What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
Personal injuries are usually injuries sustained in accidents like car crashes, truck accidents, or slip and falls.
Many people are curious about how much they can receive for their injuries and call up to ask, “What are the average personal injury settlement amounts?”
We understand why people ask these questions. And we understand that there are very few clear answers online.
Chances are, you have been checking many different websites in search of a simple answer to what is a very complicated question.
Here’s the truth: there generally is no average settlement for personal injury.
Each case is different, and the amount our clients can receive in a settlement depends on countless variables. An adequate settlement is one that approximates what a jury would give you if they heard the case in court and voted in your favor.
Let’s look at some factors that the jury considers so you have some sense of how they arrive at these figures.
Special damages in Pennsylvania compensate for the money you spent because of the accident, including:
- Medical bills to treat your injuries
- Receipts for prescription drugs or medical equipment like crutches
- Lost wages, if you could not work while injured
- Property damage to your vehicle
In most cases, you can receive 100% reimbursement for these costs. Also, these are easy to calculate. Take out your bills, pay stubs, repair estimates, etc. and add up the amount.
Special damages can also include future medical care or lost future earnings, which come into play when a person has suffered terrible injuries like paralysis or a severe traumatic brain injury. Your attorney should have experience calculating these future costs so that you arrive at a fair and reasonable number.
Pennsylvania also allows personal injury victims to get money for so-called “general damages,” which cover non-economic losses like:
- Emotional distress, including depression, anger, irritability, and embarrassment
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship, if the injuries affect your marriage
It is much harder to estimate how much you can receive in general damages. Many lawyers claim that there is some magic formula you can use, such as some many of your special damages.
You might hear that you can get “3 times your special damages” in general damages. Actually, we’ve seen juries come back with different amounts. Each jury values general damages differently, so there’s no point to talking about mathematical formulas.
Instead, you should meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assess how the injuries have affected your life. The more your life has become disrupted and diminished, the stronger your argument for general damages.
Did you contribute to your accident? This matters for purposes of calculating a personal injury settlement. Pennsylvania law allows victims to receive compensation so long as their negligence is “not greater” than the negligence of all other defendants. In practice, this means our clients can be 50% responsible for an accident—but not more.
The law is also pretty clear that if you are at all responsible you will see the amount of compensation you can receive reduced by your percentage of fault. So when meeting with an attorney, you need to discuss anything you might have done that contributed to the accident or your injuries. Speeding? Not checking where you were walking? Tailgating?
Consider the following example:
Melissa is driving to work when she decides to make a quick pit stop to buy some coffee. Rather than use her turn signal, she hits the brakes to slow down when she comes across the Starbucks. Because she didn’t give any warning, the driver behind her (Doug) slams into her rear bumper. This driver was going 20 miles over the speed limit, so he didn’t have enough time to stop.
In this case, both Melissa and Doug are responsible for the accident. Melissa didn’t use her turn signal, and Doug was traveling too fast. The jury might find that Melissa suffered $60,000 in damages but is 50% responsible for the accident. If so, she can only receive half of the amount of damages, or $30,000.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia today.
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Part of negotiating a settlement is estimating the value of our client’s injuries.
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