What Does an Injury Settlement Look Like?

The ideal scenario for a personal injury attorney is almost always to reach a settlement for their client. Notably, this is the most likely positive outcome. You'd be right to want to know what a settlement would look like if you're successful so let's examine the issue.

Who Pays?

The normal scenario is that a defendant's insurance provider will pay the settlement. Uninsured defendants are usually hard to settle with for two reasons. First, they often don't have the money. Second, if they do have the money to pay, they might not have the good judgment to settle a losing cause. That would likely force you to sue.

Also, a defendant who wants to keep their insurance usually has to accept the company's determination. They can fight it, but the insurance company will cut them loose and let them eat the loss if they can't win in court. Defendants almost never let this happen because it defeats the purpose of carrying insurance.

How Much Will They Pay?

A personal injury attorney will send a demand package to the defendant or their insurer. It outlines expected damages for injuries, pain and suffering, lost property, and lost earnings. A personal injury lawyer may also demand compensation for their client's loss of enjoyment of life, spousal affiliation, and parenting ability.

Insurance companies employ professionals called adjusters. These are people who assess the validity of the claim and pay it if it checks out. Once the claim proves valid, the adjuster will study actuarial tables from the company. These provide data about similar settlements from people in your part of the country. An adjuster will use the data to provide a counteroffer if they believe the claimant's number is too high.

Your claim of damages is a cash value arising from all of the wrongs you've suffered. If you had to pay $100,000 in medical bills, that would go into the claim. Pain and suffering follow a multiplier based on how long-term the issues will be. Traditionally, this is a 1.5 to 5 multiple against the physical damages claim. If you suffered a life-altering injury in the $100,000 example, you could push for $500,000 for pain and suffering.

Contributory Negligence

There's one last calculation. It involves how liable the defendant is. If the claimant contributed to their injuries partially through their negligence, the defendant is not on the hook for that. If the defendant was 80% liable for $100,000 in medical bills, they'd pay $80,000.


If there is a small settlement, the insurer may pay a lump sum. However, many insurers structure big settlements to pay smaller amounts annually.

To learn more about the process, contact a personal injury attorney near you.