How Much is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
No one enjoys the legal process of a lawsuit, but when you’ve suffered physical pain and real financial damages from an injury caused by someone else, you might feel like the distress of pursuing a lawsuit is worthwhile. Part of what goes into deciding to follow through on a personal injury case is having at least a rough idea of what you’ll come out with on the other side. Will you gain full compensation for the expenses associated with your injury? How do you put a monetary amount on pain and suffering, and how do payouts for personal injury cases work?
Understanding Payouts for Personal Injury Cases
Before determining what your personal injury case might be worth, it helps to understand how the majority of injury victims receive their payout. Once an attorney has investigated and gathered evidence in personal injuries cases such as car accidents, slip-and-fall cases, or defective product cases, they use the evidence-backed information proving liability on the part of the person at fault to draft a compelling demand letter to the insurance company of the liable party. After the insurance adjusters review the claim, back-and-forth negotiations take place over a settlement amount.
The vast majority of personal injury cases resolve with an out-of-court settlement; however, a good personal injury attorney should be more than willing to litigate the matter in a courtroom if the insurance company undervalues a claim. If your lawyer litigates the matter in court, the judge will review the evidence and make a decision on the amount you receive through a court award directing the insurance company to pay you the amount court determined appropriate for your damages.
What Factors Impact Outcomes in Personal Injury Cases?
If your injuries were minor and had little impact on your financial situation, it’s probably not worth the time, effort, and expense of pursuing a lawsuit. However, if your injuries required significant medical treatment, surgeries, procedures, and physical therapy, or if they resulted in disability, not only does this type of harm come with the hard evidence of medical bills and missed time from work, but courts consider that evidence as indicative of a substantial amount of pain associated with the injury. Together these factors would result in a favorable outcome when negotiating with an insurance company or through courtroom litigation.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Personal Injury Case?
An attorney can help you determine all financial damages you’ve suffered due to your injury, but courts consider the following as examples of personal injury damages you can claim for compensation:
- All medical expenses related to the injury, including an estimate of future medical expenses if your injury requires additional or permanent medical care
- All lost income from time away from work for treatments and recovery
- Diminished capacity for earning if you’ve suffered disabling injuries
- Legal fees
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible, non-economic damages such as emotional anguish, disfigurement, loss of limb, PTSD, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life
While tangible damages such as medical expenses and lost wages are easy to calculate, intangible losses such as pain and suffering depend on a formula based on the idea that the greater the amount spent on medical care, the more likely you are to have suffered great pain and emotional anguish from the injury.
Insurance Limits, Liability, and Comparative Fault
States like Oklahoma have comparative fault laws that allow injury victims to collect on their damages even if they are partly at fault in an accident as long as their percentage of fault is less than 50%. For this reason, insurance companies may try to assign a greater amount of fault to an injury victim in order to minimize a payout on their claim. An experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorney understands how to prove liability on the part of the person at fault to protect a victim’s right to full compensation.
In most cases, personal injury claims are limited by the amount of coverage the liable party has under the terms of their insurance policy.
Payouts on personal injury cases vary from thousands to millions of dollars depending on the expenses, pain, and suffering related to the injury, as well as the amount of coverage the at-fault party’s insurance provides.