Many people want to know the average payout of a personal injury case before they decide to hire a lawyer or file a claim. Unfortunately, an average dollar amount doesn’t exist because the payouts of personal injury cases depend on the specific facts and laws surrounding each case. Find out the most common outcomes of personal injury cases and what factors affect personal injury payout.
Common Outcomes of Personal Injury Cases
According to the US Department of Justice, most personal injury cases are settled out of court. Their research indicates that roughly three-quarters of claims end in out-of-court settlement agreements, while only 3% end up in trial or bench court cases.
The remaining percentage of cases are not disputed or are quickly dismissed. Trial courts are expensive for all parties involved, so many defendants and their insurance companies are motivated to settle cases out of court.
Factors Affecting Settlement Amounts
Several factors determine what a personal injury case is worth and the compensation awarded. Significant factors include the type and severity of your accident. A severe car accident that leaves you paralyzed will earn you a larger settlement than a simple slip-and-fall accident that causes a broken bone.
Other factors such as the defendant’s assets, the plaintiff’s injuries, and liability laws impact your payout as well.
The defendant’s assets
The payout in a personal injury case is capped by the defendant’s assets and policy limitations of their insurance company. A large payout is impossible if the means don’t exist to pay the high settlement amount. This is regardless of the type of accident or the seriousness of the injuries.
If a personal injury case is taken to court, the court may award greater damages than the defendant’s assets. In this situation, the court is permitted to order their wages to be garnished, or they may sell the defendant’s assets to cover the payout. However, payouts are still limited by what the defendant earns and owns.
The plaintiff’s damages
Damages are the economic and non-economic losses the plaintiff experiences due to their accident. The type of damages a plaintiff receives in a personal injury case are called compensatory damages and are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their losses. If the defendant acted with gross negligence, then punitive damages may also be awarded.
Economic damages in a personal injury case include the plaintiff’s medical bills and expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses caused by the defendant. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, can also be compensated. The higher the plaintiff’s losses, the bigger the payout may be.
Liability and fault
To achieve a high payout, the plaintiff has to prove the defendant is liable or at fault for their injuries and damages. Unless there is clear proof of who was at fault, liability may be hard to prove without investigations and solid evidence. State laws on fault and liability differ, which also affects payout amounts.
Improve Your Payout by Hiring a Lawyer
Hiring the right personal injury lawyer gives you an advantage for your case. A personal injury attorney helps you gather substantial evidence to support your claims. They fight on your behalf during negotiations, so you get fair compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies and other attorneys will take you more seriously and offer you a bigger payout if you have legal representation.