How To Determine What Your Personal Injury Case Is Worth
Pursuing compensation for injuries and other losses is a necessary part of many personal injury victims’ road to recovery. When filing a claim, the first question you may have is how much your case is worth. However, there is no simple answer since the amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on many factors unique to your accident. When you work with an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney, they can accurately estimate your claim’s value after reviewing the following.
Damages refer to the financial, physical, and psychological losses you have suffered that were directly caused by the accident. The more severe your injuries and other losses, the more valuable your claim. Personal injury victims have the right to recover their:
- Medical Expenses: The cost of your past and current treatment, as well as the care you will require in the future and any other related medical expenses.
- Property Damage: Any damage caused to your property because of the accident. (e.g., vehicle, clothing, other personal items)
- Lost Income: Any wages you have lost while recovering and are expected to lose in the future. This compensation can include diminished earning capacity if you have suffered a permanent disability that will impact your ability to earn an income in the future.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical and psychological pain and suffering you have endured. The amount awarded for pain and suffering is not easily calculable because they are subjective losses rather than financial. Your attorney and the insurance company will typically come up with this sum using a multiplier method. This method multiplies your economic losses (medical bills, property damage, lost income) by a number typically between 1.5 to 5, chosen based on the severity and impact of your injuries. Clear evidence that the other party is at fault can also increase the multiplier number used.
- Punitive Damages: This type of compensation is only awarded in cases involving gross negligence or intentional conduct.
To recover these damages, you must have documentation to prove your injuries directly resulted from the accident caused by the at-fault party. If you did not seek medical care immediately following the accident, the insurance company can claim that your injuries are not as severe as you say or were not caused by the accident with their policyholder.
Each party’s contribution to the accident will be assessed under Minnesota’s rule of “contributory negligence.” This law holds each party accountable for their degree of fault in causing an accident by reducing their compensation accordingly. For example, if you are involved in a car accident and awarded $100,000 but found 30% at fault, you will receive 70% of your award or $70,000. However, if you are found 50% or more responsible for your accident, you cannot recover compensation.
- Some examples of contributory negligence include:
- Suddenly changing lanes without signaling, and a driver rear-ends you.
- Not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident
- A pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle while jaywalking.
- A patient who fails to disclose or lies about their medical history.
Another way your percentage of fault can potentially increase is if you have given a recorded statement to an insurance company. Insurance adjusters are notorious for taking recorded statements to ask you questions worded in a way that may trap or trick you into responses that hurt your claim. If they find inconsistencies between your statement and others you have made, they may deny your claim based on the fact that you “lied.”
Insurance Policy Limits
The at-fault party’s insurance policy’s limits can play a significant role in your financial recovery. Insurance policies have maximum amounts that the insurance company is required to pay out per accident or per person injured. If your damages exceed their policyholder’s limits, they are not required to pay the difference. Any amount over those limits must be obtained in another way, such as through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party personally. However, the value of a case against the at-fault party personally will hinge on their assets, such as cash, property, or investments that can be used as compensation.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured by another party’s negligence, hiring an experienced Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer can significantly increase the amount of compensation you recover. Call (800) 292-1979 today to start with a free consultation.