Washington state personal injury settlement amounts vary widely, and a case’s value depends on many factors unique to the specific facts of the accident. People hear about jury verdicts reaching into the millions, but these are atypical cases that attract a lot of attention because they’re extraordinary. The truth is that a large majority of cases settle in the negotiating room, so the parties don’t have to endure long, arduous, and unpredictable jury trials.
The attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, have extensive experience securing significant injury awards for accident victims. Our lawyers provide clients with the information they need to make informed decisions about their cases. We handle all aspects of personal injury claims, including insurance negotiations, settlement agreements, litigation, and appeals. With our help, you can pursue a claim to hold the party responsible for your injuries legally accountable. Contact us today.
Factors Affecting Your Personal Injury Settlement Value
The amount a victim obtains depends on the type of accident, their attorney’s skill, and the extent of damages and injuries. After an accident, a victim’s goal usually includes getting back to their regular life. The purpose of compensation is to put victims in the same position they were in before the accident, or as close to it as possible. Determining that amount relies on quantifying a victim’s economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable monetary losses the victim incurred. These damages include direct expenses such as the victim’s:
- Medical treatment costs;
- Lost wages and benefits; and
- Property damage.
Medical expenses can include the cost of their onsite treatment, airlift or ground transportation to a hospital, and emergency treatment. Additionally, accident victims should be compensated for any rehabilitation or future medical treatment they need. However, insurance companies are often hesitant to include this compensation without compelling evidence.
The victim’s lost wages can be harder to calculate. In addition to missed work, the victim may experience lower productivity or even be unable to perform the job they had before the accident. An experienced attorney can assist victims in maximizing their economic damages.
After a severe accident, a person’s most tremendous losses may have nothing to do with direct financial costs. Non-economic damages refer to a host of losses that fall under the umbrella of “pain and suffering.” These intangible losses include mental anguish, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement, and more. Proving non-economic damages is critical to a full and fair recovery. However, these damages require you to tell a compelling story about how the accident impacted your life.
Unlike other states, Washington does not permit punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for their conduct. However, Washington’s Supreme Court has explained that these damages are only authorized by statute. While the law prohibits punitive damages, a skilled attorney can help victims secure a settlement agreement that fully compensates them for their injuries.
Calculating Damages and Settlement Amounts
Determining the value of a settlement requires examining the components of the case. The total value involves the sum of economic and non-economic damages. Calculating economic damages is typically straightforward because you simply have to gather all receipts, invoices, and pay stubs and add everything up. However, non-economic damage is calculated differently.
The multiplier method is a common way to calculate less tangible, non-economic losses. To calculate damages under this method, an attorney may add up a victim’s economic damages and apply a multiplier to arrive at an approximate settlement value. The multipliers range from 1 to 5, depending on the severity of the injuries.
Some circumstances warrant a higher multiplier. These include accidents resulting in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord damage. Further, injuries requiring significant follow-up or costly specialists may increase the multiplier. On the other hand, a multiplier may be lower in cases where there are only soft tissue injuries, no medication, no visible scars, or expenses for diagnosis rather than treatment.
In addition to the multiplier method, a settlement amount may depend on the effect of the injury on the particular victim. For example, a young teenager who suffers a scar on their face may experience more pain and suffering than another victim. Other considerations may impact a settlement claim. These factors include witness credibility, medical records, pre-existing conditions, and the at-fault party’s admissions.
How an Attorney Can Help Value a Claim
Only you know the true impact that an accident had on your life. However, a skilled injury lawyer can help you reach an agreement with the insurance company that fairly compensates you for what you’ve been through. For example, injury lawyers understand what motivates an insurance company to offer a fair settlement figure. The stronger the case you can present, the more likely the insurance company will fear losing at trial. This is the primary motivation for the insurance company to settle the case. A skilled attorney can evaluate your case, gather compelling evidence, and present a strong case to the insurance company.
Although some accident victims choose to settle a case without a lawyer, those who place too low or too high a value on a case may find themselves at a disadvantage. Underestimating your damages leaves money on the table, and placing too high a value on your claim may make settlement impossible. An injury lawyer can help you come up with a fair settlement amount that is supported by the evidence.
Are You Looking for a Washington State Personal Injury Settlement?
If you’ve been injured in a Washington State auto accident and want to learn more about how to determine the settlement value of your claim, contact Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC. Our dedicated injury lawyers have recovered more than $100 million dollars on behalf of our clients. We take an individualized approach to every case we handle, ensuring our clients’ cases receive the attention they deserve. Our lawyers also offer all prospective clients a free consultation, during which we explain the process in clear, understandable terms. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, reach out to us through our online contact form. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we recover compensation on your behalf.