Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.
The details of most settlement agreements are private. Because of this, there is no way to know the average personal injury settlement amount.
Every personal injury case is different—different injuries, different defendants, different insurance policies. Hearing that your cousin got $40,000 for a broken bone in a car accident doesn’t tell you much about how much you can get for a concussion you got when you slipped at the grocery store.
Instead of talking about “averages,” let’s look at how an insurer will determine a settlement amount. Then we can talk about ways to maximize the amount you receive.
As always, meet with an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
How Does an Insurance Company Value Injuries?
Big insurance companies have been around for decades. They have settled all kinds of insurance claims and have a good idea of how much an injury is worth.
Unfortunately, they don’t share this information, so how an insurer decides a number is a little vague. Once an insurer agrees that their insured caused the accident, they will calculate the amount to offer. This can include:
- Medical bills. The insurer will analyze all medical care and make sure it isn’t too expensive. Usually, they cover all costs related to surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages. If you needed a break from work because of your injury, the insurer will cover lost wages.
- Property damage. Your car might be damaged or totaled, so they will calculate how much to offer to repair or replace it.
So far, all this is pretty routine. An insurer might argue that you didn’t need a certain test or that your car is only worth so much, but they are usually pretty good about covering these costs.
Things get tricky when looking at future losses. You might be so injured that you are permanently disabled. You could need surgery or other medical care for decades to come. An insurer will cover future losses, such as future medical care and lost wages, but they might argue about how much to pay.
How Much Does an Insurer Offer for Pain and Suffering?
Insurance companies tend to be stingy when it comes to compensation for intangible losses. They only offer a few thousand dollars, even when clients have serious injuries.
No one knows how insurance companies arrive at a number for pain and suffering. Some people claim they use a multiplier of your economic losses. For example, if you lost $20,000 in medical bills and lost wages, they might offer 1-4 times that for pain and suffering. Others think they look at how much they paid for similar injuries and then offer that amount.
The key is to hire an attorney who can bump up the amount of money for pain and suffering. Your attorney should help you document it and make a compelling case for why you deserve that amount.
How Can You Increase Your Settlement?
There are many things you can do to increase the amount of money you receive in a settlement. For example, you should:
- Save all medical bills. This can help establish how much money you are owed.
- Document your pain and mental suffering. Keep a journal where you note daily where you are feeling pain, its intensity, etc. Explain how your injuries hinder your daily life.
- Never discuss your case with an insurance adjuster without having an attorney present. The adjuster might try to get you to downplay your injuries or take responsibility for the accident. Both could limit the amount of compensation you receive.
If you hire an attorney, he or she can take concrete steps to build a solid case. For example, we can collect evidence so that it is clear who’s at fault and document your injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney will negotiate a settlement for you. Trust our experience to drive a hard bargain.
Contact Us Today
The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio represents personal injury victims across New Jersey.
If you have been injured, don’t delay.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.