How Much Do I Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement?

A man in a sling signing paperwork from the doctor after suffering a personal injury. On the desk is an open laptop and a stack of paperwork.

Knowing how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement after being injured by another’s negligence is crucial. However, most people have no idea how to accurately value their personal injury claim. This often results in accepting the initial settlement offer, which could leave them paying for medical bills and other losses out of pocket.

Therefore, when you are injured and seek a personal injury settlement, it is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Colorado. We provide expert legal advice and accurate claim valuation. 

Navigating Personal Injury Settlements

Long before arriving at a settlement offer, there is much that must be done to successfully navigate a personal injury claim. For starters, you should have sought medical treatment immediately following the accident. You should also have filed a police report or accident report, depending on the type of accident. 

The next step is to file the claim with the responsible party’s insurance company and demand payment for your damages and losses. However, before you can do this, you must determine how much compensation you are entitled to. 

Determining Compensation

Determining the value of a personal injury claim requires you to add up all your economic losses and remember to include non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. However, many people usually tend to overlook non-economic losses when working directly with the insurance company themselves to reach a settlement.

Insurance Companies Want You to Settle Quickly for Less

The insurance company knows how much you should actually receive. However, their goal is to avoid paying out money in injury claims. Insurance companies are notorious for offering the lowest amount possible while making it sound like a reasonable settlement offer. 

They want you to settle quickly and accept their initial offer. Unfortunately, if you do that, you cannot seek further damages for ongoing medical care or future lost wages. 

Personal Injury Attorneys Accurately Value Your Claim

Generally, the average settlement amount is usually one and a half times your economic losses. To ensure you receive at least this amount, if not more, it is important to get help from a Colorado personal injury attorney. Your attorney accurately calculates all of your economic and non-economic damages to determine a fair settlement amount. 

Next, we consider any ongoing medical care and rehabilitation expenses. We also remember to include future financial losses. Considering all these things, we arrive at a settlement offer to present to the insurance company. 

Factors Considered in Settlement Amounts

The factors considered in settlement amounts to determine the value of a personal injury claim include:

  • The severity of the injuries: The extensiveness of the injuries is one of the more important aspects of determining the value of a settlement. If injuries are minor and you will fully recover, do not expert as much as someone who has long-term medical needs or has permanent injuries, like loss of a limb or eyesight. 
  • The amount of economic damages: Economic damages have an actual dollar value, such as property damage, medical treatment costs, and present and future lost wages. 
  • Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages are damages that do not have an actual dollar amount. They include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, emotional trauma, loss of consortium, and other intangible losses. 
  • The liability of each party: Colorado law uses modified comparative negligence to determine each party’s liability. This means when each party is partially at fault, each one is assigned a percentage of fault. As a result, it could affect the value of the settlement amount.

Why Documenting Your Case Is Vital

Documentation of the accident and resulting injuries is vital to settlement negotiations. Medical treatment and the extent of your injuries are the basis for your claim. In addition, police and accident reports help determine negligence and the extent of liability of each party. 

Furthermore, one of the more challenging components of personal injury lawsuits is proving negligence. You need documentation and supporting evidence to establish negligence, such as photographs and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. Having a list of witnesses to call upon to further substantiate your claim is equally beneficial.  

Post-Negotiation Steps After Reaching a Settlement Agreement

Once a suitable personal injury compensation settlement agreement is reached, there are still several steps that must be completed before you will receive your compensation, as follows:

  • The agreement is put into writing: The settlement agreement will detail the exact terms and conditions of the settlement. This is to ensure all parties involved have a clear understanding of their legal responsibilities. In some cases, the plaintiff may be barred from discussing the settlement amount or other details, especially in high-profile cases.
  • The agreement is signed: All parties will sign the agreement, normally in the presence of their lawyers and a notary, where applicable. Once the agreement is signed, it becomes legally binding.
  • File the agreement with the court: When a personal injury lawsuit is filed with the court, the attorneys representing the plaintiff and defendant file the agreement. This notifies the court that a settlement has been reached, so there is no need to go to trial.
  • Everyone involved receives a copy of the agreement: Each party and their lawyers will receive copies of the agreement for their records.
  • Fulfill any obligations outlined in the agreement: Before funds are distributed, each party will need to fulfill its specific obligations as detailed in the agreement. This could involve assigning who will receive the settlement check or agreeing not to pursue any further legal actions against the defendant to ensure personal injury protection. 
  • Release the settlement funds: Once all obligations have been met and any other forms are signed, the settlement funds are released. Usually, they will be released to your attorney. 
  • Distribute the settlement funds: The funds will need to be distributed to pay your lawyer, outstanding medical bills, and other related expenses. After everyone is paid, you will receive your disbursement from the remaining balance.
  • Close the file: Your personal injury lawsuit case is then closed and considered resolved.

How a Bachus & Schanker Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

Two open law books with a gavel on top.

When injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, it is vital to seek immediate medical treatment. Afterward, your next step is to get free legal advice from the experienced personal injury lawyers at Bachus & Schanker. 

Insurance companies have their own lawyers and legal teams. So, it is vital to have your own representation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. During the initial consultation, we will review your case, provide an accurate valuation, and advise you on your next steps. There are no upfront or hourly fees. We only collect payment once we reach a favorable settlement in your injury case. 

Sources:

CRS 13-21-111.

Proving Fault and Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits. (2023).Settlement Negotiations in Personal Injury Lawsuits. (2023).

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