It’s two weeks after a serious car accident and you still can barely move. Your body is stiff and sore all over. Your medical bills are beginning to pile up. Your doctors have told you that you should get further testing and therapy. If that doesn’t help you may need surgery. You have missed two weeks of work because of your injuries. Worse, you don’t know when you will be able to return to work, or even if you will have a job to go back to. Rent, car payments, telephone and utility bills are due…
Unfortunately, this scary scenario is a common reality for many personal injury victims. You have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, and are now in a very precarious situation. Naturally, you want to know “how much is my personal injury case worth?”
The answer to this question will depend on facts and circumstances specific to your claim. In this article, Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, Brent Wieand, discusses some variables which influence the value of personal injury claims.
To prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that a third party was at fault for causing your injuries. If the defendant(s) is found to be 100% liable you are entitled to be “made whole” and compensated for all of your losses sustained in the accident.
However, in some cases the victim may be partly to blame. Under this scenario, Pennsylvania uses a comparative fault system in which the victim’s monetary award would be reduced by their proportionate share of fault. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you will be barred from recovering money (since you were at fault for the accident).
The severity of your injuries will play a substantial role in determining the value of your claim. Neck and back injuries can range from sprain and strains that heal in a few weeks or months, to lingering and permanent injuries, herniated discs, nerve damage and fractured vertebrae. Naturally, persons with more serious injuries tend to receive more money in an effort to “make them whole” and compensate the victim for pain and suffering.
In some cases, such as if a car accident victim is limited tort, or in cases against a governmental entity, an injury victim can only make a recovery if he meets a certain injury threshold.
Did your injuries stop you from doing something important to you? Did you miss your daughter’s wedding? Are you a marathon runner who can no longer run? Are you unable to take care of or play with your young children?
If so, you can seek compensation for your loss of life’s pleasures. In general, the greater effect an accident has on your life, the more your claim is worth.
The length of time you seek treatment is considered when determining the value of a personal injury claim. If you needed to undergo chiropractic treatment or physical therapy for an extended period of time, you may get a greater settlement or award since this is it is indicative of a serious injury. Further, if you were administered injections, underwent surgery or had some other invasive procedure this will also be factored into the value of your claim.
The value of a personal injury claim will hinge on whether you fully heal or suffer a permanent injury.
Your economic damages will become part of your personal injury claim. This includes lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, outstanding medical bills and liens related to your treatment or other economic damages unique to your situation.
Insurance coverage is often the biggest determining factor in how much money you can recover following an accident. In many cases, the person or business at fault may be uninsured, or not carry enough insurance coverage to pay for the damages he/she caused to you. For example, the minimum required automobile insurance liability coverage in Pennsylvania is currently $15,000 per person. This coverage is simply inadequate to compensate an accident victim who sustained serious injuries. However, in many cases, it may be all that is available.
A lawyer can help you investigate whether there other avenues of recovery, such as Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage or other parties that may share some fault.
To the surprise of many, the venue where your claim is litigated can play a substantial factor when determining the value of your claim. Some jurisdictions are known to be more conservative than others, and in turn, give more conservative jury awards. Thus, where your claim is litigated can have a great impact on settlement negotiations and the jury pool ultimately deciding the amount to award.
The considerations discussed above are some (but certainly not all) factors which may come into play when determining how much money you will get in a personal injury case.
If you are injured as a result of a car accident, medical malpractice or slip and fall, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can fight to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. For a free and confidential case consultation, call attorney Brent Wieand at 1 (215) 666-7777.
***This article is for information purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.***