Peter Catania | July 9, 2021 | Personal Injury
A personal injury settlement can help you pay for expenses and losses associated with an accident or personal injury. Personal injury settlements range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. The severity of the person’s injuries and other factors impact a personal injury claim’s worth.
It can be challenging to know how much your damages are worth if you have never filed a personal injury claim. However, knowing more about the damages you could claim can help you determine if a settlement offer is fair. It also helps to understand what factors might influence the value of your personal injury claim.
Factors That Impact The Value of a Personal Injury Claim
Each personal injury claim is different. For example, two people involved in the same car accident could sustain vastly different injuries. One person could sustain a permanent disability that prevents the person from working or caring for himself. The other might only sustain minor injuries.
Factors that impact the value of your accident claim include:
Severity of Injuries
Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the value of the claim.
Individuals who sustain permanent impairments may:
- Require surgery
- Need extensive therapy
- Require specialized medical equipment
- Need 24/7 personal care
- Incur substantial lost income
Permanent impairments might include amputation, paralysis, or brain damages. If you have substantial expenses and lost income, the value of your economic damages increases. Likewise, when you have extensive pain and suffering, the value of your non-economic damages generally increases.
Allegations of comparative fault can reduce the value of a personal injury claim. If you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury, Florida’s comparative negligence laws permit the court to reduce your damages to account for your share of fault.
Availability of Insurance
Florida does not require drivers to purchase liability insurance, which compensates accident victims when a driver causes a crash.
If a driver does not have liability insurance, you must sue the driver for damages. It could be impossible to collect on a judgment if the person does not have substantial assets or income. When a party does not have sufficient insurance coverage, the victim may be left paying the bills from an accident or injury.
Quality of Evidence
You must prove that the other party caused your injury. If you do not have sufficient evidence to prove negligence or other wrongdoing, you might not be able to recover money for your injuries and damages. Attorneys perform thorough accident investigations and may retain accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and other experts to assist in gathering evidence to prove your case.
There could be several other factors that impact the value of your personal injury claim. Therefore, each injury claim needs to be carefully analyzed and evaluated to determine the factors that can help you increase the value of your claim.
Damages You Can Recover for a Personal Injury Claim
The damages in your case will be specific to your injuries and the situation. However, many personal injury settlements include compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Examples of the types of damages you can recover for a personal injury include:
- Medical Expenses – The costs may include doctor’s bills, emergency room costs, hospitalizations, and surgeries.
- Therapy Costs – There could be one or more therapies that your doctor prescribes as part of your treatment. Therapy may include physical, occupational, vocational, and psychological therapy.
- Personal Care Costs – If you require in-home health care, nursing home care, rehabilitative care, or help with activities of daily living, you can recover compensation for those costs.
- Loss of Income – Loss of income may include benefits, commissions, salaries, bonuses, wages, and other forms of income. It may also include future lost wages and a decrease in earning capacity because of a disability.
- Pain and Suffering Damages – These non-economic damages include physical pain, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, permanent impairments, emotional distress, decreased quality of life, and mental anguish.
- Associated Costs of Recovery – These costs are associated with your recovery and any permanent impairments. They may include travel expenses to and from medical visits. It may also include modifications to your home or car, such as building a ramp for you to enter and exit your home in a wheelchair.
The value of economic damages is the total financial loss, such as the actual amount of lost wages or medical bills. However, the value of pain and suffering damages is much more difficult to calculate.
In many cases, the value of non-economic damages is a multiple of your economic damages. The parties agree to a multiplier between 1.5 and five. The value of your pain and suffering damages would equal your economic damages multiplied by that figure.
The insurance company or other party will fight to keep the multiplier as low as possible. Cases involving catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments tend to increase the value of the multiplier.
Be Wary of Quick Settlement Offers
If you handle your personal injury claim without an attorney, be wary of quick settlement offers. The insurance company or at-fault party may try to settle the claim before you understand the extent of your injuries. Therefore, it is never wise to settle a claim until you complete medical treatment.
However, also be aware that there are deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits in Florida. If you wait too long, you could lose the right to pursue a legal claim for damages.