How Does a Car Accident Lawyer Value Your Personal Injury Claim

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Car accidents are no joke. Many of them leave lasting damage, both physical and mental. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s projection estimated a staggering 9,330 lives lost in the first half of 2023 due to fatal crashes. However, there are still instances where victims survive. (1)

After a car crash, you’re likely dealing with injuries, mounting medical bills, and lost wages on top of the emotional toll. If someone else caused the accident, you might be wondering what your next steps are and how much compensation you might be entitled to. Auto accident lawyers help shed light on those crucial questions.

This guide will tell you more about how a car accident lawyer values your personal injury claim. Keep reading to head toward the best possible outcome after an accident.

What Damages Can Be Compensated in a Personal Injury Claim?

In a personal injury claim, ‘damages’ refer to the losses you suffered due to the accident. You can recover compensation for the following:

Medical Expenses

One of the first damages to look into is your injuries, which typically have to be treated in a hospital. Doing this may incur significant medical expenses.

You may recover all past, present, and future medical costs associated with your injuries after submitting a claim. These include hospital bills, surgery costs, medication, physical therapy, and any future medical care you might need.

But for that to happen, you need an experienced car accident lawyer. Experts in personal injury law understand local laws plus the criteria for filing accident claims. Personal injury attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the legal process, ensuring you receive fair compensation.

Lost Wages

If you had to miss work because of your injuries, you can also recover compensation for the wages you lost. These can also include lost bonuses, commissions, or other forms of work-related income.

Lost Earning Capacity

Sometimes, accidents could leave you with a permanent injury that prevents you from returning to your job or even working at all. Lost earning capacity compensates for the future income you might have lost due to this disability.

Car accident attorneys will consider your age, education, work experience, and earning potential when calculating this. It’s about what you could have realistically earned if the accident hadn’t happened.

Pain and Suffering

This one can be a bit trickier. Pain and suffering are the physical and emotional pain you experience because of the accident. It includes things like discomfort, anxiety, depression, and even scarring.

The challenge? Pain is subjective. You can’t put a price tag on a broken leg or emotional trauma. Lawyers use evidence like medical records, your testimony, and potentially even testimony from friends and family to build a strong case for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.

Property Damage

If your car got wrecked in the accident, property damage covers the cost of repairs or even replacing the vehicle entirely. The lawyer will work with your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance to get you fair compensation for the damage to your car.

Don’t be caught off guard. It’s ideal to get insured now, in case the unexpected happens.

Factors Affecting the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

A car accident lawyer considers several factors to determine the value of your car accident claim:

  • Severity of Injuries: More severe injuries with long-term consequences typically lead to higher compensation. For instance, a broken arm will likely have a lower value than a spinal cord injury.
  • Expected Medical Treatment: If you require extensive future medical care, such as surgery or rehabilitation, this will factor into the claim value. The lawyer will consider the anticipated costs of these treatments.
  • Liability: The clearer it is that the other driver caused the accident, the stronger your case. Think of it like a puzzle – the more pieces of evidence that fit together showing their fault, the better picture personal injury lawyers can paint to get you the compensation you deserve.
  • Insurance Coverage: Unfortunately, the amount of money the at-fault driver’s insurance company has to pay might limit what you can recover. Your lawyer will explore all options to get you the most compensation possible, but this is a factor to consider.
  • Documentation: The more details you have about the accident, the better. Having this documentation helps your car accident attorney build a strong case that proves your injuries and how the accident happened.
  • Shared Fault (Comparative Negligence): Say you’re speeding a little when the other driver ran a red light and T-boned you. In some states, if you’re found partially at fault, it can reduce the amount of compensation you receive. Your car accident attorney can explain how this might affect your specific case.

It’s important to file your claims as soon as possible after you’re hurt. Deadlines vary per state, the shortest being one year after the accident and the longest being six years in Maine and North Dakota. Auto accidents, in particular, may also have a deadline different from other claims.

The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in Valuing Your Claim

A car accident lawyer isn’t just a courtroom fighter. They dig deep to understand your case and value your injuries fairly.

First, the lawyer will act like a detective and investigate your case. They’ll gather evidence to build a thorough picture of what happened. Evidence usually includes medical records, police reports, and witness statements. Legal experts say that the plaintiff must have at least 51% of the evidence in their favor to win their case.

Once they understand your accident and your injuries, your lawyer will use their negotiation skills, leveraging their legal knowledge and experience with insurance companies to fight for a fair settlement.

What Happens in a Consultation

Feeling lost after a car accident? A consultation with a car accident lawyer, which is often free, can answer your questions and ease your worries. Tell them your story – they’re there to listen. Be prepared to discuss the details of the accident and how your injuries are affecting you.

Gather any paperwork you have, like medical records or police reports. Having everything in one place helps your lawyer see the bigger picture and decide how to proceed. So, if possible, stay at the scene to gather enough evidence. It’s one of the first things to do after a car accident.

Conclusion

Confused about compensation post-car crash? A reputable car accident lawyer can assess your case and estimate what you might be eligible for financially.

Consulting with a lawyer is the wisest decision you can make. They can handle the legalese and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. All you need to do after is focus on healing.

References

“NHTSA Estimates Traffic Fatalities Dropped in the First Three Months of 2023,” Source: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-traffic-fatalities-estimates-first-quarter-2023


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