When you watch television and movies, they always make it look like personal injury victims get millions of dollars for their claim. This rarely happens. Most cases settle for little more than what you pay in medical bills.
It’s your personal injury lawyer’s job to help determine what your case is worth. Thankfully, they’ve been doing this for years so they know how it’s done. There’s a lot taken into consideration when they do this.
Some of the things a lawyer uses to determine the value of your case includes:
- Check to see what similar cases have settled for
- Look to see how strong the evidence is in your case
- Find out which insurance company you’re dealing with
- Review your medical bills and injuries
- Make sure they can prove the defendant was at fault
If, after looking at these things, your lawyer things your case has merit, they may offer to represent you. Contrary to public opinion, no competent lawyer is going to take a case that has no merit. Lawyer can’t afford to take on worthless cases. It wouldn’t make sense.
Your personal injury attorney also wants to get you as much money as possible. That’s their job. They’re going to want to fully review your case so they know every angle they can use to get you paid.
If you’ve been injured in any sort of accident, you should call and speak with an experienced lawyer in Crestview today. They’ll set up a time for you to come into the office for a consultation.
Your Lawyer Will Have to Prove Liability
In order for your case to have any value, your lawyer’s going to have to prove liability. This means they have to prove negligence. Personal injury lawyers in Florida know exactly what this entails.
In order to prove negligence, your lawyer needs to show the following four (4) things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – This isn’t usually difficult to prove. This duty depends on what kind of accident you were in. If you’re filing a medical malpractice claim, you’ll have to show the doctor had a duty to meet a minimum standard of care. For example, doctors have to be fully trained and qualified to perform certain procedures.
- They breached this duty – This is the hard part. Your attorney has to prove that the defendant did something out of the ordinary. In the example above, if a doctor cut off the wrong limb, there’s no question they’ve breached this duty. Most cases are not this clear cut. If you think about it, obvious cases like this will usually be paid by the insurance company. It’s the borderline cases that usually end up in a lawsuit.
- You were injured – As long as you sought medical care immediately following your accident, this shouldn’t be hard. This is why your Crestview personal injury lawyer always tells you to get medical care right away. The longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to prove your injuries.
- Your injuries were caused by their breach – Again, this shouldn’t be too difficult as long as you get treated for your injuries immediately. The longer the wait, the harder it’ll be to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. If you wait days or a week, the defendant will claim that something other than their actions caused your injuries. The jury may wonder why you waited so long to get treatment if your injuries were severe.
If your lawyer is able to prove these elements, you shouldn’t have a hard time winning your case.
Were You Partially at Fault?
One thing that can hurt your case is being partially at fault. Florida is a comparative negligence case. This means that your judgment can be reduced if you were partly responsible for your accident.
Your judgment will be reduced by your percentage of fault. As long as you’re less than 51% at fault, you can still recover. If you’re more than 50% at fault, your case will likely be dismissed.
For example, let’s say you were shopping at the grocery store and fell. You hurt your back and neck. You had been out drinking for a few hours prior to going shopping. You were stumbling a bit on your way through the store. You end up falling in the produce section in an area with a slippery floor.
The defendant may claim that you wouldn’t have fallen had you not been drunk. The court may find this to be true. Let’s say they find you 30% at fault.
If your total damages were $100,000, they’ll be reduced by $30,000. Since, instead of receiving the full $100,000, you’ll only get $70,000.
How Strong is Your Evidence?
The first thing your lawyer will want to do is examine the evidence in your case. They’re going to have to prove liability, injuries and damages. They’re also going to have to deal with the insurance company.
In order to get you compensation, your evidence has to be pretty strong. If you can’t negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you’ll have to file suit. This means you’ll need to convince a jury that the other party was at fault.
Some of the types of evidence your Crestview injury lawyer will use in court include the following:
- Witness statements
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Wage statements and tax returns to prove income
- Timesheets to prove how much time you missed from work
- Pictures and videos
- Police report
- Accident or injury report
All of these things will help prove your case in court. Your attorney has to weigh each piece of evidence and determine if the jury will find it credible. This will help determine how much they think your case is worth.
What are the Insurance Limits?
One thing that will affect how much you can demand are insurance police limits. There are two (2) kinds of limits: Per Person and Per Accident. The defendant’s insurance policy only covers a certain amount of damages.
The per person amount is how much the insurance company will pay each person in an accident case. It doesn’t matter how many people are involved. Each one will be entitled to the same amount.
The other types is the per accident limit. This can hurt your case. If the total accident will only pay out $100,000, all the victims combined can’t receive more than $100,000. So, if there are three (3) plaintiffs and each one is demanding $50,000, someone (or everyone) will be unhappy.
The insurance company won’t decide how much each person gets. They simply deposit the $100,000 with the courts and let the plaintiffs’ attorneys fight for their client. How much you get depends on how good your personal injury lawyer in Crestview is at arguing your case.
Special and General Damages
There are two (2) main types of damages: Special and General. Your case’s value is the combined total of both types.
Special damages are made up of the following:
- Medical and chiropractic bills
- Out of pocket expenses related to your injuries
- Therapy and treatment bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
You need to present proof for each type of special damages. This is why it’s important that you keep receipts and records.
General damages are non-economic damages. These are made up of pain and suffering as well as emotional distress. These are much harder to estimate. Generally speaking, your pain and suffering damages go up if your injuries are more serious.
In order to calculate general damages, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your special damages by 2. So, if your special damages are $100,000, your lawyer will demand $200,000 in general damages.
For more serious injuries, your general damages may be higher. Your lawyer may demand 3 or 4 times as much if your injuries will cause lifelong pain and suffering.
Once you’ve calculated your special and general damages, you’ll want to consider venue. Where your accident takes place can be very important. If you live in an urban area, you may get more money for your injuries than if you lived in the suburbs.
Your Crestview injury lawyer is going to look at past cases. They can review cases with similar fact patterns and see what they settled for. One way to do this is to search by city or region. Your attorney has the necessary skills to figure out how much your case is worth.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Crestview, Florida Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida, you’re going to want to know how much it’s worth. You need to call and speak with an experienced injury attorney in Crestview today. They can schedule your free initial consultation right away.
The insurance company will have lawyers working for them and you should too.