Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?

Key Takeaways:

  • The compensation you get in a personal injury accident claim can depend on the severity of your injuries.
  • Experts can provide a report on estimated future damages for serious injury cases.
  • Most personal injury cases are settled through negotiation.

The compensation you get in a personal injury accident claim can depend on the severity of your injuries. Generally, the more serious the accident, the higher the damages. However, each personal injury claim is different.

It would be best if you understood how much your claim is worth before agreeing to a personal injury settlement. Ensure you get enough money to pay for your expenses, and don’t sell yourself short. For more information about how much your personal injury case may be worth, contact a personal injury lawyer.

How Do You Calculate Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Damages refer to the losses suffered in a personal injury accident. In a personal injury civil lawsuit, the injury victim seeks compensatory damages. These are supposed to put you in a similar position as if the accident had never happened. Even if it is impossible to erase the losses caused by an accident, damages are a way to compensate you for what you lost.

Compensatory damages can include economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are for the financial losses in an accident. These can include out-of-pocket expenses and estimated future financial costs. Economic types of damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are for losses that don’t have a clear dollar value. Non-economic damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Disfigurement

Can You Get Compensation for Future Damages?

Your compensation can include past medical costs, continuing medical expenses, and future damages. Some injury accidents result in permanent damages and will continue to affect you for the rest of your life. Future damages can include:

  • Future medical costs
  • In-home care
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Pain and suffering

Generally, the injury victim will reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI) before they can estimate future damages. This is the point where your doctors do not think you will get better with more medical treatment.

Expert witnesses may provide a report on the amount of future damages. This can include actuaries, forensic accountants, financial experts, economists, and medical professionals. They may provide a range of future damages based on calculated forecasts. After the experts give their opinions, the jury can decide how much to award for future damages.

Who Is Responsible for Paying Personal Injury Damages?

The person responsible for your injuries is liable for damages. If the accident has multiple causes, anyone responsible may have to pay part or all of the damages. However, it may be the insurance company who ends up paying for your damages.

For example, if the driver who caused the accident has a car insurance policy, the insurance company may pay for your damages up to the maximum policy limit. If your damages are higher than the insurance coverage, the driver may be personally liable for any remaining damages.

If you were partly to blame for the accident, it can take away from the amount of damages you can recover. The damages amount can depend on state law. In contributory negligence states, you can’t recover any damages if you are at all to blame. However, most states are not that harsh. In most comparative negligence states, your damages will be reduced by your level of fault.

For example, after a car accident, you suffer $100,000 in damages. The jury finds you are 10% responsible, and the other driver is 90% responsible. The driver may be liable for $90,000 in damages for your injuries.

Should You Accept a Settlement Offer?

The majority of personal injury cases end with a settlement agreement. A settlement involves releasing the defendant from liability in exchange for payment. You can avoid a trial and know you will get a guaranteed settlement offer. However, you may be able to recover more money with a jury verdict.

Deciding to settle the case or go to trial is difficult. This depends on the timeline, the settlement amount, and the strength of your case. Talk to your personal injury attorney about the settlement negotiation process.

Can the Court Reduce Your Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

In some states, the court may reduce the amount of money the jury awards. Some states have laws that limit the amount of non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, the jury may be unaware of the cap on damages.

For example, a jury awards you $1 million for pain and suffering after a surgery gone wrong. In a state with a non-economic damage cap of $500,000, the judge would reduce the amount of pain and suffering damages.

Can a Personal Injury Attorney Estimate How Much Your Case Is Worth?

An experienced personal injury attorney can give you legal advice to understand the value of your claim. They should be familiar with your type of injury claim, the damages involved, and how much you can expect to recover. 

The right personal injury attorney can also discuss negotiating a reasonable settlement. It is essential to consult a personal injury lawyer to determine what your case is worth.

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