How Do You Determine the Value of My Personal Injury Claim?
It is never easy to estimate the exact value of your personal injury claim. This process takes significant effort even for seasoned Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. For injury victims with no personal experience evaluating injury claims, this process is risky to undertake alone.
If you undervalue your personal injury claim, you might miss out on the compensation you are ultimately entitled to. This is problematic, as your injury claim represents your only opportunity to obtain compensation. Once you settle your injury claim you will never have the opportunity to seek additional compensation from the at-fault party.
Understanding available types of compensation
Before you can evaluate your injury claim, it is helpful to first understand the type of compensation that could be available to you. In general, these damages are broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages compensate you for the measurable monetary losses that come with a serious injury. The most common examples include lost wages and medical costs. Because these losses are tangible, you can generally establish the exact amount of economic compensation you are entitled to through the use of receipts, bills, and estimates.
Non-economic damages are not so easy to pin down. The value of these losses is subjective, meaning another person could place a very different value on your claim. The most notable form of non-economic loss is pain and suffering. Because no two people experience pain exactly the same, there is no objective measure of what a pain and suffering claim is worth.
The guidance of a personal injury lawyer is vital for determining the value of both economic and non-economic losses. Your attorney can review your medical bills and employment records to identify the economic compensation you deserve. What’s more, they can put your subjective losses into context to help you understand what a jury might believe they are worth.
Other factors to consider
There are other factors that can go into determining the compensation available in your case. While identifying the amount of compensation you are owed is one thing, it is also important to consider the external factors that could limit how much you actually could recover.
The most important factor to consider is insurance policy limits. Every liability policy has some form of limits which represent the maximum amount an insurance company is responsible for paying on a claim. If your losses are more than the limits on the defendant’s policy, the insurance company is not obligated to pay what’s leftover. Recovering compensation above and beyond your policy limits can be challenging, as many defendants lack the assets needed to cover your losses.
Another factor to consider is the comparative fault. Depending on the state your accident occurs in, you might not be entitled to any compensation if you are partially responsible for your accident. California courts apply a legal theory in these cases known as pure comparative negligence. Under this system, you have the right to seek compensation from another party even if you are primarily responsible for the accident. However, the courts will reduce your recovery by your degree of fault. For example, if you suffer $10,000 in damages in an accident but you are 90 percent responsible for the crash, the most you could recover from the other driver is $1,000. Your personal injury attorneys could advise you on whether comparative fault will play a part in your claim.
Let an attorney evaluate your claim
Ultimately, you should always entrust your personal injury claim with a skilled attorney. The experience that comes with years of negotiating injury settlements is invaluable throughout this process. Your attorney can help you understand what your injuries are worth. Furthermore, they can negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company and identify what policy limits might be in effect.
The attorneys of Ellis Injury Law have a long history of successfully recovering compensation for their clients. We look forward to the opportunity to evaluate your case and advise you on what it could be worth. Call right away to schedule your free consultation.