You may be thinking of filing a personal injury claim after being hurt in a car accident, a slip-and-fall, or another incident caused by someone else's carelessness. If so, you probably have lots of questions: What are my chances of getting fair compensation for my medical bills and other losses? Is it better to hire a lawyer, or can I handle it on my own? Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of success? How long will the process take?
How Much Compensation Is Typical in Personal Injury Cases?
More than half of our readers received payouts ranging from just $3,000 to $25,000. But another 26% of readers received over $25,000, making the overall average $52,900. When you're looking at these results, keep in mind that the readers we surveyed had come to our websites to find information about a claim and to look for a lawyer. It may be that those with the most severe injuries (which lead to a higher settlement or award) immediately retained a lawyer and therefore did not participate in our survey.
What Affects the Outcome of Personal Injury Claims?
There tend to be general patterns as to how insurance companies value an injury case. You don't have control over some factors that affect those patterns, including:
- Your injuries. Serious injuries result in more medical expenses and significant "pain and suffering" damages—which generally lead to higher payouts.
- The defendant's insurance policy. Obviously, the insurance company won't offer settlements over the policy limits.
However, our survey results point to several things you can do that significantly affect the likelihood of a successful outcome as well as the amount of compensation you might receive: hiring a lawyer, negotiating a settlement (rather than simply taking the first offer), and taking steps to involve the court.