How to Calculate Your Personal Injury Settlement
If you were injured in an accident, you’re probably wondering how much your settlement is worth. There are several factors that affect the final amount of your settlement check, including the severity of your injuries, the number of liens on your settlement, and the amount of attorney fees you owe.
Here, we discuss ways for you to estimate your personal injury settlement and the different factors that affect the value of your claim.
What is the Average Settlement for a Personal Injury Case?
Since every personal injury lawsuit varies significantly, it’s difficult to find a realistic average for personal injury cases. Even though most settlements range from around $3,000 to $75,000, some cases may reach six figures or more.
The most important factors that determine the value of your potential settlement are:
- Personal liability,
- Pain and suffering,
- The severity of your injuries,
- The cost of medical treatment,
- Estimated future medical expenses, and
- The wages you lost while recovering.
The amount also varies depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, a victim in a car crash could claim additional compensation for the damage done to their vehicle. Most personal injury attorneys use this information to determine the value of your settlement.
Types of Injuries That Result in Higher Settlements
The highest value cases usually involve injuries to the neck, back, head, or knees. Generally, injuries involving these areas of the body result in permanent disability, requiring long-term medical care and major surgery.
Neck or Back Injuries
These are among the most serious personal injuries. Typically, victims with neck or back injuries suffer from a herniated disc, which is when a part of your vertebrae in your spine shifts out of place, ruptures, or breaks. Herniated discs often require multiple surgeries and cause permanent disability.
One of the only ways to fix herniated discs is to perform spinal fusion surgery. At Nova Legal Funding, our own research found that clients who required this surgery typically received a settlement between $300,000 and $600,000.
Head Injuries or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
This type of injury typically occurs in construction accidents or auto collisions. Some head injuries are more severe than others. Whiplash is one of the most common head injuries and results from muscle strains due to sudden, unexpected movement.
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are much more severe. If not treated, TBIs lead to painful and sometimes fatal complications, including loss of memory, chronic headaches, insomnia, reduced brain function, stroke, and more.
Serious knee injuries usually occur in slips and falls or auto collisions. If your knees impact a hard surface like the ground or a dashboard, they might slide out of place, break, or tear ligaments. Knee injuries typically require a lot of surgery to correct or even rebuild the knee. The recovery time is long too, and you may have to wear a brace and use crutches to get around.
Calculating Your Personal Injury Payout
While it’s possible to estimate your personal injury settlement, you should always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They know how the details of your specific case affect the value of your settlement better than any calculator you may find. However, if you want a general estimate of what your case might be worth, here are the different economic and non-economic losses you need to calculate.
#1: Medical Expenses
This should be the total value of all medical bills for your injuries, even if you don’t pay out of pocket. Make sure to include charges for prescriptions, emergency transportation, etc.
#2: Future Medical Expenses
Next, estimate how much ongoing medical treatment you need for your injuries. This includes any prescription medications or surgeries you may need in the future.
#3: Lost Earnings
If you end up missing work because of your injuries, determine the amount of income you lost since you couldn’t work. Make sure to include any paid time off you used during recovery.
#4: Future Lost Earnings
If your ongoing treatment requires you to miss work more in the future or makes it impossible to continue working at your current job, estimate the amount of earnings you will lose.
#5: Property Damage
This expense typically only applies to car accidents. If you were in a car accident, determine how much it would cost to repair or replace your vehicle.
#6: Pain and Suffering
Estimating pain and suffering is the most difficult part of calculating your personal injury settlement. For pain and suffering, lawyers use a multiplier. Generally, the more serious and painful your injuries are, the higher the multiplier is. Most multipliers fall within the range of 1.5x to 5x the victim’s economic losses.
Once you determine an appropriate multiplier, add your medical costs and future medical expenses. Then, multiply that total using your chosen multiplier.
Example of a Settlement Estimate
Let’s say that you are in a car accident that shatters one of your knees. Your economic damages include $35,000 in medical expenses, $6,500 in vehicle damage, and $18,000 of lost income. In addition, you have to work less hours due to your injury, so you anticipate $12,000 in future lost income.
Your injury will also require further treatment in the coming years, so you estimate $15,000 in future medical expenses. Finally, your injury is painful and life-long, making day-to-day movement moderately difficult. As a result, your lawyer uses a multiplier of 2.5.
To calculate your personal injury settlement, add all of your expenses to get your economic damages, which in this case is $86,500. Next, multiply this number by 2.5. This gives you your non-economic damages, which is $125,000 in this example.
Finally, add your economic and non-economic damages together to get the value of your settlement. For this example, the estimated settlement is $211,500. Keep in mind that this is just an example and attorneys may calculate your non-economic damages a little differently.
Always Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer
While this is the basic calculation of a personal injury settlement, it is only a start. Make sure you discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney before making any settlement demands. A lawyer can tell you whether or not your expected settlement is realistic and help you determine an appropriate multiplier.
Can’t Wait for Your Settlement? Consider a Lawsuit Loan
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim but can’t wait for your settlement, consider applying for a pre-settlement lawsuit loan from Nova Legal Funding.
Unlike a traditional loan, a pre-settlement lawsuit loan doesn’t require a credit check or income verification. Instead, we discuss the details of your case with your lawyer to determine your loan amount. Most importantly, our lawsuit loans are risk-free, which means you don’t have to pay back the loan unless you win your case.