DC Catastrophic Injury Settlements

Whether a catastrophic injury case in DC settles during litigation depends on a number of factors, such as the strengths and weaknesses of the case and a determination of damages.

During the course of litigation, there may be an issue or a legal issue that develops, which may make one party’s position stronger or weaker than either party anticipated. Once the issue comes up, it is best to advise the client of the issue and discuss the best option moving forward, which may include settling. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney can help to make any determinations in their case regarding settlements pre-trial.

Determining Whether to Settle

There are a number of factors, like potential damages, that go into determining whether a settlement is in the client’s best interest. A case may seem straightforward initially, but issues may come up, which can make the parties less certain of the outcome. It is important at that time to evaluate whether the matter should go to trial when comparing the cost of litigation versus the likely benefit.

Damages to Consider

In DC, There are several types of damages to keep in mind when considering potential settlements. There is no statutory cap on damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are damage awards that are designed to punish the person or entity that is at fault, they are allowed in limited cases. It is rare, if at all, that a person receives punitive damages in a catastrophic injury case. Punitive damages are calculated based on the court’s instruction to the jury.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are allowed in a catastrophic injury case. It is a damage award that compensates the victim for actual and anticipated expenses, such as the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and other expenses that may have occurred as a result of the accident or injury.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are a category of damages that are more subjective. They are often attributed to pain and suffering and/or inconvenience suffered by a catastrophically injured person, among other factors.

Economic and non-economic damages are presented through evidence and testimony of the plaintiff and the jury is free to award any weight or credibility that it believes is appropriate. Both economic and non-economic damages are calculated by the jury and a jury is free to award all or none of the damages presented by the plaintiff.

Role of an Attorney

An experienced attorney will advise the client of the issues that come up during litigation and discuss with the client how those issues may affect the outcome of a jury trial. The attorney will rely on their knowledge, training, and experience in making any recommendations about the likely outcome should the matter proceed to trial.

A person should trust their attorney throughout the litigation process and work with their attorney. The attorney should aid the client in understanding and evaluating the issues that arise so that the client can be best informed to reach a decision with regard to a settlement.