Q: What elements are needed for a “big” personal injury settlement?
There are many possibilities. Some of the common elements in cases that settle for significant dollar amounts are:
- Severe physical or emotional injuries;
- Strong evidence that one or more defendants are responsible;
- Responsible parties with significant assets, cash, insurance policies or real estate;
- Showing you will proceed to trial if you do not receive a fair settlement;
- A basis to seek punitive damages based on malice, intentional harm, or fraud;
- A defendant with a reputation for endangering or mistreating others;
- Admissible evidence that the Defendant is lying or concealing something important.
Q: Is there a formula to calculate an appropriate settlement amount?
For a small soft tissue case that probably belongs in small claims court, perhaps such a formula can be used as a very crude guideline. In a big case, however, these formulas are useless.
There is no law or jury instruction that prescribes the use of such an arbitrary formula. These formulas are creations that evolved from injured parties, claims adjusters, chiropractors and/or lawyers who tend to handle small soft tissue injury cases. If you go to trial, you must prove your economic and non-economic damages based on evidence. Formulas are not evidence.