When we are contacted by a prospective client who has been injured, one
of the first questions we usually receive is “How much is my case
worth?” We understand why: when you are seriously injured through
someone else’s negligence, the first thing that can come to mind
is financial security through compensation and getting a definitive answer
allows you to plan for the road ahead. However, if you’re looking
for a specific answer, you’re going to be disappointed: it’s
nearly impossible to tell exactly how much a case is worth from the first
consultation. This is because each case is as unique as the person who
is bringing it to us, including different circumstances, different injuries,
and different consequences that may occur as a result.
However, you can start figuring out a rough estimate for your case’s
value on your own or with the assistance of an attorney by learning what
types of damages apply to your claim and how much you have lost as a result
of them. Let’s look further at the different types of damages.
Personal injury suits are centered on obtaining compensation for quantifiable
losses sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence. These
losses are recovered as “compensatory damages,” and many of
them have a specific dollar value that can be proven through documentation.
Medical treatment costs: Ambulance rides, hospital stays, x-rays, medications, and other treatments
you need in order to recover from your accident. All medical bills sustained
as a result of your accident are considered damages.
Lost income: When you’re injured or staying in the hospital, you likely are not
able to continue working, so you’ll probably lose out on income
you would have otherwise received. Your attorney will help you determine
your “loss of earning capacity,” which you can then recover
as damages from your claim.
Property damage: How badly was your car damaged in the accident? Is it a complete and total
loss, or can it be fixed and reasonably work again? In either case, this
damage has a financial cost and you can reclaim it along with losses from
Pain and suffering: You can recover compensation for any pain you experienced as a result
of the accident, including ongoing pain after the fact. This is not directly
quantifiable, however, so it’s best that you discuss this provision
with your attorney to come to an ideal value.
Loss of consortium: Unfortunately, some accidents can affect a victim’s relationship
with their spouse. As a result, the injured party can seek loss of consortium
damages, which are often paid directly to the affected family members.
This second type of damages, punitive damages, are not guaranteed in a
personal injury case, and in fact are not given out all that often. These
damages are a tool that personal injury judges have at their disposal
to punish those who act with reckless disregard for safety by punishing
them where it can really hurt: in the pocketbook. While the injury victim
does receive these damages, they are designed to ensure the defendant
in your case does not repeat their mistake again.
As your attorney, we always try to obtain these damages whenever possible,
but the fact of the matter is they’re actually exceedingly rare,
so it’s best to temper your expectations. If your injury was truly
an accident and efforts were made to prevent it, odds are you probably
won’t receive punitive damages.
Your case’s value could be impacted by additional factors as well.
Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state, so your
ability to recover damages will be impacted by the amount you are deemed
to be at fault for the accident that caused your injuries.
Let’s look at an example. Say you are injured in a car accident,
and the investigation rules that you are 20% at fault because the hood
of your car was over the limit line and protruding slightly into an intersection
when a reckless driver struck you. You are still able to pursue compensation
for damages, but your award or settlement will be reduced by 20% because
of your own level of fault in the accident.
You also are required to have your injuries that occur as a result of the
accident treated and diagnosed as soon as possible. Essentially, if you
sit back and let your injuries get worse by letting them go untreated
in an effort to claim more damages, the exact opposite will actually happen—your
final award will be dramatically reduced.
No matter what kind of accident you are in, it’s strongly advised
you speak with a Martin County personal injury lawyer about your case
as soon as possible! Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today
by dialing 866-675-4427 and ask to receive a free