What factors affect injury settlements? A former University of Pennsylvania student who was paralyzed from an accident at an off-campus residence has reached an $11.6 million settlement for her injury claims, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Lorna Bernhoft's injury occurred while she was at a student gathering at the residence. She fell through a raised skylight from the fourth floor, which happened to only be covered by flex board and carpet.
For Bernhoft's case and others, what are some factors that affect injury settlement?
- The extent of the injuries. If the injuries in the case are not that severe, the parties may consider settlement as opposed to taking an injury claim to trial. For example, if the medical bills and compensation a plaintiff is seeking for his or her injuries add up to an amount that is far less than the cost of trial preparation, then settling may be a more practical choice.
- Potential damages if the case went to trial. There are many factors to consider in regards to your potential damages if your case actually goes to trial. Depending on the evidence and strength of your case, you'll have to consider what your actual net recovery will be after you pay your attorney fees. In addition, settlement may be more attractive than court awarded damages, as the latter may be tied up in appeal. This is especially important for victims who need money soon.
- Publicity concerns. Unfavorable publicity is something that both sides of a lawsuit often consider. Civil court trials are open to the public, and this includes the media. If the parties would much rather have the matter be resolved privately, then settlement becomes a much more ideal option.
- ADR recommendations. Many injury settlements arise from alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes such as arbitration and mediation. A mediator or arbitrator may help all parties reach a negotiated settlement in a manner much quicker and more cheaply than pursuing litigation would.
Most personal injury lawsuits don't see the inside of a courtroom because of the time and money associated with litigation. However, there are still many factors one should keep in mind when negotiating a settlement for their lawsuit. Make sure that you consider all your options by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Using Arbitration to Resolve Legal Disputes (FindLaw)
- Top 7 Tips for Settlement Talks (FindLaw's Injured)
- Man Settles Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Towels Left in Body (FindLaw's Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Oprah Settles, One Day After Jury Selection (FindLaw's Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)