Determining Settlement Value in Burlington County Injury Cases
If you have been seriously injured through no fault of your own, the insurance company of the responsible party may usually offer a settlement to end the case.
However, insurance company representatives are generally not interested in providing you with the fairest settlement. In fact, in many cases, their job is to have you agree to the lowest possible settlement. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot change your mind and ask for more money.
When determining settlement value in Burlington County injury cases, it may be wise to seek help from a skilled lawyer. A Burlington County personal injury attorney could determine the value of a fair settlement in your case and then fight on your behalf to get that settlement from the insurance company.
Methods of Determining Settlement Value
As a rule of thumb, insurance companies determine settlement value in Burlington County for pain and suffering by multiplying the victim’s damages, such as lost pay and medical bills, by a certain number. For example, if the individual breaks a leg and has medical expenses of $10,000 and loses the same amount in pay, the insurance company may multiply that $20,000 by three to come up with a $60,000 settlement figure.
Many insurance companies use computer programs to determine settlement amounts, based on factors such as the type of injury and subsequent medical treatment. Less serious injuries could potentially mean less money in damages a plaintiff can expect to receive. For example, insurance companies are unlikely to multiply a sprained ankle by a factor of three to determine an award as they are to multiply a broken ankle by that factor.
Per Diem Settlements
A plaintiff’s attorney may use a per diem method to calculate a reasonable pain and suffering settlement. This method uses a specific amount, such as $100 per day, as payment from the date of the accident to the time the victim is fully recovered.
Under this scenario, an accident victim who requires a full year to heal completely would receive $36,500. The more usual amount is what the plaintiff earns daily so that the amount received is comparable to what they would receive if they were able to work.
No Caps on Pain and Suffering in Burlington County
Unlike many states, New Jersey does not place arbitrary caps on pain and suffering awards. Under New Jersey Statute 2A:15-5.14, the only limit on damages is for punitive awards, which are limited to either five times the defendant’s liability for compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is less.
However, most plaintiffs do not receive punitive damages. Since their intent is to punish the defendant, they are reserved for the most egregious cases.
Determining Settlement Value Process
It is important to remember that the settlement process is designed for fairness, not as a personal windfall for victims. Some plaintiffs do receive extraordinary sums of money, but usually, these are people who may never recover and require lifelong care.
Most plaintiffs do not receive the full amount initially requested, but a knowledgeable attorney takes that fact into consideration when entering negotiations.
Contact a Burlington County Personal Injury Attorney Today
It can take a long time to determine an appropriate value for a personal injury settlement, especially without seasoned legal help along the way. If you need assistance determining settlement value in a Burlington County injury case, a Burlington County personal injury lawyer may have just the knowledge and experience you need to navigate this complex process.