What is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement?

January 15, 2021 | Personal Injury

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another individual, business, or entity, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury settlement. Personal injury claims are typically resolved in one of two ways – either through a settlement with an insurance carrier or through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. The vast majority of injury claims are settled before they go to trial. Here, we want to discuss what may be included in a personal injury settlement.

Economic Compensation

Economic compensation is also called special damages that a victim receives after sustaining an injury caused by another party. This compensation is typically considered calculable, and revolves around things that are relatively easy to add up. For example, the most common types of economic compensation include the following:

  • All medical bills that have accumulated
  • Lost income if a victim is unable to work while recovering
  • Any household out-of-pocket expenses the victim incurs
  • Property damage expenses

Coming up with the total amount for economic compensation includes gathering all of the bills and proof of expenses and adding them up.

Non-Economic Compensation

Non-economic compensation is also referred to as general damages that a victim receives for things that are a bit harder to calculate. This type of compensation revolves around more immeasurable losses that a victim incurs following an accident. This can include:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages
  • Loss of consortium (for a spouse)

Properly calculating non-economic damages can be more challenging, and an attorney will often use a
“multiplier method.” Using this method, they will add up all the economic damages and multiply that total by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5). For example, if the total economic damages added up to $100,000, an attorney may use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic damage total of $300,000. Overall, the attorney will then ask for $400,000 in compensation for their client.

A Personal Injury Settlement is Final

It is important to point out that personal injury victims should not settle a claim until they have reached maximum medical improvement and have a thorough understanding of the total dollar amount of their losses. After a settlement has been agreed upon by all parties, and after the settlement has been signed, there will be no way for the injury victim to come back later and ask for more compensation. If an injury victim has received their settlement but later discovers a more serious medical condition caused by the initial incident, they will be left covering these costs out-of-pocket.

Structured Settlement or a Lump-Sum Payout

A personal injury settlement will either be received all at once in a lump-sum payout or through a structured settlement where the victim will typically receive monthly payments for a set amount of time until the total award amount is paid. There are various benefits and drawbacks to each type of payout, and you should work with a skilled personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex personal injury cases when making this decision. Keep in mind that your motor vehicle accident attorney will need to be paid out of the final settlement amount if they worked on your case on a contingency fee basis.