Many accident victims have the same big question: “How much is my personal injury claim worth?” Finances can quickly grow complicated following a severe accident. You have medical bills to juggle alongside your other, regular expenses. Not only that, many victims of serious injuries cannot work due to their injuries.
So how much can you expect from your personal injury claim? The amount you ultimately receive will depend on several key factors. Even if you have the same general injuries as another person, suffered in the same general way, you may discover that the compensation you receive for your injuries does not look the same as theirs. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, however, can significantly increase the odds that you will maximize the value of your personal injury claim.
Factor #1: Who caused your accident?
Many parties, including drivers, homeowners, and business owners, carry insurance designed to protect both the liable party and the victim in an accident. Drivers, for example, must carry bodily injury protection insurance to help protect individuals injured in an accident caused by that driver. Likewise, premises liability insurance, typically carried by homeowners and businesses, includes coverage for individuals injured on those premises.
Those insurance policies provide vital protection, but they may also have limits that may affect how much compensation you can hope to receive for your injuries. Even if your costs exceed the coverage offered by that insurance policy, the insurance company may not pay out more than that maximum amount.
That does not mean, however, that insurance is the only means for paying your damages. Some defendants in personal injury cases also have assets—cash, stocks, a steady income stream, etc.—that a personal attorney can seek to collect to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
Multiple Liable Parties
In some cases, more than one party may have legal liability for the harm you suffered in an accident. For example, in an auto accident, your attorney may discover that in addition to the at-fault driver, the manufacturer of the driver’s car also owes you damages because the car’s brakes were defective, and they failed just before the crash.
If your attorney can identify multiple parties who share liability for the damages you suffered in an accident, then that may increase your chances of recovering the full amount of compensation you need. Two sources of payment, after all, are usually better than one.
Factor #2: How high are your medical bills?
Medical bills tend to grow based on the severity of a person’s injuries. For example, if you suffered spinal cord injuries that resulted in paralysis from the neck down, then you may face more than $1 million in medical expenses in the first year after your accident alone.
You may also incur significant medical expenses related to:
- Emergency treatment;
- Ambulance transport, both immediately after the accident and if you require transport to another facility during your treatment;
- A stay in a rehabilitation facility;
- In-home care;
- Durable medical equipment;
- Physical therapy; and
- Occupational therapy.
Keep track of all expenses you have because of your injury by saving medical bills, receipts, insurance statements, and the like. Your attorney can use these items to help calculate the full amount of compensation you have already incurred, and to predict the probable size of your expenses in the future.
Factor #3: How much work did you miss?
Those lost hours at work can quickly lead to substantial financial strain. Even if your employer has policies in place that provide sick leave or that will allow you to use vacation time to cover those hours missed, you will no longer have those hours to use for other reasons, including vacations or future illness.
Missed hours at work can also continue long after your initial return to work. For example, you may have to miss time at work to go to follow-up appointments with your doctor, or to go to physical or occupational therapy sessions.
Some accident victims may permanently lose the ability to go back to work in their previous jobs following an accident with serious injuries. For example, if you suffer a severe traumatic brain injury that has a substantial impact on your creative thinking and problem-solving skills, you might not have the capacity to return to a job that demands a great deal of creative energy.
Likewise, severe back injuries could prevent you from going back to work in a construction job or fulfillment center. If you do lose the ability to work due to your injuries, then your lost earning potential may form a part of your legal claim for damages.
Factor #4: Did you suffer other financial impacts related to your accident?
A personal injury claim can also include any financial impact you suffered due to the accident and your injuries. For example, the accident damaged your personal property, then you might have the right to include repair or replacement costs in your claim. Likewise, if you needed to spend a great deal of money on transportation after your accident, it might factor into your claim.
An experienced personal injury attorney can work with you to evaluate the full scope of financial losses you suffered.
Factor #5: What other harm and difficulty did you face as a result of your injuries?
Many of the financial losses associated with your injuries, you can calculate directly. Other impacts, however, might not translate easily into dollars-and-cents, but that does not make them any less devastating for you and your loved ones.
Many personal injury victims suffer extreme physical pain and emotional anguish as a result of their injuries. For example, you might miss out on much-anticipated activities during your recovery: weddings, graduations, or vacations. You might have to stop doing activities that bring you joy, from going for long runs to playing with your children. Some people also endure extreme isolation related to their injuries. Relationships slip away, friends grow distant, household strain, and tension increases.
You deserve compensation for these harms as much as for any others. An experienced personal injury attorney can explore the full range of harm you have suffered so that you can seek maximum compensation in an injury claim.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident, an attorney can help you understand how much compensation you deserve, and how much you can reasonably hope to recover through legal action. To learn more, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.