How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in New York?
Personal injury cases encompass a wide variety of injuries and losses. In many cases, the parties agree to settle instead of pursuing a civil trial. The settlement may be calculated based on numerous complex legal factors.
Some of the most significant influences on settlements are damages. Your damages are your losses and injuries, both economic and non-economic, that you want to be compensated by the defendant. Cases with very high damages often end with higher settlements. The overall strength of your case plays a significant role as well, and cases with stronger supporting evidence are more likely to receive larger settlements. You should discuss the various factors that might increase or decrease a potential settlement with your attorney.
If you have found yourself in a personal injury case and need your damages covered, our New York personal injury attorneys can help you. For a free case review, and to discuss settlement negotiations, call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.
Calculating Settlements Based on Damages in New York Personal Injury Cases
Damages may be economic and reflect the actual amount of money a plaintiff lost because of the defendant’s actions. Damages might also be non-economic and represent a loss felt by the defendant that did not necessarily come at a financial cost. Punitive damages are a separate category of damages designed to punish defendants for bad behavior.
In general, the greater your damages are when you begin your case, the greater your settlement should be. Punitive damages may help to drive up a settlement because New York does not place limits on punitive damages. Our Bronx personal injury lawyers can accurately calculate your damages and negotiate the highest settlement possible.
Your economic damages are the losses and injuries that came at an actual monetary cost. It is arguably easier to determine the value of these damages because they tend to come with receipts. Things like medical bills, the cost to repair or replace property, lost income from missing work, and various other expenses may be added to your economic damages.
The more economic damages a plaintiff experiences, the greater their personal injury settlement is likely to be. Our Queens personal injury lawyers can help you tally up all your economic damages so we can accurately predict what kind of settlement you can argue for. A good settlement should cover as much of your economic damages as possible so you are not left with any outstanding debts.
Non-economic damages are somewhat more complicated because they are more subjective and open to interpretation by the parties. Non-economic damages are injuries or losses the plaintiff experiences, but these losses do not actually cost any money. Common examples include mental and physical pain and suffering.
Similar to economic damages, the more non-economic damages you can claim, the greater your personal injury settlement is likely to be. However, we must be able to back up our claims of non-economic damages and demonstrate how they have impacted your daily life.
There are various ways to calculate these damages, and you can expect some pushback from the defendant when you claim these damages. One method is the multiplier method, in which we multiply the total value of your economic damages by a number between 1 and 5. The more severe your non-economic damages, the higher the multiplier.
Punitive damages are separate from the other damages mentioned above because they are not designed to compensate plaintiffs. Instead, these damages are meant to punish defendants and hopefully deter future bad behavior.
Typically, punitive damages are not awarded unless a plaintiff specifically requests them in their complaint. Even if the plaintiff wins their case, punitive damages are not guaranteed. They must prove the defendant acted with malice or a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others. Their behavior must be especially outrageous or heinous to warrant punitive damages.
If punitive damages are on the table, you may be able to argue for much greater compensation in a settlement. In New York, punitive damages have no caps, and they can be remarkably high. To avoid the possibility of a staggering verdict on punitive damages, we may convince the defendant to pay a generous settlement instead.
Factors That May Increase or Decrease a Personal Injury Settlement in New York
The outcome of settlement negotiations does not depend on only your total damages. Numerous factors and details surrounding your case might influence your settlement. Our Brooklyn personal injury attorneys can help you use the details of your case to figure out what kind of settlement is possible.
Factors That Might Increase a Settlement
Things like high medical bills or the cost to replace a totaled vehicle can help drive up the value of a settlement. Similarly, extreme non-economic damages may also lead to a greater settlement in your personal injury lawsuit. For example, serious mental health issues or very painful bodily injuries may provide more leverage in settlement talks.
You should also take into consideration permanent injuries. After being injured, some plaintiffs experience things like permanent disabilities or disfigurement. Because these injuries will never fully recover, their damages tend to be higher.
If your lawsuit has a lot of strong evidence backing up your claims, this might incentivize a defendant to make a more generous settlement offer. The greater your odds of success, the more likely you will have all your damages covered. The defendant might want to avoid paying for costly damages by offering a higher settlement.
Factors That Might Decrease a Settlement
In some cases, the plaintiff shares some blame for the accident and their injuries. According to CVP Law § 1411, plaintiffs can still recover damages if they are contributorily negligent. However, the damages they can recover will be reduced in proportion to their share of responsibility. If a plaintiff is partly to blame for their injuries, the defendant might want to offer a smaller settlement because they are not 100% liable. Our Long Island personal injury attorney can help you prove you do not share any blame for your injuries.
An overall lack of evidence can also drive the final settlement amount down. It will be difficult to prove the defendant is liable in a trial with scant evidence. In that case, the defendant may offer a lower settlement because they know they have a better shot at winning in court.
Call Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers for Guidance
A settlement can help plaintiffs get their damages covered quickly and without the headache of a trial. Our Manhattan personal injury lawyers can help you maximize your potential settlement. For a free case evaluation, call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.