What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Several factors determine how much you could recover from your injury case, including:

  • Your injuries
  • Your damages
  • Your pain and suffering

How Can I Get a Bigger Payout?

To recover maximum compensation from your case, you must have proof that:

  • You are injured
  • You incurred financial and emotional losses from your injuries
  • The other party is 100% responsible

Why Do I Have To See a Doctor?

Getting medical treatment for car accident injuries is a critical factor in determining the value of your case.

  • You have proof that you are injured because a medical professional diagnosed you and documented your injuries. Your injuries are real; a licensed professional has acknowledged, documented, and supported this fact.
  • Your case is generally worth more when your injuries are extensive, severe, require surgery, or have a prolonged recovery period. You won’t know how extensive or severe your injuries are until you are examined.
  • Your medical visit will prove the cause of your injuries. Insurance companies and the court need proof that the accident caused you to suffer injuries.
  • Your pain and suffering are tied to your injuries. The court assumes that a broken leg causes more emotional distress than a sprained ankle.

If you have not received medical treatment yet, please do so right away. Florida insurance laws require you to seek medical care within 14 days of the accident, or you jeopardize your claim.

What if I Do Not Have Health Insurance?

If you don’t have health insurance to help pay for your medical bills, you can ask for reimbursement for your medical care. After all, you wouldn’t have to pay for an emergency room or doctor’s visit if it weren’t for the car accident.

What if I Do Have Health Insurance?

If you do have health insurance, you can ask for reimbursement for your deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.

Anything that you have to pay for related to your accident injuries could be added to your claim.

What About My Future Medical Bills?

You can also ask for compensation for all future and foreseeable medical care related to your accident injuries. You might need medical care to treat your injuries or associated medical conditions depending on your specific situation.

Future medical expenses might include:

  • Physical therapy & rehabilitation
  • Corrective or reconstructive surgery
  • Mental health counseling
  • Prescription medicine
  • Medical devices & equipment, such as a wheelchair
  • Follow up care
  • Medical tests and scans

What if I Need Life Care Services?

Suppose you suffered a catastrophic injury – such as a traumatic brain injury – resulting in permanent physical or cognitive impairment. In that case, you might need life care services.

Depending on the nature, extent, and severity of your injuries, you might need someone to:

  • Drive you to your doctor’s appointments, pharmacy, and grocery store
  • Perform housekeeping or maintenance
  • Take care of your children if you cannot
  • Modify or renovate your home to fit a wheelchair

What Damages Do I Have?

There are generally two kinds of damages you could recover: special and general.

Special damages are specific economic losses, like:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor bills
  • Prescription medicine
  • Crutches or other medical equipment
  • Mileage between your home, doctor, and pharmacy
  • Lost pay based on your take-home salary
  • Car repairs
  • Rental cars
  • Health insurance deductibles
  • Modifications to your home to accommodate a wheelchair
  • Lost or damaged property
  • Reduced earning capacity

Special damages are easily calculable with receipts, pay stubs, and invoices.

General damages are emotional losses, like:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental pain and anguish
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of companionship and support
  • Loss of career

Pain and suffering” is a blanket term for physical and emotional distress caused by your injuries.

How Do I Figure Out Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering are more difficult to calculate than other damages. One way to calculate pain and suffering is the multiplier system.

The court considers your special damages and then multiplies them by a number from 1.5 to 5. When you have severe injuries or a poor prognosis, the court multiplies your special damages by a high number to calculate pain and suffering. If you have mild injuries and are expected to make a full recovery, the court uses a lower number.

Who Pays for My Lost Workdays?

If you cannot work because of your car accident injuries, keep track of how many days you have missed. Lost wages due to injury is money you deserve to get back.

  • Use a calendar to keep track of missed workdays
  • Keep your pay stub, paycheck, or direct deposit to show how much income you have lost

In addition to your medical bills, lost wages are essential when determining how much your personal injury case is worth.

What if I Cannot Go Back to My Job?

Any permanent disability or chronic medical condition caused by your accident injuries affects your lifetime earning potential.

When you cannot work full-time or at all, you also lose benefits, annuities, paid leave – everything that a healthy worker would receive.
Even if you qualify for Social Security disability or workers’ compensation disability, these benefits alone aren’t enough if you cannot earn a living.

What if I Have To Change Careers?

Depending on your background, skills, and training, you might need vocational training or additional education to get a job that you can perform, given your limitations.

You could be entitled to compensation to pay for the necessary training so you can be self-sufficient.

Do I Have To Get an Estimate for Car Repairs?

Insurance companies usually have a relationship with several preferred body shops and mechanics. The insurance company should give you a list of repair shops near you. Although you choose which shop fixes your car, you will need an estimate before they can start repairs.

Sometimes getting an estimate is simply a matter of taking pictures of your car using your cell phone and uploading them to the insurance adjuster. Other times, the insurance company sends a local adjuster to write an estimate.

If you can’t drive your car, body shops sometimes offer towing services. You can also call a tow truck – be sure to add this receipt to your paperwork pile.

What if Some Personal Items Were Damaged?

Any personal property that was lost or damaged because of the crash should be reimbursed, such as:

  • Cell phones
  • Purses, backpacks, briefcases, or luggage
  • Computers and tablets
  • Dashboard-mounted navigational devices
  • Purchases that were in the car or trunk

What if My Car Is Totaled?

Some car accidents cause so much damage to your car that it simply is not safe or cost-effective to repair. When the cost to repair your vehicle is more than it is worth, the insurance company should offer fair market value.

Fair market value is the price you could reasonably expect to receive, depending on your car’s age, model, and condition immediately before the accident.

What if I Didn’t Cause the Accident?

Insurance companies and the court want to know who caused the accident, so they know who pays your bills and other losses.

For example, you slip, fall, and break your leg at a restaurant because a server didn’t wipe up a spill. The court looks at the evidence – wet floor – and concludes that the restaurant should pay your medical bills, lost pay, and other expenses. Ideally, you pay nothing out-of-pocket because the other party is to blame.

Florida Car Accidents Are Different From Other Injury Cases

Florida car accidents have different liability requirements than a slip and fall accident, construction accident, or other types of injury. Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accidents.

All licensed drivers in Florida must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers the first $10,000 in medical bills – regardless of who caused the accident. PIP also pays for your medical care if an uninsured driver caused the accident, or a hit-and-run driver fled the scene.

If Florida Is ‘No-Fault’, Why Does Liability Matter in My Case?

Your PIP pays for the first $10,000 in medical bills. If your injuries are severe or extensive, your medical bills will quickly exhaust your PIP.

“No-fault” doesn’t mean the responsible person is off the hook. When your medical expenses are more than $10,000, your case is worth more. You must show that the other party is responsible, or you probably can’t collect the additional compensation you need for medical bills.

When you prove the other party is at fault, you could:

  • File a third-party insurance claim against the driver’s bodily injury insurance
  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the driver
  • File a claim with the driver’s boss if they crashed into you with a company or commercial vehicle
  • File a claim with a bar or restaurant that overserved a drunk driver

Does My Settlement Decrease if I’m Liable Too?

If the court decides that you are responsible for some portion of the accident, you could receive less than 100% of the settlement.

After calculating your injuries, damages, and pain and suffering, the court deducts a portion of your compensation if you played a part in the accident. Whatever percentage is your fault will be deducted from any payout.

Pie chart showing what a car accident case is worth

For example:

The other driver rear-ends you at a stoplight. You are legally stopped, but one of your brake lights is broken. The court determines that you are responsible for 10% of the accident because you didn’t have two functioning brake lights. The other driver is 90% responsible for failing to stop and running into your car.

How Do I Figure Out What My Case Is Worth?

Insurance companies and the court have a general formula to assign a value to your case.

Personal Injury Case Worth Formula

Medical Bills + Lost Wages + Pain & Suffering = $ – % of Your Liability = Total Case Value

Example:
Medical Bills = $50,000
Lost Wages = $10,000
Pain and Suffering = $40,000
% of Your Liability = 10%
$100,000 – $10,000 = $90,000

Do I Need a Lawyer?

You are not legally required to hire a lawyer to help you pursue compensation. However, hiring an attorney often brings a higher settlement than people without legal representation.

According to a 2017 Martindale-Nolo study, hiring a personal injury lawyer leads to significantly larger settlements.

  • Ninety percent of respondents with legal representation received a settlement, compared to about half who proceeded independently.
  • Individuals with legal representation received an average settlement of $77,600 compared to an average of $17,600 for people without a lawyer.
  • Individuals with legal representation still pocketed more money even after paying lawyer fees.

Still Have Questions? Get a Free Consultation Today

You could recover compensation for injuries and damages caused by someone else. Call David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at 954-568-3636 for a free, no-risk consultation today. You pay nothing unless and until he recovers compensation on your behalf.

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