When you sustain an injury due to a negligent party, you may have several questions. One of those questions may be what the value of your case is.
When searching for an answer on the internet, you may come across different answers. So, which average is the most accurate?
Here’s why determining a true average is nearly impossible and the various factors that go into calculating personal injury settlements.
The Truth About Average Personal Injury Settlements
Many websites claim to provide the average settlement for personal injury cases. Unfortunately, a lot of these averages are misleading for a few different reasons.
First, any average found on the internet doesn’t include confidential settlements.
While some cases may have a published settlement amount, others aren’t publicly released for case-specific legal reasons. Without those amounts included in the calculation, the average is simply a guess.
Second, averages don’t take into account the unique variables in any given claim.
For example, an average of $40,000 may be inaccurate for cases involving severe injuries that result in permanent disability. Likewise, a $1,000,000 settlement is unlikely for a claim involving minor scrapes or bruises.
Finally, many of these averages vary because of state laws limiting recovery. In some states, there are limits to the amount of damages you may recover depending on the cause of the personal injury.
Colorado, for instance, has a non-economic damages cap for most personal injury cases.
Currently, the non-economic damages cap is $642,180 for any injury to one person in a single incident between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023.
Why a Personal Injury Settlements Calculator Isn’t Accurate
Even if you try using an online calculator, the result may be far from the actual value of your claim.
While online calculators help determine the extent of economic damages—such as medical bills, vehicle repairs, or lost wages—they cannot accurately estimate non-economic damages.
That’s because non-economic damages are intangible and don’t have a set financial cost.
These are things like pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and disfigurement.
In fact, these damages are so different from case to case that lawyers each have their own formula or method for calculating them.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated?
Examples of personal injury settlements online rarely break down how they’re calculated.
This may be because of how many factors are at play.
However, understanding what goes into calculating personal injury settlements is crucial knowledge for those considering a claim.
Consider the following fictional example:
John gets into a car accident at a 4-way stop sign when another driver negligently plows through the intersection without stopping. As a result, John has $100,000 in economic damages: $60,000 for his injuries, $20,000 in lost wages, and $20,000 for vehicle replacement. His injury not only requires an extensive recovery that may take years, but it also causes chronic pain and limits his movement. Since he is an avid hiker, John becomes increasingly depressed since he’s stuck at home. His attorney decides to multiply his economic damages by three as a representation of his non-economic damages. This brings John’s total damages to $300,000.
As you can see from the example, the victim has some intangible losses that may not apply to others. In this case, the lawyer just multiplied the economic damages.
However, some may determine a per-day cost during recovery instead. It all depends on the context of the case and how the injury affects the victim’s day-to-day life.
Need an Accurate Estimate of Your Claim? Contact the Tenge Law Firm
Calculating personal injury settlements without the assistance of an attorney can be incredibly taxing, especially if you’re still recovering.
At the Tenge Law Firm, our attorneys work on every aspect of your case from day one.
Whether you need help estimating your damages, gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit, we’re here for you.