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A Jury Award: Determining a Reasonable Settlement

We often see newspaper headlines reporting large jury awards. These are newsworthy because they involve large amounts of money, but what seems lost in these sensationalized reports are the serious injuries, with associated severe pain, suffering, and income loss that precipitated the result. In truth, large settlements or jury awards make up an extremely small percentage of cases. Every case is different and must be evaluated on the facts. Many times large results are reduced on appeal or in a negotiated settlement following the jury verdict. More frequently, a jury will award less than the plaintiff is seeking.

In this case, a woman was stopped at a stop sign, she was rear-ended by another woman causing her neck and back injuries. Apparently, the driver of the second vehicle made no attempt to apply the brakes. She was so distracted that she didn’t notice the victim had stopped. As a result, the victim suffered lumbar and cervical strains. At trial, the defense argued that a spider in the vehicle startled the woman and caused her to unintentionally release her foot from the brake. Although the jury found the defendant guilty, they felt the plaintiffs injuries were much less than $150,000, awarding her $7,124 to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income.

There are numerous variables which determine the value of a settlement. You are entitled to recover reasonable medical expenses – prescriptions, doctor and hospital expenses, physical therapy – incurred as a result of accident. If you miss work due to the accident, you are entitled to recover lost wages. A victim may also be entitled to recover lost wages for time missed due to treatment for injuries.

A jury is more likely to be sympathetic to your claim if they believe you are presenting an accurate picture of the accident and your injuries. Many injuries arising from auto accidents are subjective, such as “my neck is sore and stiff.” It is difficult to objectively verify these injuries since muscle strains or sprains cannot be seen on an x-ray. An injury may look exaggerated when there are no objective findings to support the injured person’s complaints. Did the plaintiff in this case get a fair settlement? Did she accurately depict what happened and her resulting injuries? Did enough time pass to be assured the plaintiff will not suffer from injuries that have not surfaced yet?

Might a case like this be a viable candidate for lawsuit funding? Possibly. Any plaintiff can pursue litigation funding. The size of the lawsuit does not determine whether a plaintiff is financially strapped for cash. The largest determining factor is the significance of the accident’s economic impact on the plainitiff’s ability to pay his/her bills and how long the case will take to resolve. That a case is considered “small” may create an inability to fund or may require the funding to be on the “small side”, but funding may still be possible. Even a small lawsuit cash advance in a small case may prevent a plaintiff from settling too soon for too little compensation.

Lawsuit Financial is able to provide a timely (within 24 to 48 hours of approval) cash advance to allow litigation plaintiffs to meet their financial obligations while awaiting case resolution. There is no risk; repayment is conditioned upon the outcome of the case. If you lose the case; you keep the money, free of charge. Can’t work because of your injuries? That is not a problem. We approve or deny pre-settlement funding based upon the strengths and weaknesses of your case; good/bad credit, employment/ unemployment doesn’t matter. If approved, funding is available within 24–48 hours. Applying for lawsuit funding is an easy, no hassle, no risk way to pay your bills timely in the event that your lawsuit is not.