Taking Stock of What the Seriously Injured Have Lost
Putting settlement offers in perspective is a challenge that every injured individual and family faces. In some cases, especially those where liability is clear, the party at fault rushes to make an offer before the injured victim and his or her family can seek legal advice. These initial offers may sound generous but are almost always far below what your injuries and losses truly merit. That is why it is always crucial to seek legal advice before agreeing to any type of compromise.
While looking at the reported results of similar cases from the past can be helpful, the unique nature of every claim makes an independent analysis necessary:
- Current economic losses — Determining the calculable economic losses the plaintiff has already suffered is usually a good first step. These can include out-of-pocket medical expenses and lost wages for missed work. Injuries that generate large amounts of medical bills and lost wages are also likely to generate more substantial pain and loss of life’s pleasures.
- Permanence — When struck with a permanent or long-term injury, victims are entitled to compensation for their anticipated future economic and noneconomic losses. The input of medical, vocational and economic experts can often be helpful in refining this number.
- Comparative fault — While the fact that a plaintiff was partially at fault does not necessarily bar recovery, it can reduce it significantly. If the facts suggest the plaintiff was partially to blame, it may reduce the amount of a reasonable settlement.
- Strength of the case — In cases where the defendant’s liability is not absolutely clear, it becomes necessary to consider the possibility that the plaintiff may lose if the case goes to trial. Even for the best trial attorneys, juries can be unpredictable and it may be advisable to accept a more modest settlement rather than risk getting nothing in court.
Analyzing the value of a case takes knowledge, experience and instinct. Consulting with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney can protect you from accepting an unfair settlement that does not consider the full scope of your injuries.