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/ Videos/ How Do You Determine a Fair Settlement?
When we’re asked the question, “How do you decide what a fair amount is to settle my case?,” there are a number of factors that really go into this.
One is what is the amount of medical bills will be. Another is what the amount of lost income is. And importantly, of course, is what the future is going to hold—future medical bills, future income loss, and any kind of permanent impairment of function.
Another thing to look at is how old is the person who has been injured and how long will they be suffering from these injuries. One thing that many people don’t realize is that a settlement or verdict is supposed to last for a lifetime. If you’re a young person and you’ve had a permanent injury, then the verdict is supposed to compensate you for the next 40 or 50 years of suffering from that injury. You can see from that that a case in which a young person has an injury could end up being a very substantial settlement or verdict because of the length of time they will be suffering from that injury.
There are several databases that are available in which we can look to see what types of injuries have generated certain settlements or certain verdicts.
Another important factor is where is the case going to be filed, and where is the case going to be tried? A jury in Indianapolis, Indiana might give one amount, but a jury in New York City or in Los Angeles, California might give a totally different amount. You have to know where your jury is going to be and how those juries have reacted to certain cases in the past, and that all goes into figuring out what a fair settlement would be.
In the end, though, it’s the client who decides what amount should be accepted or rejected. The lawyer’s job is to give the client advice. The lawyer would say, “Here’s what I think is reasonable. Here’s what I think is fair.” But the client, in the end, is always the one to make the decision as to what’s going to be accepted or not.