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June 2017

How Big Will My Personal Injury Settlement Be?

Your personal injury settlement’s value is based upon three key items: damages, liability and insurance. 

Damages

The most important key variable in your settlement amount is damages.  Damages are best described as the injuries you suffered as a result of another party’s actions.  For example you get rear-ended by someone and sustain herniations or bulges in your back and neck.  You’re at work and you fall off a ladder and break your leg.  You slip and fall on a wet grocery store floor where they have no signs and you break your arm.  You get surgery and the doctor operates on the wrong side of your body. 

These damages need to be treated until you reach maximum medical improvement.   Treatment takes time and money and should be paid for by the at-fault party in the form of a settlement. 

Damages also include missed time from work.  You may miss work after being in an accident because you’re in too much pain to work, your injuries prevent you from doing your job properly or your employer fires you. 

If you don’t have any damages, have injuries, but aren’t treating for them you will have a hard time collecting any substantial settlement. 

Liability

The next variable in your settlement calculation is liability.  Who is at fault for your personal injuries?  In a rear-end auto accident, liability is clear cut.  The person who rear-ended you with their car is always at fault because they are obligated to keep a safe distance from the car in front of them. 

Liability in other cases isn’t always cut and dry.  The accident may partially be your fault.  If liability is shared it is up to the insurance companies to determine what percentage of fault each driver has.  If the accident is primarily your fault it will be more difficult to settle for damages. 

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