10 Factors That Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Case
A personal injury does not have to put you in significant financial debt. Filing a personal injury case in Phoenix could lead to compensation from a negligent party that reimburses you for all the out-of-pocket costs you spent on accident recovery. You could also receive an award for intangible losses such as pain and suffering. The value of your personal injury case will depend on factors unique to you.
The Severity of Your Injuries
In general, severe injuries will receive greater compensation than minor injuries due to related damages. Insurance companies, judges and juries base their settlement/verdict decisions on how much the accident impacted the victim’s life. If you have a serious injury, it will cost more money in medical bills and lost wages. This will lead to a higher-value personal injury case.
Permanent Scarring, Disfigurement or Disability
Personal injury cases involving permanent injuries could be worth a substantial amount. Permanent disabilities, physical scarring, disfigurement, loss of a limb, loss of hearing/vision or loss of an important bodily function could increase the value of your case. A jury will look at how significantly your injury impacted you to determine how much your case is worth.
Amount of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a noneconomic damage available during a personal injury claim. It will be up to a jury in Arizona to calculate a pain and suffering award. Proof of significant physical pain, emotional suffering, chronic pain, mental distress, loss of consortium or other noneconomic damages could lead to a higher jury verdict. Proof could be in your personal journal, opinions from medical experts, or testimony from friends and loved ones.
The Extent of Property Damages
Property damages will factor into the final value of your personal injury claim. If a truck accident totaled your vehicle, for example, you could recover the full pre-crash value of the vehicle. Significant property damages and the need for substantial repairs could translate into a higher award amount.
Lost wages is another category of compensable damages in a personal injury claim. Your age at the time of the accident, average earnings leading up to the accident and future earning potential could all decide how much you recover from a defendant in lost wages and lost capacity to earn.
Where You File Your Claim
Different states handle personal injury cases and payouts differently. Some have damage caps limiting the maximum amount a plaintiff can receive. Some states reduce payouts based on the injured victim’s contributions to the accident. The rules in your state can change your award amount.
Arizona is a comparative fault state, meaning you could receive less for your personal injuries if found liable for causing them. You will receive a reduced amount based on your percentage of fault for the accident or injury.
Insurance Coverage Available
How an insurance company handles your case could impact your award. If an insurance company tries to dispute fault or allege pre-existing injuries, for example, it may offer you less. It is up to you or your personal injury lawyer to negotiate a fair amount. The amount of insurance coverage available from the defendant could also play a role in how much you can recover. Holding multiple people liable could mean more insurance coverage.
Actions of the Defendant
A punitive damage award is an amount you may be able to receive on top of your compensatory losses to penalize the defendant. If the at-fault party is guilty of actions that qualify as grossly negligent, malicious or intentional, a judge may award you punitive damages. This could increase the overall value of your injury case.
One strategy your lawyer may use is to present the verdicts of past cases involving the same injury to an insurance company or jury as a baseline amount. Examples of past cases that achieved substantial verdicts for injuries similar to yours could help you receive a better payout. Working with an attorney on your personal injury case in Arizona could give you the opportunity to maximize its value.