When you’re hurt in a personal injury accident, you may wonder how much your case is worth. Since each case is unique, there is no simple answer, as there is a multitude of factors that affect a claim’s value. A personal injury lawyer will determine an estimate of your personal injury case’s worth and potential taxes by looking at the following:
First, liability (fault) must be assessed because California is a “comparative negligence” state. If you are partially liable for the incident that caused your injury, the amount you receive in a settlement or at trial will be reduced by the percentage you are determined to be at fault. In other words, if you are 100% to blame, your claim is likely not worth anything. For instance, if you are in a car accident and found 40 percent at fault, you will receive $30,000 of a $50,000 settlement or award.
Another factor that can impact your percentage of liability and ultimately reduce your claim’s value is if you have given an insurance company a recorded statement. Many insurance adjusters use recorded statements to attempt to trip-up claimants and get them to say things that will hurt their claim.
Damages refer to the economic and non-economic losses you have incurred related to your injury. When an injury is caused by another person’s negligence, you have the right to recover compensation to make you “whole,” or in the same place or condition, you were in prior to the accident. If you have not suffered any physical or financial losses after an accident, then there is no case.
The extent of your damages can be used to assess how much your case is worth. An attorney will consider the following questions when calculating an amount to demand from an insurance company:
More serious, incapacitating, or permanent injuries can require more extensive treatments, which can increase the damages or a case’s value. Another important element is causation. It’s not enough to simply assert that your injury must be compensated for, there must be documentation to prove that the at-fault party directly caused you harm. Insurance companies can fight causation if you did not seek out medical attention immediately after the accident.
Insurance coverage can play a huge role in your financial recovery. Sometimes the amount of money you are owed for your losses exceeds the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits, which can decrease your case’s value. It is possible to collect personal injury damages beyond the amount the insurance company will cover, but only in a limited amount of cases, and it is not easy.
If the liable party does not carry any type of liability insurance, the only option is to sue them personally. The value of your case will then hinge on the responsible individual’s personal assets, such as cash, investments, or real estate that can be used as compensation.