Before you undertake filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be wondering how much an average settlement would be. Most civil court cases end in a settlement of some kind, rather than the trial continuing to its natural conclusion. So, how much should you expect for your settlement? This guide will give you the information you need to estimate your case’s settlement. Of course, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney to learn more.
The Average Settlement
Most good settlement offers are slightly lower than what could be won if the case concluded naturally. You should expect the settlement to be slightly lower because you benefit by ending the trial early. This will save you time and legal fees, meaning a lower offer is still appealing. You need to carefully consider how much your time is worth when deciding whether to accept a settlement offer.
So good settlement offers are slightly lower than what the case is otherwise worth, but how do you determine how much a case is worth? This will be the sum of the different types of damages. There are three types of damages, each categorized slightly differently:
- Special compensatory damages
- General compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
Special compensatory damages are financial losses, such as hospital bills, damage to property, or lost wages. If you can assign an objective monetary value to a loss, it falls into this category. On the other hand, general compensatory damages are non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life. If you cannot assign an objective monetary value to a loss, it falls into this category and the judge will decide how much it is worth.
Punitive damages are unique among the types of damages because they are assigned strictly to punish the defendant. There is nothing you can do to affect whether punitive damages will be assigned. They are very rare in personal injury cases anyway, so you should not factor them into your calculations.
An attorney can help you determine how much your general and special compensatory damages are worth. By adding these two types of damages together, you can figure out how much you would get if your case continued to its natural conclusion. That will help you figure out whether a settlement offer is appealing or not. Your attorney will also help you make this decision. Never accept or reject a settlement offer without first discussing it with your legal representation, like a personal injury lawyer.