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Worth Factors In Personal Injury Cases

Sizeable personal injury cases often make big headlines — there is nothing like a multi-million dollar verdict or settlement to garner attention in the national media. However, these massive settlements aren’t the norm. How much your injury case is worth can vary tremendously based on many factors. If you have been injured recently by another party, it’s essential to understand what to expect financially in a potential personal injury settlement or verdict.

Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys are ready to review your case in a complimentary consultation today and let you know if you may have a case. We will review the case circumstances and give you a rough estimate of what you can expect going forward in the legal process.

What Kind of Compensation Could I Receive?

Every case is different, and while some cases result in millions of dollars in compensation, many wind up with far less. It depends on the severity of injuries and other damages. Some of the compensation you could be entitled to in your personal injury case are:

  • Outstanding and future medical bills
  • Wages lost while being out of work
  • Possible loss of income in the future
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Now, let’s look at research conducted on personal injury settlements. Remember that most personal injury claims result in settlements, with only 4% to 5% of cases going to trial. In the cases that were settled, the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2005 did a study and found the following:

  • Half of all personal injury plaintiffs received $24,000 or less
  • The median award for all personal injury cases was $31,000
  • The median settlement amount in car accident cases studied was $16,000
  • The median payout for slip and fall cases was $90,000
  • The average payout for medical malpractice cases was $679,000
  • The median payout for product defect cases was $748,000

Remember that those numbers are from 2005, so today’s figures would be considerably higher. Nonetheless, those examples show that many, but not all, personal injury cases often result in a relatively small settlement or award. But what happens if you have severe injuries and extensive damages?

What Affects Compensation in a Personal Injury Case?

There certainly are large personal injury settlements and verdicts that make big, splashy headlines. Not every personal injury case results in a small settlement. But what drives up the value of a case? The following factors dictate how much a case is potentially worth:

  • How severe the injuries are. Imagine that you’re injured in a T-bone car accident, and you fracture your wrist. You miss a week of work and have $10,000 in medical bills. On the other hand, imagine if the T-bone accident involves a tractor-trailer and you hit your head on the window, shattered your hip, and fractured your neck. That case could be worth hundreds of thousands in medical bills, plus much more in pain, suffering, and lost work time.
  • How the injuries affect your life. A broken wrist will have a negligible impact on your life, while significant injuries involving several body areas could have months or years of effect.
  • How long the treatments last and cost. The case is not worth a lot if you recover after a few doctor’s visits. But the case value skyrockets if you need to spend time in the hospital and have surgery and rehab.
  • The emotional and psychological impact of the injuries. If you can recover relatively quickly, the mental trauma may be relatively moderate, but if you are in the hospital for months and are not the same physically, the case will be worth more.
  • Liability. If the other party is completely at fault, the case value increases. However, many states have comparative negligence laws, which means the injured party’s liability may reduce their potential settlement amount.

There Are No Guarantees — Every Case Is Different

Personal injury settlements and verdicts run between thousands and millions of damages. Everything depends on the individual case factors and the level of injuries involved. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer at Nix Patterson can review your case and provide an idea of what might be involved in compensation.

But cases, circumstances, and injuries vary, as do judges, insurance companies, and other factors. Just bear this in mind as your case proceeds because what you wind up with in your pocket could be different from what another person with similar injuries received.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate the Value of a Claim?

To determine what a case is potentially worth, the insurance company will add up all of the damages you have, including medical bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and lost earnings. Once they know your economic damages, they will usually make an offer based on a damages formula that provides an amount of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Many insurance companies estimate pain and suffering damages by multiplying your medical expenses by a multiplier between 1 and 5. How large that number is depends on the severity of the injury.

Suppose in the T-bone truck accident in the example above, you shattered your spine and are paralyzed from the waist down. We know that paralysis victims can incur hundreds of thousands of expenses every year in medical bills, and the mental pain and suffering alone is substantial. This example could result in a 5 multiplier, while someone with cuts, scrapes, and a strained back might be assigned a 1 multiplier.

An additional factor is if the adjuster says you were partially at fault for the accident. In that case, the principle of comparative negligence in effect in many states dictates that your percentage of fault would reduce your settlement. So, if you have $25,000 in damages in a rear-end accident and were 10% at fault because your brake lights were burned out, your settlement will be lowered by $2,500.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Not every case requires a personal injury attorney. If your case is a minor fender-bender with no injuries, there would be no need to pursue a case. But if there are substantial injuries involved in addition to the damage to your vehicle, it is wise to have an attorney review your case free of charge.

When personal injury attorneys take a case, they usually get the plaintiff more money than they could have gotten without a lawyer. Taking on an insurance company by yourself when you’re seriously injured is usually a costly mistake. Only a skilled, experienced attorney with negotiating expertise can get you the settlement you deserve. A lawsuit threatened by fierce personal injury litigation could tip the scales in your favor if the insurance company won’t negotiate a fair settlement.

Contact Nix Patterson’s Personal Injury Attorneys Today

It’s unfair to suffer injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering after an accident caused by another person’s negligence. While nothing can change the past, the future may look brighter as your recovery progresses and you have compensation for your injuries. If you file a claim or lawsuit and it’s successful, you could have the money you need to get back on your feet and secure your short-term or long-term financial future.

Our attorneys are experienced in helping injury victims like you get compensation for their losses. Contact Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys for a free case review. We will not collect legal fees unless we win your case.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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