After a person has been injured in an accident through someone else’s negligence, their first and most pressing question is often how much a potential personal injury claim might be worth. The truth is, there is no easy or quick way to determine the value of a personal injury claim because there are too many factors that must be considered. Furthermore, since each injury case is different, those factors can vary dramatically from case to case.
Here are some examples of the many factors that Baton Rouge injury lawyers, like those at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, use when estimating the value of a Baton Rouge personal injury claim:
- Who is at Fault?
If the accident victim shares no fault for the accident that caused their injury, their compensation will typically be higher than if they were partially at fault. This is because the compensation the victim is ultimately awarded will be reduced by their own percentage of fault for the accident.
- How Serious Are the Victim’s Injuries?
Bruised ribs and soft tissue injuries are not as serious as a head injury or an injury that requires surgery and months of rehabilitation. The degree of injury and pain the accident victim has suffered and the length of their recovery are huge factors when it comes to the value of a personal injury claim.
- How Much Were the Victim’s Medical Bills and Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
The total combined amount of the victim’s medical bills is another major factor in determining the value of their injury claim. In general, the more expensive the victim’s medical bills, the more their claim may be worth, although this is not always true for every case.
- Will the Victim Need Future Medical Treatment or Long-Term Care?
If the victim’s doctor believes they will need additional treatment in the future and can put a price estimate on that treatment, the victim may be eligible for additional compensation to cover the cost of the predicted future treatment. Often, since both current and future medical expenses play a significant role in the amount of compensation an accident victim may be entitled to, the value of a personal injury claim cannot even be considered until the victim has fully recovered from their injuries.
- Did the Victim Seek Prompt Medical Attention?
Any delays in seeking medical attention may prompt the insurance company’s attorney to argue that the victim was not injured or that their injury is not as serious as they claim. For this reason, it is vital that the victim receives prompt treatment for any injuries they suffered, and that they complete their treatment without any missed appointments or delays.
- How Do the Victim’s Injuries Affect Their Life?
How an accident victim’s injuries affect their life also plays a role in determining the value of their personal injury claim. If the victim’s injuries prevent them from doing things they were able to do before the accident, their personal injury claim may be worth more in the eyes of a jury and can lead to greater compensation from the insurance company. What’s more, if the victim’s spouse or family has suffered loss of companionship or other related losses due to the victim’s injury, they might also be eligible for damages.
- How Much Work Has the Victim Missed?
Any loss of income directly related to the victim’s accident and injuries can impact the value of their case. But the victim’s employer must be able to verify their claims. If the victim is self-employed, proving loss of income can be a bit more complex, but the victim’s most recent tax returns should help determine any loss of earnings the victim might have suffered.
- Will There Be a Loss of Future Income Due to a Loss of Earning Capacity?
If the victim’s future earning capacity has been diminished due to their injuries, their compensation might be higher as a result. For instance, if the victim can no longer do the work they did before their injury and must change careers, or they are now partially or completely disabled, this will likely have a great effect on the value of their claim.
- Who is the At-fault Party?
Sometimes the at-fault party’s character can come into play during the claims process. If the at-fault party has a history of drunk driving or of being arrested, the jury may award the victim more compensation. On the other hand, if the victim was injured by a compassionate humanitarian who was on the way to deliver food to the homeless, the jury may be more forgiving. Another factor may be whether the at-fault party is a large company or an individual. Occasionally juries will demand higher compensation from defendants who are companies as opposed to those who are individuals.
- Is the At-fault Party Insured?
In the case of auto accidents, the amount of insurance the at-fault party has often dictates the maximum amount of compensation the victim can receive. If the at-fault party has no insurance at all, and the victim does not have the necessary insurance coverage for this situation, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, then the victim may have difficulty collecting any compensation, even if they are seriously injured.
- Are There Any Additional Aggravating Factors to Consider?
Aggravating factors can sometimes add to the value of a personal injury claim. For example, if the at-fault party was engaging in reckless or drunk driving, texting, or using a cell phone while driving, or street racing when the accident happened, the case may be worth more.
- Is the Victim Represented by an Aggressive Injury Lawyer?
Perhaps the most important factor that influences the value of a personal injury claim is whether the victim has an aggressive personal injury lawyer willing to fight hard for them. If not, they will most likely be pressured by the insurance company into settling for significantly less compensation than they could have received if they had hired a skilled injury lawyer to handle their claim.
Insurance companies know that accident victims who are not represented by an injury lawyer are much less likely to file a lawsuit if they don’t receive a reasonable settlement offer. On the other hand, by simply hiring an aggressive and experienced injury lawyer, Baton Rouge accident victims can significantly increase both the likelihood of a settlement offer and the value of the settlement.
Hire a Baton Rouge Injury Lawyer from Dudley DeBosier
Bear in mind not all injury lawyers in Baton Rouge are the same. Although most injury lawyers charge similar fees, not all injury lawyers obtain the same results. Hiring a lawyer with experience and a proven record of success handling personal injury cases can greatly affect how much money an accident victim ultimately recovers.
At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we will evaluate your personal injury claim during a free, no-obligation consultation. Once you become our client, we will handle your injury claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only get paid if we obtain compensation for you.
Contact us for a free case evaluation today. We love helping injury victims protect their future and recover the compensation they deserve.
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