Parties injured in any type of personal injury case (and their attorney) ultimately try to estimate the settlement value of their case. This is logical as most personal injury cases never go trial and are resolved through settlement. Various factors influence the settlement value of a personal injury case.
Simply put and in a nutshell, the better a case is, the greater the chances of reaching a settlement. No defendant that is significantly and clearly at fault wants to risk a higher damages award by going to trial. The attorneys at Powel Law are familiar with all considerations necessary to calculate a value for a personal injury case and establish the best case possible going forward, whether to trial or to settlement negotiations. Factors that influence the settlement of a personal injury case:
Culpability raises many questions. Are multiple parties at fault in the accident? Is the plaintiff guilty of any negligence? How easy is it to prove each party’s respective proportion of fault? If each party’s proportion of fault can be established, this allows a plaintiff to know the parameters of a reasonable settlement offer.
How severe is any damage to property? In cases involving motor vehicle accidents, defendants may contend that the lack of property damage suggests that the injuries suffered were not severe. Conversely, a severely damaged or totaled vehicle may more strongly substantiate a plaintiff’s claim of significant injuries.
Because defense attorneys commonly attempt to attribute current injuries to a pre-existing medical condition or injury, medical records showing treatment for a similar condition may reduce the settlement value of a case.
Credibility and Consistency
The consistency of the statements made by witnesses, especially the victim, are critical. Any contradictions or false statements can damage credibility and make it more difficult to prove a claim. To avoid any potential problems, plaintiffs should avoid making statements directly to an insurance claims adjuster without first consulting an attorney.
Financial Needs of the Plaintiff
If a defendant knows that the plaintiff is willing to wait as long as necessary, including going to trial, to extract the greatest possible award for a claim, then there is a greater likelihood of a willingness to settle, which should result in a higher settlement offer. Some plaintiffs, based upon financial need, want to settle as soon as possible, and thus are more willing to accept a lower settlement offer.
Likelihood of Judgment for the Defendant
As to the amount of damages, it must be determined to what extent this amount may be further reduced by the chance that a judge or jury may decide the case in favor of the defendant.
Knowledge of all of the relevant facts and their effect upon the final verdict are vital in making any accurate calculation of a case’s settlement value. This is a complex assessment which requires the assistance of experienced personal injury attorneys, like those at Powell Law. If you live in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and have suffered injuries due to an accident, product defect, or incident of medical malpractice, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.