Average Personal Injury Settlement in South Carolina

May 23, 2024 / RP Legal

Understandably, anyone would want to know the average personal injury settlement payout before filing a lawsuit.

Our experienced team of Mt. Pleasant personal injury lawyers at Rikard & Protopapas appreciate that concern and want to enlighten you on South Carolina personal injury settlements. Find out what you should know and the factors that affect your claim.

How Average Personal Injury Settlement Figures Can Be Misleading

How much is the average personal injury settlement? Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find reliable numbers for that figure.

A primary reason is settlements are usually confidential. More importantly, each case is unique and involves many factors. Any of those elements can alter the final sum.

As with various financial matters, averages can’t always provide a reliable guideline. For example, you wouldn’t know if you were getting a good deal on a house just by looking at the average cost. You must consider the size, location, time of year you’re purchasing, current economy and many other variables. Likewise, you get a better idea of what you might recover from a personal injury settlement by reviewing your circumstances with our professional assistance.

How Compensation Works in SC Personal Injury Settlements

The value of the average personal injury settlement stems from three primary considerations.

1. Economic damages

Economic damages are your specific financial losses from the injury. These include:

  • Property damage
  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost income and benefits, plus future earning capacity
  • Travel costs for medical care

You will have to prove the specific amount you lost to recover these damages.

2. Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are intangible losses you experience. These include your physical pain and suffering and the emotional impact of how the injury changed your life.

3. Punitive damages

Punitive damages are to punish the defendant for a flagrant violation. The average personal injury settlement will not involve punitive damages, as these are only available when the defendant shows a willful disregard for life or extreme maliciousness.

How To Calculate Your Damages

Our firm will help you calculate a reasonable figure for your personal injury settlement. We start with compiling all bills and invoices for your economic damages. Future losses for earning capacity and medical treatment may require expert witnesses to establish credible figures.

Non-economic damages use a special formula. Courts typically use a daily rate or the multiplier method, and insurance companies follow suit if you can prove what a court would award in the average personal injury settlement. The daily rate pays you a specific amount for each day you deal with your injuries. The multiplier method multiplies the total of your economic damages by a number from 1.5 to 5 and gives you that amount in addition to your economic losses.

Punitive damages also have no set formula and are much harder to determine. Still, calculations involve:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How reckless or willful the at-fault party was
  • Previous cases that might influence a court’s decision

The judge presiding over the case and the demographics of possible jurors can also affect the calculation of punitive damages.

Settlements vs. Awards

A settlement is an agreement for compensation between you and the liable party. The liable party could be an individual or organization, but the average personal injury settlement often involves an insurance company.

An award is the result of a verdict at trial by a jury or judge. While a trial award might seem like the fairest option, court cases are more costly and could present more uncertainty about the outcome.

Most cases don’t require a trial to get a fair result, and a settlement usually gets you paid faster. Once the other side sees that you have ample evidence to support your claim, they often prefer to settle the claim instead of dealing with the expense and potential embarrassment of a trial.

Examples of Factors That Affect the Amount of the Average Personal Injury Settlement

Various factors influence your settlement. These elements include:

  • The type of case: Some claims have strict liability and make a certain party automatically at fault. A common example is that a dog’s owner is always liable for an unprovoked bite that didn’t involve trespassing.
  • The extent of injuries: More severe injuries merit greater compensation than minor scrapes and bruises. A case that involves wrongful death can yield the highest settlements for the family of the victim.
  • The at-fault party: Certain types of cases have restrictions on the amount of compensation you can pursue. These commonly involve suits against a government entity and non-economic damage limits for medical malpractice.

While the average personal injury settlement involves motor vehicle accidents, the results can vary widely considering the preceding factors. For instance, a commercial truck accident is more likely to result in a larger settlement because these companies must carry high insurance policies.

For this reason, you should always review all of the evidence instead of merely accepting the first offer from the party who injured you or an insurance company.

How Inaction Can Reduce Your Compensation

The primary factor lowering the payout for the average personal injury settlement is when a claimant does not take swift action. After an accident, you should promptly seek medical attention to determine the full scope of your injuries. You should also get official estimates of any property damage.

Furthermore, it is important to obtain evidence and testimony as soon as possible. Memories and physical items degrade over time. The sooner you can capture proof of what happened, the stronger your case will be.

Avoid agreeing to any level of fault. That means being especially careful during discussions with the at-fault party or insurer.

Keeping up with all of this while you’re recuperating is challenging. Calling our team as soon as possible helps you safeguard your claim for the maximum settlement.

Fight for a Fair Settlement for Your Personal Injury

While there is truly no such thing as an average personal injury settlement, one thing you can count on is the support of our understanding and experienced professionals to fight for the full recoverable amount.

Contact our team at Rikard & Protopapas in Mt. Pleasant, SC, to schedule a free consultation and start working toward recovering compensation for your injuries. You can reach out online or call us at 803-978-6111.

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