The clients of a personal injury lawyer often ask their attorney this question: What is the average size of a settlement?
Usually, the client intends to focus on the settlement’s dollar value.
The dollar value of a settlement represents the amount of money that a reasonable plaintiff would agree to take, in exchange for dropping the case. Two disputing parties achieve an agreement/settlement by pursuing negotiations.
Plaintiffs that read about a median for settlements do not obtain a figure that equals an average. Instead, the median represents the middle range for a listing that has given different settlements’ values.
Factors affecting average size for settlement
The defendant’s assets: A defendant with few assets has reduced the worth of any possible settlement. Any limits that the defendant’s insurance policy has put on the amount of money that it would give to someone that had filed a claim against the company’s policyholder have the ability to affect the settlement’s size.
The extent of the plaintiff’s losses: the nature and extent of the economic and non-economic damages. The total for the plaintiff’s medical expenses, plus the loss of earnings contribute to the bulk of the economic damages. The plaintiff’s sorrow, anger and fear, along with the disruption of his or her previous lifestyle would contribute to the non-economic damages.
What had been the nature of the defendant’s actions? Had the defendant had acted in an egregious manner? If so, then a court might consider imposing payment of punitive damages, in the event that the case went to trial.
Has the evidence produced absolute proof of the fact that the actions taken by the opposing party (defendant) caused the injury that the plaintiff suffered? Was there a 3rd party that did something that managed to magnify the extent of that particular injury?
Why do the above factors affect the settlement’s size?
An insurance adjuster would have access to information on a defendant’s/policyholder’s assets. By the same token, that adjuster could discover the nature of the policy limits, those that had been placed on the amount of money that could be used to compensate anyone that had filed a claim against that particular policyholder.
Personal injury lawyer in Kitchener knows that an adjuster would not want the insurance company to become the target of a lawsuit, if the evidence suggested that the same company might have to cover the punitive damages, those that could be imposed on the policyholder/defendant. In that case, the evidence would work in the plaintiff’s favor.
Of course, the evidence would be in the defendant’s favor, if it had raised questions about the extent to which the policyholder’s/defendant’s actions had caused the type of injury that was sustained by the plaintiff, and then described in medical records.