How Much Is a Good Settlement Agreement?
The personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan answer a wide variety of questions for our clients. One of the most common questions asked is, “How much is a good settlement agreement?” Unlike most of the answers that we provide for our clients, determining how much is a good settlement is not the same for every case. Each of our clients presents unique circumstances that become part of the equation for calculating favorable settlements.
For example, let’s assume two clients receive injuries resulting from a car accident. Client number one’s auto collision case is not the fault of any of the drivers. Instead, slick road conditions caused one of the vehicles involved in the crash to spin out and strike another car. Client number two’s vehicle crash involved the negligence of another driver. A good settlement for client number two should be much higher than what represents a good settlement for client number one.
If you received one or more injuries because of a car accident, slip and fall, or a defective product, you should contact Morgan & Morgan to determine how to proceed with your case. We schedule free case evaluations with clients that provide us with information about a personal injury incident. After reviewing your case, we contact your insurance company to expedite a claim, as well as decide whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages.
What Are My Chances of Winning a Civil Lawsuit?
One of our personal injury lawyers explains the likelihood of you winning monetary damages by filing a civil lawsuit. We take into account the strength of the evidence, as well as the credibility of witnesses. With more than three decades of experience. Morgan & Morgan has a good idea about how a judge or jury in your jurisdiction will view your lawsuit. For instance, winning a rear-end auto accident case is much more likely than proving a manufacturer designed a faulty product.
If we conclude that the chances of winning a civil lawsuit appear not to be good, then we reach out to the other party’s lawyer to negotiate a favorable settlement. Negotiating a settlement saves you both time and money by keeping your case out of a courtroom. You do not have to miss time from work as well. Negotiating a settlement with your insurance company is another legal service Morgan & Morgan provides for our clients.
What Are the Factors That Determine the Value of Your Personal Injury Settlement?
Knowing how much is a good settlement starts by learning about the factors that determine the value of your personal injury settlement. Because each of our clients presents unique circumstances, it is impossible to calculate a standard value for a good settlement.
Let’s review the factors that determine the value of your personal injury settlement.
Special Compensatory Damages
Special compensatory damages represent the tangible expenses racked up by a client who suffered one or more injuries. Also referred to as economic damages, special compensatory damages are the most variable of factors that determine the value of a personal injury lawsuit. For minor injuries, a client should not have to pay as much for medical expenses as a client who spent several days in an intensive care unit.
Medical expenses include diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and rehabilitation sessions. You also can file a civil lawsuit that asks for special compensatory damages to cover the cost of prescription medications and the purchase of assistive devices. Special compensatory damages also take care of lost wages and the cost of repairing property damage.
General Compensatory Damages
General compensatory damages do not come with a price tag. This type of compensation pays for indirect costs associated with a personal injury incident. Pain and suffering, which includes mental anguish and emotional distress, represents the most common category under general compensatory damages. The personal injury lawyer you work with from Morgan & Morgan calculates a reasonable value for pain and suffering based on a percentage of the amount calculated for special compensatory damages. You also can request general compensatory damages for suffering from a diminished quality of life.
Punitive damages punish the plaintiff for careless and reckless behavior. If a judge or jury finds the defendant guilty of willful negligence, punitive damages might be greater than special and general compensatory damages combined. Your personal injury attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine whether the defendant committed an act of willful or unintentional negligence.
Many states apply the comparative fault rule to calculate the value of a personal injury case. Comparative fault means each party assumes a percentage of blame for a personal injury incident. Let’s say you win a $100,000 judgment against a plaintiff. The judge hearing the case decides you should assume 20 percent of the fault. Instead of receiving $100,000, you win a judgment that gets you $80,000.
To place a value of a personal injury settlement, you have to prove the defendant was legally liable for causing your injuries. In many cases, the defendant has a reasonable duty of care to prevent an incident from causing you injuries. For example, you suffered an injury by riding a defective bicycle. The manufacturer assumes legal liability for your injuries because the company has a reasonable duty of care to protect you against getting hurt.
One of the most important factors for determining the value of a personal injury settlement is the presentation of persuasive evidence. If you fail to present convincing evidence, your insurance company might balk at paying you a settlement calculated by your personal injury attorney. You also need to submit compelling evidence during a civil lawsuit to receive the monetary damages you deserve.
The more credible witnesses that corroborate your version of events, the more likely your insurance company and the judge or jury hearing your case will grant you the value of monetary damages that you want. Your insurance company and the attorney representing the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit will interview the witnesses supporting you in your quest for just compensation.
Location of the Lawsuit
Different states impose different standards when calculating the value of general compensatory damages like pain and suffering. Moreover, some judges are more sympathetic to victims of personal injury incidents than other judges that hear similar cases. The attorney we assign to your case will know right away whether the court where you file a civil lawsuit will be more open to approving your request for monetary damages.
How Does the Judicial System Calculate Pain and Suffering?
You know how much you have spent on medical bills and the other costs associated with calculating the value of special compensatory damages. Now, your personal injury lawyer has to determine the value of pain and suffering.
The value of pain and suffering depends on many factors, including state law, the type of accident, the severity of your injuries, and how long it should take for your injuries to heal. The insurance adjuster handling your case and your personal injury attorney have two methods for calculating the value of pain and suffering.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method calculates the value of pain and suffering by determining the daily cost of all the factors that constitute pain and suffering. You receive a certain amount of money each day from the time of the personal injury incident to when a judge or jury expects you to achieve a full recovery.
As the more common method for calculating pain and suffering, the multiplier method involves determining the amount of special compensatory damages and then multiplying the value by a number from one to five. The multiplier chosen depends on the severity of your injuries, with five representing the multiplier that gets you the most for the costs of pain and suffering
Meet With a Personal Injury Attorney From Morgan & Morgan
When the time comes to search for the right personal injury lawyer, you should first ask for recommendations from friends, family members, and professional colleagues. After getting a couple of recommendations, read the online reviews left by the clients of the lawyers to determine whether they are a good fit for you. Then, you schedule a free case evaluation with the personal injury lawyer who seems like the best match for your case.
During a free case evaluation, you receive the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. You want to determine how much experience the attorney has, as well as the lawyer’s success rate of gaining favorable settlements for clients.
Learn how much is a good settlement agreement for your case by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers from Morgan & Morgan.
How Do Personal Injury Negotiations Work?
The goal of your personal injury attorney is to determine how much is a good settlement agreement for your case. Most personal injury cases never get to the trial phase of the legal process, which means you should hire legal counsel who is highly skilled at negotiating favorable settlements for clients.
The negotiation process is a series of steps that ultimately should lead to an agreement to compensate you for your injuries.
Determine the Value of Your Claim
Before your lawyer reaches out to the other party’s attorney to negotiate a settlement agreement, your lawyer must calculate a value for your case. Your attorney considers the strengths and weaknesses of your case, as well as estimates what a judge or jury will award you in monetary damages.
Send a Demand Letter
A demand letter sent to your insurance company and/or the other party’s attorney initiates the negotiation process. The letter should include a description of the personal injury incident and the value of what you ask for in just compensation. An important section of a demand letter provides a detailed account of how your personal injury lawyer calculated the value of your settlement proposal.
Negotiating a favorable settlement agreement involves several counteroffers. Typically, the other party’s attorney will submit a low value for your lawyer to reject with a higher counteroffer. The goal is to find common ground to reach a settlement agreement.
The process for negotiating a favorable settlement with the other party’s attorney is the same process used for negotiating a favorable settlement with your insurance company.