In personal injury lawsuits, the person wronged may claim damages based on their injuries that are caused by an accident for which another party is liable. This injured party is the plaintiff and will bring the suit against the person, persons, or organization that caused or contributed to their injuries.
How much a personal injury case is worth comes down to what damages are awarded to the plaintiff, or the person harmed. It also depends on if there is a sustainable claim and if insurance covers part or all of the damages.
Different types of damages may be awarded. Additionally, other factors determine how much a personal injury case is worth based upon the specific facts of the accident and the parties involved. If you are considering whether you may have a personal injury case and want to know how much it may be worth, here is what you need to know.
Introduction to Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, a person has suffered injuries due to the actions of another person or company. If that person or company is found to be at fault or liable for this accident, then there may be an award of damages to cover the expenses and harm caused to the injured party.
The injured party is the plaintiff in these cases. The defendant is the one accused of causing the incident that resulted in harm to the plaintiff. If the defendant is found to be at fault or liable for the injury caused to the plaintiff, then damages may be awarded to the plaintiff to compensate that party for the harm incurred.
These damages may be covered by the defendant or by their insurance company, where applicable.
The Three Key Factors in Determining How Much a Personal Injury Case is Worth
The three main factors in determining how much a personal injury case is worth are: liability, damages, and insurance coverage. For a personal injury case claim to succeed, all three factors need to be present.
The defendant needs to be found to be a cause of the accident that harmed the injured party. In other words, the defendant needs to be liable. Some key issues that concern liability include whether the injured party was partly at fault, whether there was any waiver of claims for liability, the circumstances in which it occurred, the place that the accident took place, whether the plaintiff’s personal property was damaged, and the relationship between the parties.
State laws vary on whether a personal injury claim may be brought where the injured party was partly at fault. This circumstance may be referred to as contributory negligence. If you are unsure as to whether this applies to you, then contacting an attorney may be best before proceeding with bringing a claim in a personal injury case.
For a claim to succeed in a personal injury case, there needs to be some sort of damages. The plaintiff must have caused the accident resulting in the damages and injuries incurred by the plaintiff. These are actions for which the defendant must be held liable.
There are some nuisances with damages depending on the claim, the situation, and the applicable state’s law. For example, there are frequently defense claims that the injured party had a pre-existing injury/condition. The defendant may attempt to make an argument that the damages caused were not due to their actions but were instead due to the injured party already having a condition that would cause these damages.
Usually, the standard for this type of claim for defense is whether an average person could have sustained these damages and if the damages were reasonably foreseeable. However, it will depend significantly on the state in which the incident occurred and the specific facts of the situation that caused the accident.
These are many factors that may impact the damages and liabilities of a personal injury claim. It is critical to consult an attorney if you are unsure as to whether other considerations may apply to your situation.
If insurance is involved, then the insurance company may cover some of the damages that the injured party sustained. Depending on the facts of the case, it could be the plaintiff’s insurance or the defendant’s insurance that covers all or part of the costs or damages incurred from the accident.
If there is insurance coverage that will cover a portion of the damages caused to the injured party, then the personal injury case may not be worth as much or may not be worth anything. If insurance covers all of it, then it is highly unlikely that the injured party can bring a claim against the party for which they allege was a cause of the accident that caused them damages. However, an insurance company may want to pursue a claim against the party at fault to recoup their costs.
Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases
If a personal injury case claim is successful, then there may be an award of damages.
Typically compensatory damages are the type of damages awarded in personal injury cases. These types of awards are meant to restore the injured party to the place that they were in before the accident that caused harm because of the defendant’s actions. In other words, these damages are awarded with the intent to make the plaintiff “whole.”
Some of the common types of compensatory damages may include the following terminology:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
- Payment to cover lost wages that resulted from missed work due to the injuries sustained
- Cost of repairs or compensation to cover property loss, if applicable, caused by the accident that is the subject of the personal injury lawsuit
- Monetary compensation to cover pain and suffering that resulted from the accident
- Loss of spousal enjoyment, which is more commonly referred to as “loss of consortium” for personal injury cases
- Damages to compensate for the loss of enjoyment of daily activities due to the accident
- Compensation for emotional distress to reimburse for the psychological harm that the accident caused to the injured party.
Not all of the damages mentioned above will apply to every personal injury case. It will depend on the type of harm caused, the claim brought, and the state in which the accident occurred. For example, some states do not recognize each kind of damage listed, or they may use different terminology or categories. Other states may include more types of damages. Moreover, some states require physical harm or harm to property for there to be a claim for damages pertaining to psychological or loss of enjoyment.
Do You Want to Know How Much Your Personal Injury Case is Worth? Contact an Attorney Today
If you are considering filing a personal injury case against a party that has caused you harm and want to know how much your case is worth, then you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney. The specific facts of your situation can significantly influence and change the value of damages you may be entitled to due to the injuries you incurred because of an accident for which another party is liable. An attorney can help guide you through this process.
To discuss your situation and learn more about how much your personal injury case may be worth, fill out our contact form. One of our attorneys will give you a call to discuss your case and the potential value of bringing a claim in a personal injury case.