How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
After a major motor vehicle accident, there are countless expenses that quickly stack up, placing a heavy burden on your family’s finances. You may be missing work due to your injuries, paying a large number of copays for doctor’s visits, or purchasing expensive medical equipment. You may be worrying about how you’ll cover these bills and wondering whether all your expenses will be covered by an eventual insurance settlement or award at trial. There is no way to predict the exact outcome of an insurance claim or lawsuit for personal injury damages. That said, there are guidelines that influence how accident injury awards are calculated. These guidelines can allow you to create a rough estimate of how much you might recover from your accident claim.
The nature of your injuries: If your injuries were highly visible, costly to treat, and will have a major impact on the rest of your life, then your award of money damages will be larger. Whether or not it is justified, juries are more likely to assume that injuries they can see, such as broken limbs, are more catastrophic and painful than invisible injuries such as head injuries or emotional trauma. Since insurance settlements are based on the amount that a jury would be likely to award to the plaintiff, these principles will also be applied by claims adjusters in out-of-court settlements.
The type of witness you are: If you are a likeable, sincere, and genuine witness, the jury will be more sympathetic toward your story and more likely to provide a larger award. If a young child was also a victim of the crash, this fact is likely to result in a higher award of damages. Your individual hobbies and interests will also affect the size of your award. For example, if a sedentary person with a desk job suffers a broken leg, the jury is much less likely to provide a large damages award to that victim than they are to a person who had competed in ballroom dance all their life, or was the star of their high school track team.
The at-fault driver and what they were doing at the time of the crash: Just as the victim’s likability can increase the jury’s sympathy for them, an unsympathetic defendant who appears unconcerned about the accident and lacks any remorse could cause the jury to increase the award to the plaintiff. An at-fault driver who was suffering from road rage prior to the crash, or who was distracted when the crash happened, could also result in an increase in damages.
Whether you were partially at fault for the accident: If the defendant can produce evidence showing that you weren’t paying attention to the road or were driving irresponsibly when the crash occurred, these factors can result in a reduced amount in damages.
Many of the factors affecting your case’s value can be altered and improved based on having high-quality and experienced legal representation. After a major injury accident, possibly the most important step you take is choosing the right California personal injury attorney to bring a claim on your behalf.
For assistance filing a claim for damages after a Southern California motor vehicle accident, contact the seasoned and knowledgeable Los Angeles auto accident lawyers at Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy for a consultation, at 310-553-6630.