How Much is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
One of the first questions a personal injury lawyer hears is: “How much money is my case worth?” It’s a good question without a simple answer. Numerous factors go into calculating the value of a California personal injury claim. Here’s a breakdown from The Law Offices of Pius Joseph.
Liability and the Comparative Fault Law
Proving liability is essential for every personal injury case. Before you can get paid, you must successfully establish another party is responsible for the accident and your injuries.
Identifying the liable party after an accident is not always straightforward. Suppose you were in a multi-car wreck. Several motorists could have played a role in causing the collision, including you. Before arriving at a settlement offer, the insurance companies for each driver will investigate the case and assign a percentage of fault to every party. In California, this process of dividing the blame is called comparative negligence, or comparative fault.
Even if you share part of the fault for an accident, you could still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The tricky part is not letting the insurance company push too much of the blame onto you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can collect evidence to shield you from unfair claims of fault.
Seriousness of the Injuries
The type and severity of your injuries play a huge role when putting a dollar amount on your case. The greater the injuries, the higher a claim’s value will be.
The principle makes sense. A person paralyzed in an accident with a drunk driver is likely entitled to more compensation than someone who broke their arm in a similar crash. That’s because the lifetime medical expenses for someone with a catastrophic injury far exceed the costs for an individual who makes a full recovery. An experienced attorney needs to review the nature and extent of your injuries before estimating what your case is worth.
Be careful of websites that provide any kind of bodily injury claim calculator. These tools supposedly give you a reasonable settlement estimate for your case. But proceed with caution ― those calculators cannot take individual differences into account. The most realistic settlement calculator you’ll find is a trusted personal injury attorney.
Pain and Suffering
California awards three types of compensation to accident victims. This money is also known as damages. You could receive:
- Economic damages – Money for losses that can be calculated, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost income, rehabilitation, long-term nursing care, and property damage
- Non-economic damages – Compensation for intangible losses without a set dollar amount, like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and damage to your reputation or humiliation
- Punitive damages – A sum awarded to punish the responsible parties for egregious conduct and discourage similar behavior in the future
Putting a monetary value on pain and suffering is one of the most challenging parts of arriving at a value for a personal injury claim. Some insurance companies use math formulas to calculate an amount, but there is no universal formula to calculate pain and suffering. Your lawyer can gather compelling proof to illustrate the extent of your pain and suffering to the insurance company or the court.
California laws also limit a claimant’s right to non-economic damages. For example, car accident victims with prior DUI convictions or those driving an uninsured or underinsured car may be prohibited from collecting money for pain and suffering. Every detail counts in determining your case value.
Examples of California Personal Injury Lawsuits
A wide range of accidents falls in the category of personal injury law. At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, our knowledgeable attorneys handle complex accident claims involving:
- Car accidents
- Tractor-trailer crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Construction accidents
- Premises liability and slip-and-fall accidents
- Defective products
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Wrongful death
Many people hesitate about the idea of taking a case to trial. Don’t worry ― most personal injury cases result in settlements. When an insurer refuses to make a fair settlement offer, your attorney can talk about the pros and cons of a personal injury lawsuit with you. The choice is always yours, but getting advice from a lawyer can help you decide whether to pursue a settlement or court award.
How Can a Lawyer Maximize My Claim’s Value?
At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we hope you’ve never had to file a personal injury claim before. But now that you need to, you’ll benefit from getting experience on your side.
Most personal injury claims start by filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster will review the case, investigate the facts, and make a settlement offer. The first offer is almost always less than what you deserve. By getting an experienced personal injury attorney involved right away, you’ll recognize a lowball offer and won’t fall prey to cheap insurance tactics.
A lawyer can also negotiate a full and fair settlement for you. The insurance company is savvy and trains its employees to ask loaded questions that trick claimants into saying something that jeopardizes their cases. Once you hire an attorney, you don’t need to talk to an insurer without an advocate by your side.
Personal injury attorneys also have the resources to research how cases similar to yours could apply to your situation. While every claim is unique, past precedents can show how California courts interpret personal injury laws that might be pertinent to your case.
Finally, a lawyer has the authority to subpoena critical evidence that would be difficult for you to obtain alone. Imagine you were hit by someone who was texting while driving. Cell phone records would be vital evidence to support your case, but privacy rules will limit your ability to collect them. An attorney can request sensitive information during the discovery phase of a case, strengthening your demand for maximum compensation.
Contact a Pasadena Personal Injury Lawyer Today
You shouldn’t have to suffer for someone else’s poor decisions. If you sustained serious injuries in an accident, reach out to the Law Offices of Pius Joseph today. Our law firm crafts persuasive legal claims without cutting corners or letting responsible parties off the hook. Let us start on your case today. Call or contact us for a free consultation.