If you have recently been injured as a result of someone else’s actions, it is natural to desire some form of compensation. If this compensation is not given freely, then the method in place to make this wrong right is a personal injury lawsuit. However, most people have a lot of questions about how personal injury lawsuits work. In particular, many people wonder how much they should expect to receive. There are two primary ways the responsible party may compensate the victim. The court rules in favor of the plaintiff, or the defendant offers a settlement and the plaintiff accepts it. This guide will tackle both situations.
If the Trial Finishes
If the trial continues to its natural conclusion and the defendant is determined to be responsible for compensating the plaintiff, how much should the plaintiff expect to receive? The goal is for the victim of the injury to be returned to the financial situation he or she was in prior to the injury. This means you should expect full compensation for every expense that resulted from the injury including medical bills, lost wages, and other purchases. These are called “special compensatory damages.”
On top of these types of damages, the court may find that the defendant needs to compensate for some non-financial suffering too. For instance, if the injury was particularly painful, the judge may decide that the pain and suffering was worth $500. The victim may be compensated for nearly any form of non-financial suffering.
If a Settlement Is Reached
In nearly all court cases, a settlement will be reached before the trial can finish. If this happens, you should expect slightly less than what the court would order the defendant to pay. Essentially, you are trading a little bit of your compensation in order to save time and legal fees. It is costly to pay for an attorney, so you may actually end up receiving more simply because you do not need to continue paying your attorney.
You also need to carefully consider what your time is worth. Some court cases may drag on for months or even years. If you accept a settlement, the trial ends immediately and you get paid in a matter of days. Even if it is slightly less, this may be worth it for some people. Most importantly, however, you should follow your attorney’s advice when it comes to accepting, rejecting, or presenting a counter offer. A personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, will know whether or not the settlement offer is a good one.
Thanks to Johnston & Martineau, PLLP for their insight into what you should expect to receive in a personal injury lawsuit.