Category: Personal Injury

What Is The Average Settlement For A Personal Injury?

If you’re injured at work, in a car accident, or by some other means, your first thought is probably about your recovery. Will you be out of work, and if so, how long? Will you be able to cover your medical bills and pay your mortgage or rent? 

While these concerns are valid, you shouldn’t have to worry about finances when you’re injured, especially if someone else is responsible for your accident. A personal injury settlement can go a long way in helping you pay for medical treatments and provide for your needs until you return to work. 

What Is a Personal Injury Settlement? 

A personal injury lawsuit may be filed when a person is injured by the actions — or lack of action — of another individual or entity. For example, if a store owner fails to clean up a spill, causing you to slip and fall and break an arm, you might decide to file a lawsuit against the store. 

Instead of taking the case to court for a judge or jury to decide the outcome, though, you could accept a settlement from the store owner’s insurance company. Georgia law follows the modified comparative fault rule, meaning when a person is injured in an accident, any financial award they receive will be decreased if they are found to be partially at fault for the incident. 

For instance, if a driver hits your car while running a stop light, but you did not avoid the accident because you were texting, it might be concluded that you are 20% at fault. Any award would then be reduced by 20%

However, accepting a settlement may or may not work to the plaintiff’s advantage. It’s possible that a jury would award you more than an insurance company is willing to offer. However, a jury could also find that you are 50% responsible for the accident and award you nothing. 

Many people opt to accept a settlement because it is faster and less complicated than going through a court trial where they might not prevail. Working with a personal injury attorney who is skilled at settlement negotiation can help you get a fair and generous settlement. 

The Average Personal Injury Settlement

Many factors are considered when deciding the amount of a personal injury settlement. The type and severity of an injury, the cost of going to court, the pain and suffering of the plaintiff, and the privacy needs of the defendant can all influence the size of a settlement offer. 

No two cases are the same. According to Forbes Advisor, about half of all personal injury plaintiffs receive $24,000 or less. This number can vary significantly, however. 

Other averages based on case type include:

  • Medical Malpractice: $679,000
  • Product Liability: $748,000
  • Premises Liability: $90,000

Additionally, the median award for car accident cases is $16,000. No matter the case type, a personal injury lawyer plays a vital role in the final award amount.

A personal injury attorney uses their experience to fight for fair compensation. Depending on your injury, you could be facing months of unemployment and medical treatment or even permanent disability. Agreeing to a settlement without legal representation can put you at a disadvantage. 

Have You Been Injured In an Accident In Georgia?

If you’ve been injured in the workplace or any other type of accident in Georgia, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, you may be offered more or less than the average settlement. For the best outcome, working with an attorney dedicated to fighting on your behalf is essential. 

What Is the Difference Between Loss of Income and Loss of Earning Potential?

You might have suffered injuries due to a car accident, a slip and fall accident, a truck accident, or some other cause. You likely qualify for compensation when you suffer an injury due to someone else’s wrongful conduct. In some cases, a workers’ compensation claim is appropriate. In most cases, however, you need to file a personal injury claim. 

“Loss of income” and “loss of earning potential” are two different measures of compensation based on the work-related consequences of your injuries. If you have a personal injury claim, it is important that you understand the difference between these two terms. 

In a nutshell, ‘loss of income’ represents income you have already lost, while ‘loss of earning potential’ represents money you expect to lose in the future.

Context: Summary of Personal Injury Damages

When you suffer a personal injury, you probably qualify for far more than the money necessary to compensate you for missed work days. You can recover both economic and non-economic damages.

Following is a more complete list of the types of compensation you are likely to qualify for: 

  • Current and future medical expenses;
  • Lost earnings;
  • Loss of earning potential;
  • Incidental expenses such as child care, treatment-related travel expenses, and more;
  • Physical pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • The emotional consequences of physical disfigurement (facial scarring, for example);
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Loss of consortium (intimacy and sexual relations); and
  • Punitive damages. Courts only occasionally award punitive damages, and they are subject to special rules. 

You probably don’t qualify for every item of the damages listed above, but you may very well qualify for some of them.

Loss of Income

For most employees, loss of income includes the loss of:

  • Regular wages or salary;
  • Overtime pay;
  • Bonuses; 
  • Tips, if you are a tipped employee;
  • Sick leave and vacation time that you had to use up because of your injuries; and
  • Any other work-related compensation you lost because of your injuries.

You can also claim the value of benefits provided by your employer, such as private use of a company car. Talk to your lawyer, however, because valuing such items can be tricky.

If You Have a Variable Income

Loss of income is more difficult to calculate if your income is not stable. You might work on commission, for example, or you might own your own business. You can prove your loss of income by first establishing your average daily income, no matter how much it may vary from day to day. Next, you multiply your average daily income by the number of work days you missed. 

It can get even trickier if you have to calculate the loss you sustained by missing a meeting with an important potential client. After all, how do you know whether you would have successfully retained the client had you attended the meeting? A lawyer can help you with this.

Loss of Earning Potential (Diminished Earning Capacity)

Whereas loss of income compensates you for money you have already lost because of your injuries, loss of earning potential compensates you for anticipated future earnings. This measure of damages applies only if you suffer from a long-term or permanent injury. 

Your measure of damages is the amount you expect to lose from the date of your claim until either the date you expect to reach a full recovery or your retirement date, whichever comes first.

The value of your loss of earning potential claim depends on several factors, including: 

  • How much money you were making before your accident;
  • Your career trajectory at the time of your accident;
  • The degree of your disability (whether you can work at all, and if so, how much and in what kind of position);
  • The duration of your disability; and
  • Your age (if you don’t anticipate recovering before retirement).

You will probably need at least one expert witness to help you calculate the total amount.

Let a Personal Injury Lawyer Fight for Your Rights

It can be tricky to prove loss of earnings. It’s likely to be even more difficult to prove loss of earning potential. For the latter calculation, at least, you’re probably going to need not only an experienced personal injury lawyer, but also at least one expert witness. 

Contact a lawyer ASAP to schedule a free initial consultation.