How Much is a Permanent Injury Worth?

permanent injury settlement amounts

A permanent, life-changing injury turns everything upside down. Your body and mind may never fully recover. Bills pile up. Work becomes difficult, if not impossible. The activities you used to enjoy no longer bring joy.

We get it. And we’re here to help.

At our firm, we’ve spent decades fighting for fair compensation for those catastrophically injured in New York due to another’s negligence. We know a permanent injury settlement can’t erase what happened. But it can offer some security after immense loss.

So what determines a fair payout? In short – how much has your life changed from the harm done? Were your dreams taken away? Have daily tasks become exhausting and painful? Is your family under financial strain that won’t go away?

In this guide, we’ll break down what goes into permanent injury settlements so you understand what your case could be worth. But more importantly, we want you to know you don’t have to handle this alone. We’re here to stand up for you – and get you the maximum recovery possible.

What Qualifies as a Permanent Injury?

A permanent injury is one that causes irreversible damage and lifelong impairment.

Some common examples include:

  • Amputations: Losing a hand, arm, foot, leg, or parts of limbs. This requires prosthetics and therapy to regain mobility.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Severing the spinal cord leads to paralysis in areas below the injury site, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia. This causes loss of function, bladder/bowel issues, and reduced independence.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Brain damage causing impaired cognition, communication issues, personality changes, seizures, loss of senses, and paralysis. Effects range from mild to fully disabling.
  • Internal organ damage: Harm to organs like the kidneys, liver, or lungs through trauma. In some cases, this requires organ transplant or lifelong medical care and monitoring.
  • Severed nerves: Nerves severed in the spinal cord or limbs. This impairs sensation and movement depending on the nerves affected.
  • Severely disfiguring burns: Burns requiring multiple skin grafts and surgeries. This often entails emotional trauma from permanent scarring and disfigurement.

Permanent injuries radically decrease your quality of life. Activities you once took for granted—like dressing yourself, working, socializing, or pursuing hobbies—become difficult or impossible. The emotional trauma can be just as severe.

But how do insurance companies and courts place a dollar figure on these life-changing impacts? Let’s explore the key factors.

What Determines the Settlement Amount?

Many complex factors determine what a permanent injury settlement will be. The at-fault party’s insurance company will assess how much your claim is worth based on:

Type and Severity of Injury

More catastrophic injuries that greatly reduce functioning warrant larger payouts. Doctors will assign a permanent disability rating indicating how much normal capability was lost. For example, an above-the-knee amputation that confines you to a wheelchair has a very high rating. Milder injuries like partial loss of vision or hearing have lower ratings.

Medical Expenses

The settlement must cover the medical costs already incurred from the injury as well as the expenses predicted for your future care. This includes hospitalization, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, assistive devices like wheelchairs, and more. Ongoing costs add up over your lifetime, especially for serious injuries like paralysis or brain damage. We work with doctors to fully prove future costs.

Lost Income and Reduced Earning Capacity

If you can no longer work at your occupation, the settlement should cover your lost wages. Even if you recover enough to work again, your disability may prevent you from earning as much as you previously could. Vocational experts can assess how your capability was reduced to project lost earning capacity over your career.

Pain and Suffering

No dollar amount can erase your physical pain and emotional anguish. But monetary compensation should acknowledge your suffering. This includes physical pain, loss of normal life enjoyment, depression or grief over disabilities, and relationship struggles stemming from injuries.

Permanent Injury Settlement Amount Examples by Injury Type

To determine what constitutes fair compensation, it helps to look at the general settlement ranges juries have awarded for different permanent injuries:

  • For an amputation, settlements can vary widely from thousands of dollars up to millions, depending on the extent of disability. Factors like the limb involved and impact on mobility cause significant variance.
  • For a severe burn injury covering a large portion of the body, settlements often range from the tens of thousands to millions of dollars. The exact amount depends on severity, required surgeries, and level of disfigurement.
  • For a traumatic brain injury, settlements range dramatically from thousands to millions of dollars based on the cognitive deficits and personality changes caused. More severe brain damage garners larger amounts.
  • For spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia, settlements typically range between hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on age, paralysis extent, and medical complications.
  • Loss of vision or hearing brings settlements anywhere from tens of thousands to over a million dollars, depending on partial or complete loss.

The specific circumstances of your injury and resulting hardship will determine where your settlement amount falls within these broad ranges. An experienced personal injury attorney thoroughly considers those unique factors and will work to maximize settlement value.

Maximizing Your Injury Settlement

While money can’t undo a permanent injury, sufficient compensation makes recovery and stability possible.

To help secure a fair settlement within these ranges, follow these steps:

  1. Work with a dedicated personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer intimately familiar with insurance negotiations and valuation factors can optimize your claim’s presentation. They know how to compile persuasive evidence and aggressively counter lowball offers.
  2. Closely follow medical advice. Completing all prescribed treatment and therapy, even if arduous, shows you’re mitigating damages. Gaps in care give insurers grounds to minimize the settlement.
  3. Get expert assessments. Evaluations of your disability, lost income, and care needs from respected specialists lend credibility when projecting costs. Vocational analyses also counter insurer doubts about reduced earning capacity.
  4. Thoroughly document suffering. Keep detailed records of how your injury affects your daily life, relationships, and emotional health. Statements from family members also help capture your suffering. Photos or videos clearly depicting disability or disfigurement enhance claims.
  5. Prove liability unequivocally. Police reports, eyewitnesses, expert accident reconstructions, telemetry data, and additional evidence establishing negligence leave no room for evasion of responsibility.
  6. Demand early and firmly. Beginning settlement talks promptly with a well-supported demand backed by your attorney sends a message you are serious about maximizing compensation.

At Held, Held & Held, our attorneys excel in these areas to obtain results at the very top of settlement ranges. We offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation to advise how we can fight for the compensation you need to move ahead. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Don’t Accept an Unfair Settlement – Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today

At Held, Held & Held, our family-owned law firm has 100 years of experience successfully fighting for maximum settlements for those gravely injured. We know exactly how to prove your case, counter insurance company tactics, demonstrate your total losses, and negotiate tenaciously on your behalf.

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic permanent injury, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with our compassionate legal team. We’ll advise you on your options for pursuing fair compensation so you can focus on healing.

Don’t wait – you have a limited time to file a claim. Contact us to take the first step toward getting justice. The sooner we build your case, the better your chances of securing the maximum settlement. We’re committed to helping you move forward.


Author Bio

Edward Held is the founding member of Held, Held & Held, a family-owned multi-practice law firm in Brooklyn, NY. With more than 40 years of experience, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including personal injury, real estate, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and estate law.

Edward received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School and is a former President of the New York Law School Alumni Association Board of Directors. He has received numerous accolades for his work and has been admitted into the Supreme Court of the United States and the New York State Courts.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Justia | Google