Factors That Affect Your Injury Settlement

Factors That Affect Your Injury Settlement

Factors That Affect Your Injury Settlement

After an incident in the state of Georgia, individuals can file a personal injury claim to seek recompense for the various losses they've endured, both tangible and intangible.

These encompass medical expenses, future healthcare costs, and income that has been forgone, which fall under the category of economic damages.

In addition to these, victims of accidents can also claim a different kind of compensation: pain and suffering, which falls under the category of non-economic damages.

Pain and suffering damages are routinely included in personal injury claims since accident victims experience real, substantial physical pain, mental distress, and emotional anguish.

Regrettably, numerous insurance companies strive to downplay or even disqualify pain and suffering claims. Even when an insurance provider acknowledges the existence of pain and suffering, they often employ various strategies to minimize the amount they must pay.

The magnitude of pain and suffering damages in a personal injury claim can be influenced by several factors, including the severity of the accident, the nature of the injuries sustained, and the applicable state laws.

Pain and Suffering: What Does It Encompass?

Pain and suffering serve as an encompassing term, encapsulating the extensive physical discomfort and emotional repercussions arising from an accident, in addition to the discernible harm experienced, such as disability and visible scars.

After incidents like truck collisions, car accidents, or slip-and-fall accidents caused by negligence or recklessness, non-economic damages offer compensation for various aspects, including:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Chronic pain
  3. Damage to reputation
  4. Mental pain and depression
  5. Disfigurement
  6. Fatigue and exhaustion
  7. Insomnia or sleep disorders
  8. Loss of enjoyment of life
  9. Migraine headaches
  10. Persistent fears and phobias stemming from the event
  11. Nerve damage
  12. Scarring

In situations where accidents result in fatalities, surviving family members may seek damages for the pain and suffering endured by the deceased leading up to their demise.

In cases of wrongful death, non-economic damages can also be pursued for the loss of love, care, and companionship experienced by family members.

Most Common Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages Given that pain and suffering damages aren't quantifiable, the amounts are typically agreed upon by both parties during a settlement or determined by a judge or jury. Two primary methods are employed to compute these damages:

The Multiplier Method

This is the more frequently utilized approach, involving the summation of all economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost earnings) and subsequently multiplying them by a specified number, referred to as the multiplier. This multiplier figure is determined by a comprehensive evaluation of case-specific factors, as discussed below, and usually falls within the range of 1.5 to 5.

The Per Diem Method

Under this method, individuals receive a daily rate corresponding to the pain they endured following the accident, multiplied by the number of days they had to endure that mental or physical anguish.

However, this method can prove challenging for cases involving catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disability, particularly when maximum medical improvement isn't synonymous with complete recovery.

Both these methodologies have their own advantages and disadvantages, with the multiplier method being more common due to its potential for securing higher damage awards in comparison to the per diem method.

It's imperative to understand that pain and suffering damages are essentially negotiable and vary on a case-by-case basis. Accident victims may be eligible for considerably more compensation than initially offered by an insurance company, underscoring the importance of consulting a personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement following an accident.

Top Nine Factors Influencing Your Injury Settlement Here are the nine foremost factors that exert influence on the magnitude of damages you may receive for pain and suffering:

The Severity of Your Injury

The extent of your injury ranks among the most pivotal determinants of your personal injury settlement. More severe injuries typically translate to higher medical costs, greater time away from work, and increased pain and suffering, thereby leading insurance companies to propose larger settlements. Reports from medical professionals can offer a comprehensive assessment of the gravity of your injuries.

The Extent of Medical Treatment Received

Seeking medical treatment immediately after an accident holds crucial significance, both for your health and the potential outcome of your personal injury claim. The volume of medical treatment you have undergone plays a substantial role in your settlement amount.

Those who have undergone prolonged hospitalization or extensive surgery tend to secure larger settlements compared to those who have only visited the doctor for a few office appointments. Consequently, the documentation of your healthcare journey is pivotal.

It's equally important to adhere to your healthcare provider's recommendations, as your lawyer will meticulously assess your medical records to gauge the overall extent of treatment received and its impact on your personal injury settlement.

Impact on Your Quality of Life

The severity of your injuries primarily determines the value of your settlement. Insurance companies closely scrutinize how these injuries have disrupted your quality of life, encompassing aspects like your health, well-being, contentment, as well as your ability to work.

A debilitating injury that impedes your ability to work or enjoy your regular activities usually results in a substantially higher settlement compared to minor injuries with minimal influence on daily life.

Furthermore, the insurance company factors in your age, pre-injury health, and anticipated future medical expenses when assessing your claim's worth. By comprehending the mechanics behind insurance companies' settlement calculations, you can cultivate realistic expectations regarding your case's potential outcome.

Allocation of Fault

One of the chief factors that could diminish your injury settlement is the degree to which you're deemed responsible for the accident.

Even a minor percentage of fault attributed to you can substantially reduce the settlement amount, as insurance companies often use any degree of fault to lower their financial liability. Hence, it is imperative to build a robust argument demonstrating your lack of fault whenever possible.

The legal principle of comparative negligence determines the assignment of fault in accidents. If you were involved in an accident triggered by another party, their defense strategy might involve blaming your actions as well (for example, speeding).

In Georgia, you can still seek compensation even if you bear partial responsibility for an accident, thanks to the doctrine of comparative negligence found in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Title 51, Chapter 11, Section 7. However, being found 50% or more negligent would result in forfeiture of your right to recovery.

Insurance Company Liability Limits

Several variables influence the magnitude of your settlement, with one of the most pivotal being the insurance company's liability limits, particularly in instances of severe injuries.

If the at-fault party possesses a low liability limit, their insurer may offer a modest settlement regardless of the gravity of your injuries. Conversely, individuals covered by higher liability limits are more likely to receive more generous settlement offers from their insurance companies.

The potential compensation available plays an integral role, especially when dealing with substantial injuries. Georgia mandates that drivers carry a minimum bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.

This minimum sum is relatively low, and if you sustain severe injuries or experience permanent disability, your personal injury claim may be confined to the at-fault driver's liability limits. This is why acquiring Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance is often recommended, as it provides additional coverage in scenarios where the at-fault party is inadequately insured.

Pre-Existing Injuries

When assessing your case, one of the initial aspects your attorney will scrutinize is whether you have any pre-existing injuries.

This is significant as it can impact both the value of your injuries and your recovery timeline. If, for instance, you have a history of back problems, the insurance company might argue that your current injuries are less severe than claimed. Similarly, if you have a pre-existing condition causing chronic pain, the insurer could attempt to offer a lower settlement amount.

Hence, it's vital to be forthright about any pre-existing conditions during your initial meeting with your attorney. Personal injury law allows for compensation for pre-existing conditions if the accident worsened them, a fact that your lawyer can substantiate through medical records.

Property Damages

If you were involved in a car accident and incurred property damage, these expenses will be integrated into your injury settlement.

This applies to all personal property damaged as a result of the accident, such as glasses or laptops. Photographs and videos documenting property damage serve as valuable evidence for insurance adjusters and other experts, enabling them to visually assess the extent of your experiences.

Loss of Income and Earning Potential

Another critical factor influencing your settlement pertains to the income you have lost due to your injury. This encompasses not only your lost wages but also any future earnings that you could have anticipated if not for the accident.

If your injury precludes you from returning to work indefinitely, it will significantly bolster the value of your claim. While lost earnings and loss of earning capacity are compensated separately, they are factors considered in pain and suffering damages.

Duration of Recovery

The duration of your recovery is another pivotal factor impacting your settlement. A prolonged recovery typically entails higher medical expenses, more time off work, and subsequently, a greater settlement value. In contrast, a swift and complete recovery results in a lower settlement value. The types of injuries sustained are also taken into account.

For instance, fractures usually heal within a few months, whereas soft tissue injuries may necessitate a longer recovery. As a result, cases involving more severe injuries typically command higher settlement figures, as courts acknowledge that protracted recovery periods augment the emotional pain and suffering endured.

How The Graham Firm Can Assist with Pain and Suffering Claims

If you have inquiries concerning pain and suffering damages or would like an evaluation of your potential personal injury case, The Graham Firm stands ready to offer answers, insights, and resources.

Our personal injury law firm is committed to helping you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve for your pain and suffering.

We possess the expertise and resources to tackle even the most intricate cases, and we are available to address any queries you may have. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.

Reach out to us today for a complimentary consultation to explore how we can guide you in commencing your case. Our mission is to deliver compassionate representation and secure full compensation for our clients.