How Much is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
It is important for a personal injury victim to understand what his or her personal injury claim is worth before agreeing to a settlement with an insurance company or pursuing litigation. A good understanding of the amount of compensation to which you are legally entitled allows a victim to recognize a valid settlement offer and to effectively weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing litigation.
If you have sustained any of the following expenses related to your personal injuries then you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses:
- Medical costs: all of your medical costs that were not covered by insurance may be compensable. This includes hospital bills, surgeries, doctors’ visits, nursing care and prescription drug costs, for example.
- Rehabilitative costs: ongoing rehabilitation costs such as nursing home care, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitative costs are reimbursable.
- Out of Pocket Personal Expenses: if you spent money on childcare, cleaning help, drivers or other personal helpers that you did not need prior to you injuries then those expenses are generally compensable. Projected future out of pocket personal expenses may also be compensable.
- Lost Income: lost income because of time out of work, projected future time out of work, reduced hours or an income reduction because of a change in profession caused by your injuries is compensable.
- Pain and Suffering: you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering related to your injuries. Losses of experience such as the inability to attend school, social events and vacations may entitle you to damages. Embarrassment, physical pain and the suffering incurred due to physical disabilities or disfigurements may also be reimbursable.
- Property damage: if you incurred property damage in the accident that led to your personal injuries then you may be entitled to compensation for that damage.
When Damages May be Reduced
The damages described above may be reduced if you were also at fault for the accident. Insurance companies and courts will usually assign your responsibility for the injuries a certain percentage and the defendant’s responsibility for your injuries a percentage of the responsibility. Your damage award will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you were 30% responsible for a slip and fall accident because you were on your cell phone and not paying attention to the uneven steps on which you fell then your potential award would be decreased by 30%.
How to Make an Educated Estimate Regarding Damages
It can be difficult for a personal injury victim to make an educated estimate regarding potential damages without the assistance of a personal injury attorney. Some of the compensable damages are subjective, for example. While pain and suffering may not be easily quantifiable, your attorney has experience with personal injury awards and can help you estimate a reasonable amount of pain and suffering damages.
Therefore, it is important to consult a personal injury lawyer to determine what your case is worth.