Groups » Who Actually Pays A Personal Injury Settlement?

People who have been injured in accidents are often hesitant to make insurance claims. Maybe it is because they feel it will be a huge hassle to actually get any compensation. Or it could be that they don't really want to cause hardship to the person who caused the accident. Perhaps they feel if they make some sort of claim to help pay with their medical bills and other losses that they will be looked down upon by their friends. People who suffer injury in accidents are also uncertain about calling on the services of a personal injury attorney, assumingly because of their bad reputation as so-called ambulance chasers. But if you think about it why shouldn't you try to get some sort of compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced in the accident that was not your fault?

If you were involved in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another individual, a company, or a product, then what is wrong with making a personal injury claim to cover your medical costs, your lost wages, your personal losses and even your suffering, pain and trouble in relation to the accident? If you were injured by a faulty product, shouldn't you somehow let the manufacturer and distributor know so that others do not get hurt just like you did? If you slipped and fell at a store, because of poor maintenance, should the store management be made aware and correct the problem so that others don't suffer as you have? You should realize that calling on the help of a personal injury attorney to make a claim for your losses is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. It also alerts businesses of issues within their establishments or with their products and prevents others from going through the same thing. The attorney will help you make a claim and work toward settling that claim with the insurance company of the at fault party whether it be a person, company or manufacturer of a product that caused you harm due to negligence.

A professional attorney is not going to listen to your claim and file a frivolous lawsuit on your behalf, to do so would risk his reputation. He or she will evaluate your claim, recommend a settlement amount to request and send a letter to the insurance company of the negligent party requesting that amount. The items that are normally considered for compensation are:

Hospital and Doctor's Care
Wages lost from an inability to work due to injuries and treatment
Permanent physical harm or disability
Loss of social experiences (family, vacation, school, special events)
Anxiety, stress, pain and so on
Property losses or damages

Now, the insurance company can accept, reject or make a counter-offer to your request. Typically the counter-offer is the option the insurance company will choose. Since 95 percent of all personal injury cases are settled out of court, the odds are in your favor that your attorney will get the job done for you.

You should know that insurance companies use what is known as a damage formula to help determine how much they will offer you in the way of a settlement. Simply stated the insurance company will total your medical expenses and use these as a base for their calculations. They will then multiply this amount by a multiplier and arrive at an amount that is intended to cover your pain and suffering. If your injury is minor, the multiplier may be as low as two; if your injuries are severe or permanent, the multiplier may be as high as 10. Wages lost will usually be added in after this calculation to arrive at a settlement offer for you.

Once your claim is settled and you, your attorney, the other party and their insurance company are in agreement; your personal injury claim can be paid to you. At the time that you receive your settlement payment you will be requested to sign a release. This of course releases the insurance company from further liability in relation to any future claims regarding your case. There are several ways for an insurance company to pay you your settlement amount including the following.

• A Check - A check is the simplest and most common form of claim settlement payment. Since you have chosen to have an attorney represent you, the check will typically be made out to you with your attorney listed as a co-payee on the check. This of course insures that he receives his payment and you receive your settlement.

• A Structured Settlement - A structured settlement is most often seen in the event of a permanent or severe injury. Essentially, you, the claimant is paid a partial settlement amount and the remainder is used to purchase an annuity which will pay you a certain amount at agreed upon intervals over a specific period of time. Because an annuity is a type of investment, you will actually receive more than the amount of the insurance settlement amount.

Many people wonder about the average amount of settlements for their particular case may be, especially when they are represented by a personal injury attorney. As you can see, averages can be hard to come by, with all the variables involved. But the latest averages available are as follows: for medical malpractice - $340,000, for automobile accidents - $24,000 to $200,000 and for slip and fall injuries - $2,000. Every case is unique, every injury is different and the personal injury laws vary from state to state; what remains the same throughout is that with the help of a reputable personal injury lawyer, you can get a fair settlement from the insurance company for your injuries, losses, pain and suffering.


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