Personal injury settlements have several goals. First, they are meant to fully compensate you for the financial losses you suffer as a result of an accident.
Second, they attempt to make up for the pain and suffering, embarrassment, and disability you have suffered. Of course, this second goal is harder, since most people would give up the money to get their old body back. Unfortunately, you can’t get it back, so money will have to do.
At our firm, we have negotiated countless cases for our clients. One common question we get at the start is, “What’s a typical or average settlement amount?” Though we keep good records on how much our clients get, these numbers don’t really mean anything on their own.
Instead, it is better to take a close look at your own case. If you need help analyzing your case, please contact a Vermont or New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.
Medical Care—Past, Present, and Future
Your lawyer might tell you to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (also known as “MMI,” which means when you have recovered as much as you are likely to) before seeking out a settlement. But if you have suffered permanent injuries, then you will never return to your old body.
In many cases, you will need continuing medical care. For example, someone with a spinal cord injury could need surgery several times in their lives to strengthen the spinal column and keep further damage from occurring. This person could also need an at-home attendant to help them with the tasks of daily living.
Generally, an injured person can receive 100% of their past, present, and future medical care. Include everything, such as surgery, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, rehab, and assistive devices like wheelchairs or crutches.
Future medical expenses can be difficult to determine, and even more difficult to prove. That’s why we bring in the best experts from throughout the U.S. to analyze and evaluate what you are likely to need in the future, as well as the costs. We also bring in economists to tally up what those expenses are likely to equal over the remainder of your expected lifespan.
Lost Wages—Past, Present, and Future
Not every permanent disability keeps someone from working. However, you might need to take a temporary break to recover soon after the accident. And you might never be able to return to your old job.
For example, you might work in construction, which is a demanding but high-paying profession. If you are permanently disabled in your right arm, you might never be able to work construction but could instead answer phones in a call center. Because a call center job probably pays lower wages, you might qualify to receive money to make up the difference going forward.
Like all aspects of damages, it is important to be able to concretely prove what your lost wages or lost earning capacity will be. We will often retain vocational and employability experts that will work with a retained economist so we can prove the nature of these losses in a way that the defendant’s insurance company lawyer will not be able to credibly attack.
Intangible losses include things like inconvenience, emotional distress, physical pain, and bodily limitation. A permanent injury can dramatically reduce a person’s quality of life. For example, if you are permanently paralyzed from the waist down, you can never walk again. This is a serious loss that goes well beyond the cost of your medical bills and lost wages.
Other permanent injuries might not be debilitating but could be embarrassing. For example, you might suffer a permanent burn on your face. This makes you self-conscious and keeps you from going out in public. This is also a permanent injury that warrants compensation.
Determining how much you can receive is a complicated task. As the New Hampshire Supreme Court has stated, “pain and suffering are too subjective” to pin down with precision. But we use our experience to arrive at a fair number.
Before we even enter the courtroom, Sabbeth Law runs focus groups on all aspects of our clients’ cases in the jurisdiction that the case is slated to be tried throughout Vermont or New Hampshire. This is one of the most important and least-utilized practices by many law firms.
The information that comes from these focus groups and mock trials is invaluable, and often surprising, allowing us to tailor our trial strategy for the best possible way to present the intangible harms and losses that can otherwise be difficult to present or difficult for juries to grasp.
Contact Sabbeth Law Today
At Sabbeth Law, we can use our experience to estimate the amount of compensation you can receive for permanent injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation