Settlements in Personal Injury Cases: Should I Consider Estate Planning? 

Despite the trauma and emotional distress after a car accident, you’ve managed to file a personal injury claim. But, you still have financial concerns about settlements in personal injury cases, especially now that you’ve spent money on medical bills and your car needs repairs. Additionally, you must cover your utility bills and maintain the lifestyle your dependents are used to.

Now you are left wondering: should I file for legal funding as I wait for my settlement? How are personal injury settlements calculated? How long will it take for me to receive my settlement check? These are financial problems that can wear you down, but partnering with a personal injury lawyer ensures you get the legal counsel and representation you need to receive your maximum compensation.

Average Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

Being involved in a car accident devastates, and there are complex legal issues that you must sort through in the aftermath. One major concern is determining the compensatory amount you can expect to receive for your personal injury claim.

Settlements in personal injury cases vary widely, but the average compensation falls roughly from $10,000 to over $30,000. In some lawsuits, claimants receive over a million dollars. These enormous differences in settlements exist because the value of compensation is often determined by the severity of injuries you suffered as a result of the collision. In simple terms, the higher the severity, the higher the settlement.

Factors Affecting the Value of a Personal Injury Settlement

The value of personal injury compensation can be challenging to determine because several factors must be considered. Keep in mind that the at-fault party’s insurance policy may also affect your injury settlement. Other factors that may affect your compensation include:

  • The severity of injuries and permanent disability
  • Inability to maintain your living standard
  • Medical care and expenses
  • Lost income due to time away from work
  • Extent of property damage, including car damages
  • Whether the victim was wearing a safety belt

Usually, the determination of your settlement may go two ways: through negotiations with your insurer or a court trial. You risk receiving a lower settlement amount by filing an insurance claim because the compensation can’t exceed the at-fault party’s maximum coverage. Nonetheless, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance policy doesn’t apply, and you’re likely to receive higher compensation. That’s why it’s critical to retain a professional personal injury lawyer. They can help you maximize your chances of receiving the maximum settlement.

How Is Personal Injury Settlement Calculated?

It’s critical to add up the costs related to your accident and injuries to ensure you get the maximum settlement. But what are some of the factors considered when calculating personal injury settlements, and what formula is used?

Types of Damages Included in Settlement Calculation

There are two types of damages considered when calculating injury settlements. They include:

  • Economic damages (special damages)
  • Non-economic damages (general damages)

Economic Damages

Economic damages are meant to compensate you for the financial losses you incurred due to your injuries. It’s easier to calculate these damages, as the financial losses are usually clear when the following aspects are considered:

  • Medical bills
  • The value of damaged property
  • Lost income due to time away from work
  • Other private payments you made because of your injury

The only caveat of calculating economic damages is keeping track of these expenses, and that’s why it’s essential to safely keep your medical receipts and bills. These damages also include future financial losses, such as future lost income due to extended time out of work and future medical expenses like physical therapy, surgery, and doctor appointments.

Non-economic damages 

These damages compensate you for any suffering you experience that can’t be directly tied to a monetary value. General damages vary from one case to another, but the common ones include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress

Because of their intangible nature, proving non-economic damages can be challenging. Still, keeping good records can help put a value to these damages.

Why Should I Consider Estate Planning After Receiving A Personal Injury Settlement?

After sustaining injuries and property damage due to a collision or any other accident, you’ll likely experience pain from your injuries and emotional distress. Your situation can make it harder for you to file a claim and pursue maximum compensation objectively. After finishing your trail and winning compensation your next thoughts should be to secure your newly gained assets. Life changes in seconds and anything can happen at any time.

A professional and seasoned estate planning attorney can provide valuable legal counsel to help you sort through your options. They are also knowledgeable in the estate process and can guide you through the process to ensure your settlement and assets end up in the person’s hands you’d prefer when you’re gone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a release in a settlement?

A release is a document you sign when receiving the compensation money. By signing it, you release any claims (now and in the future) against the defendant or any other potential defendant who wasn’t involved in the litigation.

How do I pay my medical bills as I wait for my settlement?

The at-fault party’s insurer won’t pay your medical expenses until liability is established. However, you can cover your medical costs using Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance after a collision. Health insurance or medical payments can also cover the expenses after any type of accident.

How do I make up for my lost income until I receive my settlement?

Because the at-fault party’s insurance company won’t pay for lost wages until liability is determined, you may be eligible for short- or long-term disability benefits from your employer. However, you’ll need to reimburse these insurers once you receive your settlement. You can also leverage other employment benefits, such as paid time off, vacation time, or other forms of compensation.

What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. At its core, estate planning is simply a way for a person to make decisions about their assets and care in the event of their death or incapacity. This can include deciding who will inherit your property, selecting a guardianship for any small children, and selecting someone to manage your finances and healthcare decisions. Aligning your estate plan with your values and goals ensures that your wishes are followed after you are gone. In addition, estate planning can also help minimize taxes and legal fees for your loved ones. Start protecting yourself and your loved ones by getting informed and making a plan today.

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