How Do I Know What My Personal Injury Case is Worth?
Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on Aug 21, 2017 in Personal Injury
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, before you take legal action, you should understand how much your case may actually be worth.
The monetary value of a personal injury case is determined by the suffering and loss you incurred because of the accident, referred to as “damages.”
Because each personal injury case is unique, it is impossible to place a definitive value on your case without fully reviewing the circumstances surrounding your accident.
For this reason, it is in your best interest to consult with a reliable Knoxville personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case to accurately estimate what it may be worth.
Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined legal experience in helping victims of negligence receive hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. This experience has enabled us to quickly asses a claim to determine if you have a valid case and the amount of damages you may be able to receive.
Compensatory damages attempt to make you “whole” after an accident. Essentially, these damages repay you for the financial and personal losses you have endured as a result of the accident and put a monetary figure on your suffering. Some of these damages include:
One of the most significant factors in determining the value of your case is the cost of your medical treatment after the accident. This will likely make up the majority of your compensation award.
This includes compensation for any medical treatment you have already received before consulting with an attorney, as well as reimbursement for any future treatment you may require because of the accident.
In order for our attorneys to determine an accurate amount of compensation for your medical expenses, we will consider the cost for:
- Hospital bills
- Diagnostic testing
- Prescription medication
- Imaging tests
- Medical equipment
The more severe your injuries and the higher your medical costs, the higher your compensation award will likely be.
Another factor that will help determine the value of your claim is the amount of wages you have lost because of the accident. This will depend on the amount of time you missed from work if your injuries prevented you from working.
If your injury is so severe that it prevents you from earning future income, your attorney will consider this when determining your claim’s value. This is referred to as “lost earning capacity,” which is the amount of money you would have earned if you had not been injured in the accident.
Pain and Suffering
Another important aspect in determining the value of a personal injury case is the amount of pain and suffering the victim has endured because of his or her injuries from the accident.
This includes compensation for both the physical and mental pain and discomfort you may be experiencing.
Physically, your injuries may prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed before the accident. This is known as “loss of enjoyment of life” and may entitle you to additional compensation.
Accidents and injuries can also cause emotional distress that affect your ability to live a normal life. In these cases, compensation may be available for mental pain and suffering such as:
- Emotional Trauma
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is compensation for the suffering your spouse or loved ones have endured if you are no longer able to provide them with the same love, affection, companionship, comfort or sexual relations as you did before the accident.
In rare instances, a personal injury lawsuit may enable the victim to be awarded punitive damages. However, these damages are not meant as compensation for your injury. Instead, punitive damages are intended as a form of monetary punishment to deter the at-fault party and others from committing these actions again.
In Tennessee, you can only be awarded punitive damages if you are able to prove the at-fault party acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently or recklessly in causing your injury.
Punitive damages in Tennessee are also limited to an amount that does not exceed more than two times the amount of compensatory damages you have been awarded, or $500,000, according to TCA § 29-39-104.
Tennessee uses the rule of modified comparative negligence to determine damages and liability in a personal injury case.
Under this rule, your actions are examined by the court and compared to the other party involved in the accident. Each party will be assigned a percentage of fault for causing the accident. The value of your case will then be reduced by the percentage you have been assigned.
For example, if you have filed a lawsuit for $100,000 and the court finds that you are 30 percent at fault, your case’s value would be reduced to $70,000.
However, if the court determines your level of negligence is 50 percent or more, you cannot pursue compensation from the other party involved in the accident.
Contact an Attorney in Knoxville
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important for you to know the factors an attorney will use to determine the value of your case.
Our attorneys are ready to review your claim during a free, no obligation consultation to determine if you have a valid personal injury case. All of our additional services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront charges and we only require payment if we help you recover compensation for your case.
Call (865) 247-0080 to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Knoxville.