The first thing you need to do as a plaintiff involved in a personal injury case is to determine the realistic costs and put a monetary value on your claim. Knowing how much to ask for your injuries and other damages will depend upon the specific circumstances of your case and the definitive evidence that establishes the defendant’s liability.
You cannot start negotiations for a personal injury settlement without first calculating the amount of compensation that you seek. In deciding the damages that you are willing to settle for, you need to know what a jury might award if you decide to file a lawsuit, and actually win the case.
How to Calculate Compensation for Your Personal Injury?
It is easy to calculate economic damages by adding up all the applicable expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. However, there is no single objective method to calculate non-economic damages like pain and suffering. For these, personal injury lawyers in New York City generally use one of the following two methods:
The Per Diem Method
The aim of per diem or daily method is to demand a specific amount of monetary compensation for each day the victim suffered pain and suffering because of their injuries. This approach usually uses your annual wages as a guide and then multiplies that value by the number of days taken for recovery from the injuries.
The Multiplier Method
This is the more commonly used approach to determine pain and suffering compensation. Under the multiplier method, you take the sum total of all the economic losses and then multiply it by a number ranging from 1 to 5. Mostly, 3 is the multiplier used to arrive at the final figure, but the selection of multiplier largely depends upon the severity of injuries and their impact on future expenses.
What Expenses to Include While Calculating Your Personal Injury Claim?
Identifying and deciding what expenses to include will determine the amount of compensation to seek. These are some of the expenses involved in your recovery that you need to include:
You can include the medical treatment bills pertaining to the injuries you suffered. Medical records and bills from your healthcare provider usually serve as evidence, linking your injuries to the incident that caused them.
Any work that you missed due to your injuries, makes you eligible to claim compensation for wages, promotions, bonuses, and other work-related benefits that you could not receive due to your absence from work.
Apart from your injuries and related expenses, you can also include any property damage as part of your compensation claim. This is especially applicable in claims involving car accidents.
If you need to seek psychological therapy, which can be costly, as part of your recuperation from the trauma of the accident, you can include such bills to calculate your compensation claim.
If the nature of your injuries necessitates prolonged physical therapies for rehabilitation, you can include the expenses.
You must remember to meticulously document any amount that you spend during your recovery. You may be able to claim most of these expenses as damages in your personal injury settlement. The documentation will make it easier to accurately calculate the amount to seek as compensation.
What are Your Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you file a personal injury lawsuit in New York, you need to be pragmatic and unbiased while assessing your chances of winning the trial. For you to do this, you must appreciate the evidence in your favor as well as against you. In addition, you also need to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses and be aware of the past judgments in your jurisdiction.
For instance, a trial court will most likely award you the compensation you seek if you are the victim of a car accident involving a rear-end collision. However, product liability or medical malpractice cases are a different ball game altogether, with your chances of winning plummeting to as low as 10 percent in some cases.
If you file your case in a jurisdiction where juries are known for their conservative damage awards, notwithstanding the severity of the injuries, you will need to tone down your expectations for a handsome compensation. With that said, if juries in your county are known to come down hard on the defendants for even the slightest of injuries, you can most certainly seek to recover a higher settlement amount.
The gist of the matter is that you must take into account your chances of winning at trial before you can decide about the amount of compensation you must seek in a New York personal injury settlement.
Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
A personal injury settlement amount ranges greatly. Each personal injury case is unique in terms of the particular circumstances surrounding it, and therefore a settlement amount is usually hard to estimate or predict without professional help from a competent personal injury attorney.
The compensation value in a personal injury settlement is dependent on several specific factors, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and others. While a case involving minor injuries or scant evidence may settle for a few thousand dollars, many personal injury cases settle for much more.
Then, there are also the exceptions in which you hear people getting settlements running into millions of dollars. But these cases usually involve very specific circumstances with juries awarding punitive or other extraordinary damages. Seek the help of an accomplished NYC personal injury lawyer to identify and determine what should be the appropriate settlement request for your compensation claim.
The Settlement will Depend on what the Liable Party can Pay
Another important factor in a typical settlement is the ability and capacity of the defendant to pay the compensation amount. Even after the assignment of liability by the court and damages awarded by juries, collecting a judgment remains a practical task that may influence the average settlement amount.
For instance, if the defendant carries an insurance policy with a limit that is below the awarded claim and also possesses very few assets, you might have to settle the case for an amount allowed by the insurance limit. It would be prudent to take the collection of your judgment into account, even if your case might be worth much more.
How Much Compensation Can You Potentially Recover?
The severity of your injuries is usually the deciding factor for the amount of compensation that you may be eligible to receive under the personal injury laws. If you sustain grievous injuries that may have a substantial impact on your daily life and impede your recovery, the compensation you receive can be potentially higher.
While awarding the damages, judges and juries take these factors into account, in addition to the extent of responsibility of the at-fault party. You stand to recover a larger amount of compensation, if, apart from the reasons stated above, the negligent individual or entity has done something particularly reprehensible.
What Are the Factors that Affect Compensation in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Some of the important factors that may affect your personal injury settlement demand include:
While it may be true that each case has its own unique aspects, you will find that engaging a competent New York personal injury attorney can help you calculate a more accurate compensation figure, making the entire process smoother. Most of the lawyers offer free consultation and case review, helping you access skilled legal guidance without any additional financial risk.
What are the Negotiation Tactics You Must Apply?
Having garnered a fair idea of the amount you must seek to settle your case for, you can then prepare to initiate the settlement negotiations. As a plaintiff, it will always be up to you to make the first move.
Insurance companies expect the plaintiff to put up the demand letter containing the amount you are seeking to claim. They always play safe, not coming up with an offer and instead, hoping you would falter and miscalculate the value of the case. In such a case, they will lower their offer correspondingly.
Now, coming to your initial demand, it must be big enough for you to have the chance to negotiate. For example, if you are looking to settle for $50,000, and you put up a demand for $60,000, you will have very little room to negotiate. Typically, you must place an initial demand that is at least twice the settlement figure you have in mind, in order to have sufficient room to maneuver.
The next step in the negotiation process is your response to the insurance company’s offers, and how far are you willing to come down from your initial demand. Several factors, including the specific circumstances of the case, the time left for the case to go to trial, and the relationship between the two attorneys, dictate this part of the negotiations.
Simply put, there are no fixed rules that dictate the conduct of personal injury settlement negotiations. Each case has its own merits and demerits and is unique in its own way. In the end, you and your attorney need to do what feels right for you in the given situation.
Choose a Seasoned New York Personal Injury Attorney for Guidance on Case Settlements
Take the guesswork out of knowing the value of your personal injury settlement. The dynamic as well as compassionate lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, are committed to helping accident victims. Our accomplished and seasoned attorneys are determined to help you recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Call today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team who can help you evaluate your case and guide you to maximize your personal injury compensation claim.
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