If you’re facing an injury from an accident, the first thing that likely comes to your mind is, “How much money can I recover?” And for good reason. You don’t want to pay for medical bills and other expenses for injuries that weren’t your fault. You want to make sure the liable party pays for all the damages you suffered.
So that begs the question: How much is your personal injury case worth? Does a car accident result in more compensation than a slip and fall case? What about a dog bite? There is no straightforward answer. It all depends on the facts of the case and the resulting injuries.
For the most part, it depends on damages. There are many types of damages you could receive for suffering a personal injury. Typically, the more serious the injury you suffer, the more damages you can expect to receive.
It doesn’t really matter what type of accident occurred. A slip and fall accident could be worth millions of dollars, especially if there is a traumatic brain injury. If you broke your arm in a car accident, it may be worth only $10,000.
There are many factors that can affect your total amount of compensation for a personal injury. Read on to learn more about how people value cases.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case
These types of damages are available to victims to make them whole again. Being made whole again refers to being in the same physical and mental condition as before the accident occurred. This is not always possible, however, depending on the extent of the injuries. Therefore, the purpose of compensation is to aid the victim in recovering to the fullest extent possible.
Common types of damages include:
This is often the most expensive part of the recovery. A hospital stay alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Compensation includes previous medical bills, current treatment, and future medical bills.
If you had to take time off work after the injury, you could receive compensation for your lost wages. This also includes any loss of earning capacity caused by the accident. For example, if you can’t work at all due to your injuries, you could receive compensation based on the amount of income you are losing out on in the future due to the accident.
This is common in car accidents. If the crash left your car totaled, you could receive enough compensation so you can buy a new one. You could also receive compensation for anything else damaged as a result of your accident, such as clothing or other personal items.
Pain and Suffering
This is a type of emotional damage that is difficult to calculate, but you can receive compensation for ongoing pain that you are experiencing from the accident. Some parties determine this by taking adding medical bills and using a multiplier based on the severity of the injuries. Another way to determine the monetary number is to give a value for every time you ache from the injury.
This is often included in pain and suffering damages. This refers to psychological damages that the victim may face after a serious accident, such as anxiety, depression or loss of sleep.
Loss of Enjoyment
This refers to the victim’s lack of ability to enjoy once-favorite hobbies. If the victim was an avid tennis player, but now cannot play due to a back injury, he or she could receive compensation to make up for this loss.
The Court awards punitive damages in cases where the liable party acted in an especially malicious or purposeful manner. These damages punish the liable party for their intent to harm. By hitting the defendant in the pocketbook, it will deter him or her from engaging in this type of behavior in the future. One of the most classic examples for receiving punitive damages is for injuries in a drunk driving accident.
Punitive damages can exceed millions of dollars. Because of this, many states have caps on punitive damages. California, however, has no cap on these damages. However, they must bear a “reasonable relationship” to other damages. This means that a claim worth only $20,000 should not have $5 million in punitive damages.
Other Factors Affecting Your Case Value
Besides damages, there are other things that can affect how much money you get for your case. Negligence is one of these factors. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you still might be able to recover damages. California state law allows collection for your damages even if you were as much as 99 percent at fault. This is pure comparative negligence. It reduces your compensation amount based on your percentage of fault. For example, if your damage award is $100,000 and you were 50 percent at fault, you would receive 50 percent of the damage award, which would total $50,000.
As a victim, the law requires you to take appropriate steps to fix or mitigate your damages. You should do so as soon as possible following the accident. If you don’t see a doctor for two weeks after the accident, the court is going to assume that you are not seriously injured. This could cause the jury to significantly reduce your damage amount.
Let us Value Your Personal Injury Case
Valuing your personal injury case is no simple task. There are many variables involved, and no two cases are alike. A thorough assessment of the case is needed so you can what types of compensation you are eligible to receive. The Long Beach personal injury lawyers at The Beliz Law Firm can assess your case and help you get a fair value for all the damages incurred by the liable party. Contact us and schedule a consultation by calling (562) 452-3772.