If you’re in a personal injury incident that leaves you with severe injuries, you may be looking to receive compensation for damages. Let’s say the insurance company of the liable party makes you an initial offer that sounds like a good amount of money. Should you take it? The truth is that it is very important to put value to your personal injury case, so you are not lowballed into accepting much less compensation than you could be eligible for.
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What Factors Go Into Determining Value of Personal Injury Cases?
There are quite a few factors that go into determining the value of personal injury cases. It does not boil down to just the damages and what they’re worth. Some of the most common factors that are reviewed to determine the worth of a personal injury case include:
Liability and Negligence
This is the foundation of any personal injury case. Establishing liability and negligence is crucial in determining the value of the case. The more evident the other party’s negligence is, the stronger your case becomes. How can you prove liability and negligence? By collecting lots of evidence, whether photographs, police records, medical records, eyewitness accounts, and more.
Type and Severity of Injuries
A personal injury case involving injuries of broken bones compared to a personal injury case involving a traumatic brain injury will most likely have a different value. The type and severity of the injuries from the personal injury incident can ultimately add to the value of the case.
The duration of your recovery, treatment expenses, and how the injury has impacted your life is taken into consideration when determining the value of your personal injury claim. Because medical expenses can also vary in terms of the type of injury, and whether you will need medical treatment for a longer period of time is also a factor that is considered.
Loss of Income and Earning Capacity
Have your injuries left you unable to return to work permanently or for a long period of time? Do you have to provide for a household? Loss of income and earning capacity can be used to decide the value of your case.
Pain and Suffering
The state of California does acknowledge non-economic damages as well. Pain and suffering, which highlights emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish that resulted from the accident and injuries can be taken into consideration to add to the value of a personal injury case.
Insurance coverage can also play a key role when it comes to determining the value of a case. Insurance policies do have coverage limits, and the available amount can impact the amount of compensation you receive. If the liable party does not have sufficient insurance coverage, you would need to file a lawsuit seeking personal judgment. However, that would not mean you will get the full amount of damages owed.
What Compensation Can You Receive in a Personal Injury Case?
One of the first details addressed in the development of a personal injury claim is the compensation you can obtain. Many people filing a personal injury claim may not be familiar with what damages can be included in a claim. And if you are talking with the insurance adjuster of the liable party, it is likely they will not tell you everything that could count as damages either.
When it comes to what can be compensated in a personal injury case, some damages include:
Many people are already familiar with the notion that they can receive compensation for economic damages. However, there are some out-of-pocket expenses that many injured individuals are not aware could count as economic damages. These include in-home nursing care, physical therapy, counseling and other mental health therapies, travel expenses to and from medical appointments, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and medical devices as needed.
Now we move on to lesser-known territory. In fact, not many people are aware they could be compensated for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Other non-economic damages that could be compensated include physical pain, scarring and disfigurement, emotional trauma, disabilities, mental anguish, and a diminished quality of life.
Punitive damages are rarer in personal injury cases. In fact, not many personal injury cases qualify for them. In the case of these types of damages, you must file a lawsuit and take the liable party to court for a jury to award these damages. Punitive damages are awarded on the basis of a defendant’s conduct, so you must prove the defendant’s conduct met all legal requirements to justify the award.
What are Some Defenses that Could Lower the Value of My Claim?
There are some defenses that could be used to lower the value of a personal injury claim. They include:
An insurance adjuster may seek to pin the blame on you for the accident. Shifting some blame to the injured victim of the accident can be used to lower the value of compensation. If the insurance company is able to prove some fault to you, this can lower the amount of compensation. For example, if you ask for $10,000 in damages and are found 30% at fault, your compensation amount is reduced to $7,000.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Another often-used defense to lower the compensation amount awarded to an injured party is that of a failure to mitigate damages. An injured individual has the duty to take steps to prevent damages from becoming worse. Delaying seeking medical treatment or failing to follow a doctor’s instructions is one common form of evidence used in the defense of failure to mitigate damages.
In order to combat these defenses, there are a few things you should do. First, never admit fault after an accident. It is best to let your personal injury lawyer handle all communications between you and an insurance company. Working alongside an expert personal injury attorney will give you peace of mind, as they will be doing everything in their power to fight for your claim and compensation.
What Can I Do To Help the Value of My Case?
As mentioned previously, keep all communications between you and the insurance company of the other party strictly to a minimum. Let the personal injury attorney you work with handle all communications as needed. Also, be sure to document evidence of the incident for future reference and to help prove negligence and recklessness on behalf of the other party.
If you are looking to file a personal injury case, but are unsure of the value of the claim or how to go about possibly obtaining compensation, schedule a consultation with a San Diego personal injury lawyer. Oftentimes, first-time consultations are free, and you can discuss your case with a legal expert. After finding the personal injury attorney you’d like to represent you, it is crucial you are completely open with them, let them handle any communications regarding the case, and ask questions if you are confused about anything regarding the personal injury claim.
An expert San Diego personal injury attorney will be ready to answer your questions and fight for your deserved compensation!