Personal injury cases can refer to many things. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash or any other type of accident caused by someone’s negligence, you might be looking for a way to put the accident behind you and move on with your life. However, that can be difficult when you have many medical bills and expenses to take care of.
Victims have every right to seek compensation to cover medical bills, car repairs, and lost wages after a crash. That’s when the question of how much a personal injury case is worth arises.
At Humphrey & Ballard Law, our Riverdale personal injury attorneys understand the importance of getting the compensation you deserve. However, the value of your personal injury case depends on several factors. This article provides insight into the damages you can recover and the factors that affect the value of your case.
Understanding Compensatory Damages in a Riverdale Personal Injury Case
Most victims in a personal injury claim receive compensatory damages. As the name implies, it is financial compensation for your losses. Compensatory damages are in two categories; economic and non-economic damages.
You can also claim punitive damages in some cases. When assessing the value of your case, it helps to understand the difference between each damage.
What Are Economic Damages?
These are the costs and expenses incurred due to your accident. Some economic damages you can seek compensation for include:
- Medical Expenses: This includes ambulance fees, medication and medical devices, hospital bills, and medical procedures. It also consists of every medical cost associated with the accident in your personal injury case. This includes expenses you’ve not incurred yet, like future surgeries.
- Lost Wages: If you’re unable to work permanently or temporarily, you could seek compensation for lost wages. This is common if you had to take weeks or months off work to recover from your injury. Consult an expert economist to calculate your probable future earnings.
- Repair and Replacement Costs: The negligent party must reimburse you if you repaired damages to your properties, like your car. Additionally, include compensation for tasks you can no longer perform like home maintenance, childcare, cleaning, etc.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
These damages cover non-monetary losses and how the injury affected your future, life, and family. Non-economic damages usually include:
- Pain and Suffering: Pain is quite personal and can be substantial in some cases. It is even more common when an injury causes you chronic pain. Then, your daily activities become pretty painful and impossible to perform.
- Loss of Quality and Enjoyment of Life: If you can no longer enjoy the hobbies you used to or live the same active lifestyle you enjoyed before your accident, you can seek compensation.
- Loss of Consortium: This term refers to damage to the relationship between spouses and domestic partners. If there’s a loss of affection and care between spouses and family members due to the accident, you can also seek damages.
This list isn’t exhaustive as there are several more non-economic damages you can seek compensation for after an accident.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages, and they penalize the at-fault party for their negligence. It’s not common to seek punitive damages in a personal injury case.
However, there are times when it happens. Your Riverdale personal injury attorney understands cases when punitive damages are justified and can help you demand it.
There must be wanton and willful misconduct on the side of the at-fault party before seeking punitive damages. This means that the person who caused the injury knew that there was impending danger and neglected to act with reasonable care. An example of a case where victims can file punitive damages is a drunk driving accident.
Factors That Affect the Value of Your Riverdale Personal Injury Claim
Many factors could affect the value of your personal injury case. These include the severity of your injury, medical cost, etc. Below are the elements in detail.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Beyond the monetary cost of treating your injuries, the severity of your injury also affects the value of a personal injury case. You can seek damages for future medical expenses and non-economic damages like loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and more.
Generally, painful, disfiguring, or disabling injuries are usually worth more. So, for example, you can get more compensation for a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury because it will require long-term treatment than cuts and scrapes.
Another element that can affect the value of your personal injury case is the liability. The percentage of fault determines the compensation you get. If the other party is fully responsible for the accident, they are liable for all the damages. However, if you play a part in causing your crash, then the value of your accident will be affected.
Under the modified comparative negligence rule, you can seek compensation if you’re not more than 50% at fault for the accident. Additionally, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of liability in the accident.
For example, if you’re supposed to receive $15,000 in damages, but you’re 25% at fault, your compensation will be minus 25%. This leaves your settlement at $11,350.
The insurance company and the court also consider the steps you took to mitigate your damages after the accident. So, if you were not wearing a seatbelt during the crash, the court might find you partially at fault for your injuries.
A crucial factor that can affect the value of your personal injury case is the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. Do they have ample insurance to cover damages, and what is their policy limit? The answer to this question affects how much you can recover.
For example, suppose you’re involved in a commercial truck accident, and the negligent party has a comprehensive commercial insurance policy. Then there’ll be enough money to cover all your damages.
However, if the negligent party has no insurance or a low liability limit, there might not be enough to compensate you. Sometimes, there’s a recourse like pursuing the negligent party’s personal assets, but that’s not always a viable option.
For instance, if the other party has a $150,000 policy limit and the court awards you $200,000, the insurance company will only pay you $150,000. Although you have the right to pursue the remaining amount, it is a stressful process, and the at-fault party might not have the assets to pay up.
A Riverdale Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Value Your Claim
Legal representation can also affect how much your personal injury case is worth. With an expert attorney, you have a better advantage of receiving higher compensation. On the other hand, the insurance company might offer you less than you deserve if you don’t have an attorney to protect your best interest.
A Riverdale personal injury attorney at Humphrey and Ballard can help you review your case and offer a preliminary assessment of the worth. Contact us for assistance today. We offer free initial consultations.