The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
How Much Should I Ask For in a Personal Injury Settlement in Brainerd, MN?
August 1, 2020
The average personal injury settlement varies significantly, so it is difficult to know what to ask for. The average dog bite settlement in Minnesota is $38, 302. But a nip which barely breaks the skin is most likely not worth $38,000. On the other end of the scale, if the dog bite was fatal, $38,000 is probably insufficient.
Most people have some experience in this area. As a buyer or seller or both, they have negotiated the price of a used house or guitar or laptop. These haggles usually account for the item’s economic value and the prevailing market conditions (i.e. how much are people willing to pay for that item in that area).
When a Brainerd injury attorney ascertains the value of a personal injury case, the process is a bit different. Yes, economic and market factors come into play. But there are some other things to consider as well. Additionally, in most cases, the other side also has an attorney who is a very good negotiator. So, these talks often take some time.
Calculating Economic Losses
Accident victims are usually entitled to compensation for economic and noneconomic losses. Economic loss calculation is generally straightforward. Most Brainerd injury attorneys look at the police accident report and the medical records.
The incident report usually details the severity of the accident. As mentioned, there is a big difference between a nip and a bite which causes permanent injuries. There is also a big difference between a fender-bender car crash which only causes property damages and a fatal, high-speed collision.
To prepare incident reports, most emergency responders examine the scene and interview witnesses. So, this report is often quite accurate.
But that’s not always true, especially in incidents like vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents. Typically, the victim either does not survive this accident or is too seriously injured to give a statement. As a result, the police accident report only contains one side of the story. And, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) usually sugarcoats the incident.
Therefore, in these cases, a Brainerd injury attorney often must dig deeper. Frequently, attorneys partner with accident reconstruction engineers or other such professionals in these situations.
Medical records are occasionally incomplete as well. But for the most part, these records accurately track things like the patient’s medical condition, treatment, prognosis, and cost.
Health care is one of the most heavily-regulated industries in the country. As a result, there is a lot of bureaucratic red tape, especially from various privacy laws. So, these records are not always available to the general public. A good Brainerd injury attorney knows how to cut through this red tape and quickly obtain these records. The faster these documents reach a lawyer’s office, the more time an attorney has to evaluate them.
Brainerd Injury Attorneys and Calculating Non Economic Losses
Economic loss calculation is basically a science, and noneconomic loss calculation is basically an art. Non Economic losses include intangible damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship).
Most lawyers use a multiplier to calculate noneconomic losses. They multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, depending on the facts of the case, as outlined above, and some intangible factors, which are discussed below.
These preliminary calculations are a starting point for settlement negotiations. If an attorney demands $100,000, the insurance company usually counters with a much lower offer. If these two figures are not too far apart, an early negotiated settlement is usually possible. But frequently, the insurance company responds with a low-ball offer or denies liability altogether. So, most cases do not settle quickly.
Fine-Tuning the Amount
Before they negotiate a price for something like a guitar, most people do some research and determine what amount a used guitar will probably fetch at that time. Brainerd injury attorneys do basically the same thing.
Venue is a good example. Some counties have rather conservative residents who often gravitate toward insurance companies. Other countries have rather liberal residents who often side with accident victims. In some cases, these differences are almost inconsequential, In other cases, these differences could mean thousands of extra dollars.
Punitive damages sometimes come into play as well. Juries can award these additional damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor intentionally disregarded a known risk. Punitive damages are especially common in medical malpractice and defective product claims. In other words, this final element goes back to the facts of the case, which were examined above.
Personal injury settlements vary from case to case. Depending on the case facts and circumstances surrounding your injury, a Brainerd personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine how much your case is worth. A good attorney will take into consideration the economic, the non-economic, and other damages you have incurred as a result of the injury when arriving at a fair amount. They will also protect your rights through the course of the case proceedings, and fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Reach Out to a Thorough Personal Injury Lawyer in Brainerd
It can be incredibly frustrating when you or a loved one has to suffer personal injuries due to the fault or negligence of another. Your physical and mental health as well as finances can take a turn for the worse. You can be sure that the insurance companies will do whatever they can to keep you from getting the financial compensation you deserve. As you can see, the personal injury claims settlement process is multifaceted and complex. We’re here to help. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd injury attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. at (855) 976-2444. We routinely handle matters in Crow Wing County and nearby jurisdictions.