Determining Car Accident Claim Value
When you experience serious injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you want justice. Mounting medical bills and lost wages add to your stress and frustration. Pursuing—and securing—compensation from the person responsible for the accident isn’t easy. Insurance companies are clever and quick to confuse you with low dollar settlements or by assigning blame. Exactly how much you should expect from a car accident depends upon a variety of factors. To determine your options for litigation, consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney.
Economic versus Noneconomic Damages
The physical, financial, and emotional toll of a car accident due to the negligence of another person is overwhelming. Pursuing compensation is important—and your right—for easing your stress. Civil action can also hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and perhaps prevent them from repeating the same behavior in the future. Damages from a car accident typically fall under two categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic Damages in a Car Accident Claim
Expenses that are easy to assign a price tag too are easier to calculate. Medical bills, for example, have numerical values that make it easy to understand how much to award a car accident victim. Items such as medications, hospital stays, and therapies are common types of medical expenses that are economic damages.
Other economic damages may include:
- Past and future lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Household services
- Property damage
Economic damages are tangible expenses, meaning they are what they are, no matter who determines your compensation.
Noneconomic Damages in a Car Accident Claim
The emotional and psychological stress of your accident is harder for others to understand. There is no fixed dollar amount to assign to your pain and suffering. The number of noneconomic damages awarded can vary depending upon who determines your compensation.
Examples of what qualifies as noneconomic damages include:
Determining noneconomic damages is subjective and the process for presenting them complex. In some cases, an attorney may need to call upon expert witnesses to provide important testimony. A personal injury attorney understands how to present your case to the jury for securing the best possible outcome for you.
Pursuing noneconomic damages requires the skills of a licensed and highly skilled personal injury attorney—one that understands state and federal laws regarding compensation.
It is a delicate balance in pursuing economic and noneconomic damages. Discussing your case with a Florida personal injury attorney is a smart idea. By scheduling a free case evaluation, you can learn what your options are for a civil action and for securing possible compensation.
Common Types of Serious Car Accident Injuries
No matter how defensively you drive, a dangerous driver can appear out of nowhere. There is often little you can do to avoid the forceful impact of a collision.
Common types of serious car accident injuries include one—or more—of the following:
The Consequences of Severe Car Accident Injuries
Some patients with severe brain injury may require around-the-clock care. With the average nursing home costs ranging between $8000-$9,000 per month in Florida, the costs can quickly accumulate into more than you can financially manage. No one should have to manage such costs when your loved one’s injuries are due to the negligence of another person.
For patients with a spinal cord injury, their immediate needs and future costs are very expensive. Home modifications, the purchase of an accessible vehicle, and a power chair for mobility are costly. The lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury can reach into the millions of dollars each year.
Watching your loved one struggle with daily tasks is heartbreaking and frustrating. Knowing their injuries were preventable is maddening. If a driver failed to share the road and caused serious harm to you or a loved one, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney without delay.
Common Causes of Serious Accidents
A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. Many drivers forget this as they participate in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. It only takes a second for your life to change due to a driver participating in one or more of the following behaviors:
Distracted Driving a Major Cause of Car Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), distracted driving is anything that does the following:
- Takes your eyes off the road
- Takes your hands off the wheel
- Takes your mind off driving
Texting behind the wheel does all three. Other types of distracted driving include eating, reaching for something, or programming a navigational device. The CDC reports that distracted driving kills nine people and results in 1,000 injuries each day in the United States.
As people continue to drive distracted, to speed, and to drive after drinking with friends, all Florida drivers remain at risk for serious harm. If you experienced serious injuries due to a negligent driver who failed to share the road in a responsible manner, consider pursuing legal action.
Cases Involving Wrongful Death
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, it can help ease your financial burden.
With the average cost of a funeral in the United States falling between $7,000 and $9,000, how to pay for services and burial is financially stressful. A wrongful death claim can potentially help pay for the following:
- Medical bills for the attempts to save your loved one
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages and potential future earnings of your loved one
- Loss of companionship
Economic and noneconomic damages are also a part of wrongful death claims. Any medical bills your loved one experienced are relatively easy for determining compensation. The loss of companionship is less tangible, and harder to assign a monetary value.
The Wrongful Death Claim Process
A personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process of a wrongful death claim. Those familiar with such cases understand that this is a very emotional and trying time for you and your family. You need the compassion they can provide you as a client and the determination they use to pursue fair compensation.
An attorney can also help you and your family understand who can file a wrongful death claim. State law is specific in who qualifies for pursuing litigation on behalf of the descendant.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is a much shorter time period than cases involving personal injury. Florida law allows two years for a wrongful death claim—time that can pass in the blink-of-an-eye when you are grieving.
Reaching out to a personal injury attorney to discuss your options is an important first step toward justice for your loss. Civil actions have no bearing on any possible criminal proceedings. If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, you may want to give careful thought to contacting an attorney as soon as possible.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
The reckless actions of another driver can change your life forever. You must learn to deal with your injuries and the medical care that you need. The immediate hours, days, weeks, and months following your accident are often a blur.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to reach out to you soon after the accident. As for-profit businesses, their interest is in protecting their bottom line. They generally like to settle cases quickly and for the least amount possible. While their initial offer may seem like a large amount to you and your family, it may not appropriately cover your future medical needs.
To protect your best interests, do not speak with insurance representatives. If you do, you may make a statement they can use against you in assigning blame for the accident.
Insurance Companies Can Use Dirty Tricks
An attorney experienced with personal injury cases can provide the legal representation you need during this difficult time. Personal injury attorneys are well-aware of the tactics insurance companies use to try to get accident victims to accept initial settlement offers.
The first settlement offer is typically a low dollar amount. While it may cover some of your current medical expenses, it most likely is not enough for on-going care. Negotiating for a fair settlement is how a personal injury attorney can help you and your family.
Negotiation of a Settlement is Not Simple
Trying to negotiate a settlement on your own can only lead to disappointment. The insurance companies are too skilled at what they do to take on alone. By securing the services of a licensed attorney, you can rest easier knowing your case is in good hands.
Most personal injury cases are settled out-of-court. Should an attorney be unable to reach a fair settlement for you through negotiations, they should be ready and willing to go to trial.
Why You Must Contact an Attorney Immediately
When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, time is not on your side. The statute of limitations is a state law that allows a certain time period for pursuing a civil action. In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of injury, and the clock starts ticking the date of the accident.
While four years seems like a long time, it can pass quickly. An attorney needs time to review police reports, interview witnesses, and to prepare your case for negotiations. Pursuing civil litigation takes time. As with your physical condition, there is no quick fix for your financial stress. Rushing to accept a settlement too soon can leave you without the quality medical care you deserve.
No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that occur due to the negligence of another person. If your commute to work or a trip to the store turned tragic in a second, due to a careless driver, and resulted in life-changing injuries, you deserve justice.
Potential Settlements Take Time
A serious car accident turns your world upside down. You now face expenses that you never expected, and you may never return to a career you once loved. Your injuries were not your fault, and were not fair. A personal injury attorney can help you hold those responsible for the accident accountable for their actions.
While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Determining the best course of action is best left to a legal professional. Whether it is negotiating with an insurance company or presenting to a jury, making the best case possible is essential for a successful outcome.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations and collect no fee unless they secure compensation for you. You have nothing to lose by consulting with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
Experiencing a sudden and traumatic car accident that leaves you with serious injuries is extremely stressful. Not only are you left worrying about your finances but you deal with painful procedures, a long recovery, and missed time with loved ones.
Practice patience during this stressful time. This includes patience with yourself and your legal team. There is no quick fix to your new problems, but there is the opportunity to pursue the justice you deserve. If you experienced serious injuries due to the negligence of another person, you have four years to pursue litigation. If you lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person, you have two years to pursue a civil action.
It is difficult to determine the exact amount of a possible settlement. But by securing legal representation as soon as possible, you may have a better idea of what your options are and how you can take action against the responsible person.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765