“How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?”

One of the most common questions attorneys hear from clients is “how much is my case worth?” This question is applicable to all types of personal injury claims, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or anything else that would involve some sort of tortious conduct.

It is important to note that attorneys by law are not allowed to express a definite opinion as to the value of a personal injury claim. While there are websites or some attorneys that claim to be able to do so, such a thing is neither possible nor practical. Determining the value of a personal injury claim involves evaluating many factors – none of which are determinative. Ultimately, the amount of compensation a victim is entitled to will depend on the severity of the injuries, property damages, and any offsets because of the claimant’s negligence. The following are some of the factors considered by judges, juries, or arbitrators to determine how much a case is worth.

The severity of bodily injuries

Bodily injury refers to physical harm that a person suffers due to an accident. These injuries can include bruises and cuts to broken bones, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injury. The more serious and long-lasting the injuries are, the higher is the likelihood of a higher settlement. Nevertheless, small injuries are equally important to the settlement value of a case because they can be used by biomechanical experts to show how the accident occurred or other invisible injuries. After any type of accident, make sure to immediately photograph any bodily injury, such as bruises, lacerations, scars, cuts, burns, etc., so you can preserve the evidence. Many of these injuries will quickly begin to heal by themselves; and without concrete evidence, chances of recovering monetary damages could be limited.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering includes emotional and psychological harm, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder suffered because of the accident. These injuries are often referred to as non-economic damages and often comprise the bulk of a recovery in an accident. Pain and suffering are typically proven through the testimony of the accident victim by explaining the pain and trauma caused by the accident. Most accident victims will keep a daily journal with a detailed account of the emotional experiences throughout the day. For example, if the accident has caused a burn scar on the victim, then the person would document the shame or embarrassment of going in public with such a scar. Keeping such a detailed log will bolster the pain and suffering portion of the damages.

Past and future medical expenses

Costs associated with medical treatments following an accident can be expensive and will add up quickly, especially if the injuries are severe or require ongoing care. Typical medical expenses may include emergency room visits, hospital stays, imaging, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and more. If the victim has suffered a permanent disability, then there will be home modifications to accommodate the person. These types of medical expenses are not only recoverable for what has been spent to-date, but also for anticipated future expenses expected to arise as a result of the accident.

Lost income or other forms of compensation

An accident victim may recover loss of income, promotion, bonus, or any other type of compensation as a result of the accident. Unlike other types of compensation, this type of recovery is subject to federal and state taxes. Nevertheless, if the loss of earnings can be verified by an employer or through wage statements, then they can be recovered as part of the settlement.

Property damages

The cost of repairing or replacing property in an accident can also be recovered. These types of property damage can include damage to a vehicle, motorcycle, truck, or any personal items inside of those vehicles. In accident cases, property damages can be an important factor in determining the value of a case because they show the severity of the accident. Additionally, the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property can be substantial.

It is not merely enough to claim severe injuries or pain and suffering; you must be able to provide proof or evidence of these losses. If a personal injury victim is unable to substantiate the damages being claimed, he or she will not be able to recover them. To recover compensation, one must be able to substantiate the losses with evidence. If the accident victim is unable to do so, then the person will not have a claim and the person may even be flagged or investigated for fraud.

Finally, it is important to note that the value of a personal injury case can also be influenced by other factors not related to the injuries or damages. These factors include the jurisdiction where the case is filed, the skill of the plaintiff’s attorney, the insurance company involved, the testimony of witnesses, opinions rendered by experts, and other facts of the case. A personal injury attorney can help evaluate these factors to determine and guide you in the right direction.

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