Are you seeking compensation through a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit in Arizona? You may receive a settlement to cover your losses. Economic losses include medical expenses, such as doctor visits or physical therapy, and lost wages from having to take time off from work to recover. A settlement can cover other costs, too, both economic and non-economic. The settlement process can be lengthy and challenging depending on your circumstances, and you may want to know how much you could receive at the end of it. While settlement amounts vary from case to case, several contributing factors can help you determine an estimate.
Average Settlement Amounts for Personal Injury Cases
While the settlement amount you could receive depends heavily upon your specific circumstances, you can estimate your payout based on your out-of-pocket expenses and the severity of your injuries. Typically, the more severe your injuries are, the higher your settlement will be. Personal injury settlements can range from $3,000 to $75,000, while many victims have received significantly more. Some settlements can easily total in the $100,000-plus range. Every case is unique. Instead of gauging the value of your case based on averages, speak to an attorney to discuss your specific claim.
Contributing Factors to Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
After you suffer injuries from an accident in Arizona, you can pursue one of two pathways to compensation. You can choose to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona civil court. If you do not reach a settlement with an insurance company, you can pursue a lawsuit after this process. Contact our Glendale personal injury attorney for guidance in an injury claim.
Whether you choose to file with an insurance company or go straight to civil court, several factors can affect your final settlement amount.
- You can claim economic damages for out-of-pocket expenses in your lawsuit or insurance claim. These expenses can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other tangible expenses. The higher your out-of-pocket expenses, the higher your final settlement amount will be.
- The nature and severity of your injuries will also increase your final settlement amount. The more severe your injuries are the more medical treatment and lost income you are likely to have incurred. In addition, more severe injuries could lead to higher non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, permanent disability and impairment, and emotional anguish.
- If you choose to file a claim with an insurance company first, the policy limits can decrease your settlement amount. Some insurance companies do not cover certain expenses and only compensate up to a certain amount. If you suffer from severe injuries and have significant damages, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit instead.
- When dealing with insurance companies, you will receive an initial offer that will likely be much lower than the compensation you could claim. It is not in the insurance company’s best interest to offer you a very high amount upfront. If you accept the first offer, you may receive a lower settlement amount.
- If you file a claim with an insurance company and are attempting to negotiate a settlement amount, having a lawyer represent you can also increase your settlement amount. Your attorney can help you determine if the insurance company is offering you a fair amount and argue skillfully for a higher settlement.
A lawyer in Arizona can review your case and explain which legal route might be right for you. In many cases, a personal injury trial can result in greater compensation than an insurance settlement. Going to trial, however, takes more time and money – and results are not guaranteed. An attorney can represent you during settlement negotiations or a personal injury trial to improve your odds of success.
What Are Noneconomic Damages and What Do They Cover?
Noneconomic damages refer to a victim’s pain and suffering. They are intangible damages rather than tangible ones. Noneconomic damages can be just as devastating to a claimant as economic. Arizona’s civil justice system allows plaintiffs to demand compensation for both types. A noneconomic loss refers to a general loss that any reasonable party might experience during an accident. It does not refer to specific losses, such as the plaintiff’s exact medical bills or legal fees.
- Physical pain or discomfort
- Chronic pain
- Immobility or disability
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Lost quality of life/enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment or humiliation
- Depression or anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of consortium
Noneconomic damages can become part of a plaintiff’s final award in many types of civil claims, including auto accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, intentional torts, defective products, breaches of contracts, wrongful termination, and wrongful death. Find out if you are eligible for pain and suffering damages for your accident by speaking to our attorneys. It is up to a jury to decide whether a plaintiff deserves pain and suffering damages, and if so, how much. A lawyer from our law firm could help you prove your eligibility for noneconomic damages during a trial in Arizona.
Is There a Cap on Injury Settlements in Arizona?
Arizona does not have a cap on how much you can receive through an injury settlement. State lawmakers have ruled damage caps unconstitutional. It is one of only five states that prohibit caps on damages. However, the state may rule punitive damages that exceed a 9:1 ratio to compensatory damages unconstitutional. Punitive damages are not compensable in lawsuits against government entities or public employees.
Other Limits on Financial Recovery
Although Arizona does not have damage caps, your amount of fault for the accident in question could limit your financial compensation during a personal injury claim. Arizona uses a pure comparative negligence law. This law states that the courts can find a plaintiff any degree at fault for the accident and he or she could still recover partial compensation. Even if the civil courts find you 98% responsible for your own injuries, for example, you would still be eligible to obtain 2% of a settlement or judgment award. A percentage of comparative fault, however, will reduce your financial recovery accordingly.
Statute of Limitations to File a Claim
A statute of limitations is a deadline on bringing a claim. Statutes of limitations keep the civil system just for both parties. Without a statute of limitations, an injured client could feasibly wait to bring a claim until the destruction of important evidence that could prove the defendant’s innocence, or until accounts of the incident are fuzzy to eyewitnesses. Statutes of limitations serve to push plaintiffs into making timely and efficient claims to damages.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date the accident happened, according to Arizona Revised Statute 12-542. The clock might begin on the date of injury discovery instead if this differs from the date of the accident. If you miss your statute of limitations, you may no longer be eligible for any compensation. You generally cannot obtain a settlement or jury verdict if you file after the expiration of your time limit. The courts will refuse to hear cases that exceed their statutes of limitations, with a few rare exceptions.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Many victims of personal injury refrain from hiring a lawyer to represent their claim. However, hiring an attorney for your injury or insurance claim can provide numerous benefits, including a chance at a higher settlement amount and a facilitated process.
- Your attorney will have the training and skills necessary to enter into insurance negotiations on your behalf, arguing for a higher settlement to appropriately compensate for your injuries.
- If you are filing a lawsuit, your attorney will have the resources and network necessary to conduct an investigation into your injuries. Your lawyer will collect evidence, interview medical experts, and calculate preliminary damages to argue for a higher settlement amount.
- Your legal expert will advise you on the best course of action for your case, whether you should file an insurance claim or proceed with a lawsuit.