When trying to determine if filing a personal injury claim is the right next step for you, it’s likely that the value of your claim will be a determining factor. Most want to make sure that the settlement or award they receive will be worth the trouble of taking legal action. The last thing any accident victim is hoping for at the end of the process is to walk away empty handed. As a result, many may wonder how an accident value is determined and whether they can get an idea of what they may be entitled to collect for damages. Although an attorney can never make promises or guarantees as to the outcome of a case, they can review and assess it to determine what they believe you are entitled to.
Damages are perhaps one of the most important components to a personal injury case and obtaining compensation. This is because, in order to have a valid personal injury claim, you must have suffered damages in some way. If the person or entity that you took action against is found liable for the accident you were in, they can be held responsible for compensating you for the damages you incurred. Damages set out to provide compensation for someone’s financial losses that were the result of their accident, for example:
- Lost Wages
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Travel Costs to and from hospital
- Miscellaneous Expenses such as retrofitting your home, hired help, etc
In some situations, the negligence in an accident can be so abhorrent that punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are not for the purpose of reimbursing the victim of an accident for any losses. Punitive damages are in play to punish the defendant for their actions. In most cases where punitive damages are awarded, the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent.
Valuing Your Damages
Taking a look at your damages is vital in determining the value of your case. It can be difficult to come up with a number without the assistance of a legal professional. There are a couple of ways to obtain compensation. The first is through settlement negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company. The other option is through the court process in which a judge determines the appropriate award for your lawsuit. An attorney will look to your damages when putting a number to your case. They will also assess whether you contributed to the accident in any way. This is called comparative negligence and can have an impact on the value of your case. If you can be held at all responsible for the accident, your settlement number could be impacted.
When valuing your case an attorney will look at special damages, which are often tangible and easily calculated: lost wages and medical expenses. They will also look at non-economic damages, which are harder to value. Non-economic damages are things like loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering or emotional distress.
It can be risky to take on a personal injury case, especially because there is no guarantee that you will walk away with the compensation you may be deservant of. Attorneys can be helpful in this respect as they will be able to clearly outline whether you have a case or not upon your first meeting. It’s important to note that you may not walk away with the full amount you were asking for. Understanding that you may have to give a little in negotiations will be an important component to reaching a settlement in your case as quickly as possible.
Knowing the value of your case prior to the start of negotiations can help provide insight into the possible compensation you could obtain. For more information surrounding the personal injury process and the valuing of personal injury claims, contact a personal injury attorney Bristol, TN residents trust.
Thank you to our contributors at the law office of Mark T. Hurt for the above information.