Millions of people are seriously injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness every year.
In South Carolina, one person is injured in a car accident every nine minutes.
The statistics are shocking, but that’s without considering the hundreds of thousands of people injured every year in motorcycle accidents, accidents at work, devastating truck accidents, and more.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you might be wondering how much you can expect from a personal injury settlement.
We look at whether there’s such a thing as an “average” personal injury settlement, how personal injury settlements are calculated, and how much you could be entitled to.
When Can You Claim a Personal Injury Settlement?
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil claim that allows victims of an accident to claim compensation.
However, a successful case relies on significant evidence. As personal injury claims are based on negligence, the burden of proof falls on the claimant to show that another other party was at fault.
To meet the legal definition of negligence, you must prove four criteria:
- That another party’s negligence or recklessness caused the injury
- That the party owed the individual a duty of care
- That this duty was breached (via a negligent or reckless act)
- That you are suffering monetary injury as a result of the accident.
Let’s break these down in more detail.
How to Prove Negligence in Personal Injury
To be entitled to a personal injury settlement, you need to show that the other party owed you a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others. For example, doctors have a duty of care to look after the health of their patients, but a duty of care applies in many situations. When you’re driving on the road, you have a duty of care to drive safely and obey the law. This means that if you sustained a head injury in a car accident because another driver was intoxicated, a car accident lawyer could argue that they breached this duty and that their negligence — driving while intoxicated — caused the injury.
Some of the most common accidents include birth injury, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, car accidents, work injury, and nursing home abuse.
In proving negligence, you must also have evidence of the costs resulting from the injury. These can include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or potential earnings
- Property damage.
These quantifiable costs can be easily calculated, but you can also claim additional “non-economic” damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment.
Proving all these points requires substantial evidence, including bills and receipts, witness testimony, and police reports. A personal injury lawyer in South Carolina can help you gather evidence to build a strong case.
How Much Is the Average Personal Injury Settlement?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an average personal injury settlement, as every situation is unique. However, the hard costs associated with your injuries can give you an indication of how much your personal injury settlement might be worth.
These costs include any medical expenses incurred and future treatment costs, repair costs for damage to your vehicle, and loss of earnings. This figure forms the basis of your claim. Once this is calculated, an insurance adjuster will apply a multiplier to account for non-economic damages and calculate your total personal injury settlement.
This multiplier is determined on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the formula the at-fault party’s insurance company uses, but ultimately, the bigger the impact of your injury on your life, the more you’ll typically be entitled to.
For example, if you’re in a car accident and have a broken wrist, but it heals after a few months with no further issues, the multiplier will likely be at the lower end of the scale.
However, if you have a traumatic brain injury, or you are left with permanent scars, a life-long disability, or dependent on others to carry out daily tasks, you’ll be entitled to far more.
Another method of calculating pain and suffering is “per diem” — or “for each day.” This involves assigning a monetary amount for each day you suffer.
For example, if you are younger and left disabled after your accident, you’ll typically receive a larger personal injury settlement because you’ll have to live with the consequences of your accident for a long time.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years from the accident date. While this can seem like a long time, it will likely pass quickly, so it’s vital to contact a lawyer as early as possible.
How to Claim a Personal Injury Settlement
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s actions and believe you can file a claim for a personal injury settlement, it’s vital to get in touch with an attorney. Our compassionate personal injury attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina, are dedicated to getting you the compensation and — ultimately — justice you deserve.