact the Value of a Personal Injury Settlement?
There are many contributing factors that could affect the value of your personal injury settlement. Every case is different, but below we’ve detailed several important factors that could potentially affect the amount of compensation you might receive if you win.
Severity of the InjuryOne of the most important determining factors for a case’s value is the extent of your injuries. Injuries that permanently cause disability or compromise your quality of life are likely to result in a higher settlement or verdict amount.
For example, if the injury renders you permanently unable to earn a living, you would potentially be able to recover damages for lifelong lost wages. As a general rule, injuries such as broken bones and spinal cord damage, which are clearer and more concrete, are likely to result in a higher settlement than soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash, bruises, or sprains.
Treatment and Recovery from Your InjuryThe treatment required for your injury and the course of your recovery impact the injury’s cost to you personally, and therefore the value of a personal injury settlement.
If you are recovering from a personal injury, it is essential to enlist the help of competent medical professionals who are experienced specialists in the type of care you need. These professionals will not only know how to help you recover, but also will document the extent of your injuries and the treatment required. This matters a lot when trying to recover compensation.
Generally speaking, extensive treatments from physicians and hospitals (as opposed to physician assistants and chiropractors) will result in a higher settlement. Likewise, a longer course of recovery can indicate a more severe injury and therefore affect the amount of compensation you receive.
Certainty of Liability and Comparative FaultIn order to receive compensation from the responsible party, you will need to prove that the defendant at least holds the majority of the liability for your injury.
Illinois is a modified comparative fault state. This means that the extent of every involved party’s fault in the injury, estimated as a percentage, affects the value of the resultant settlement.
For example, if a judge determines that you are 25% at fault for the accident that caused your injury, you would be entitled to recover 75% of the total damages resulting from the injury.
In order to be able to receive damages here, you must be able to prove that the defendant is greater than 50% liable (at majority fault) for the injury. If you, the plaintiff, are considered to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot receive damages.
Emotional and Mental Trauma Suffered From Your InjuryA serious accident can cause not only physical injury, but also significant emotional consequences. Anxiety, depression, and trauma following the accident also can be very debilitating.
However, you must be able prove that you are suffering emotional harm (also known as emotional stress) as a result of the accident. This generally requires involving a reputable mental health professional who can offer evidence of the longer-lasting psychological impacts you’ve suffered as a result of the accident and injury.
Fight Back against Negligence to Get the Compensation You DeserveIf you've suffered a substantial injury as the result of another party’s negligence, the laws of the state of Illinois allow you to seek damages to recover from your injuries. And you should.
Often, people underestimate the impact an injury will have on their lives. Or perhaps they just don’t think it will be worth the trouble of making a claim.
This kind of thinking is a mistake. In many cases, physical and/or mental recovery can take months — or even years — and the medical costs can be in the tens of thousands, if not higher. Some people are never the same.
It literally costs you nothing to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney evaluate the specifics of your case. They will be able to give you their professional opinion about whether or not seeking damages is likely to be successful, and if so, what the potential value of the settlement might be.
Monetary compensation can never make up for your injuries. What it can do, however, is help you pay for the cost of recovery and provide some sense of closure.