Factors Considered in Evaluating A Personal Injury Case For Settlement

October 20, 2009

By: Sean Peoples

The vast majority of personal injury cases, such as car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, settle before trial. Evaluating what damages the injured person may be able to recover in a trial is crucial in reaching the best settlement. Various factors should be considered when evaluating a personal injury case for settlement. Lawyers use specialized language to describe the types of damages, which we explain below. These factors include: 1) The severity of impact; 2) special damages; 3) general damages; and 4) limitations on life's activities.

The severity of impact should take into account several elements of the accident such as the property damage estimate, photographic evidence, weather conditions and road topography. The type of vehicles involved is also relevant, as well as the vehicle's closing speed, breaking and evidence of skidding.

Special damages may include personal injuries at the accident scene and complaints to the investigating officer. This may encompass whether an ambulance was summoned, or other transportation to the area hospital emergency room. The nature and severity of the injuries sustained should also be considered during settlement negotiation, which consists of follow-up medical care, type and length of treatment or treatment gaps, walk-in clinics, PCP, chiropractic, orthopedic, physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture. Another necessary factor is the amount of medical bills and group health insurance reimbursement claims. Settlement amounts may be influenced by co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions.

General Damages refers to the pain and suffering from date of loss to medical discharge, and future pain and suffering from date of discharge thru life expectancy. Future pain and suffering will be influenced by the doctor's final evaluation and permanency rating.
The final factor to consider in evaluating a personal injury case for settlement is the limitations on life's activities. Although this factor is specific to the individual involved, activities that may be affected are work related tasks, household chores and hobbies.

Sean Peoples is an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney, and is happy to meet victims of accidents in the firm's Hartford, Glastonbury, East Hampton or Bristol offices. Sean is a member of a team of experienced car accident and personal injury attorneys. Feel free to call Sean with any questions you have about car accidents, slip and fall cases, or any other personal injury actions in Connecticut.