In a previous blog, I discussed why victims of motor vehicle accidents should hire an attorney. Perhaps you’ve just been involved in a motor vehicle accident wherein you were stopped at a red light, when the vehicle behind you slammed into your rear-end. Your neck and back hurt; maybe your face is scratched or burned from the airbag opening due to the impact. You are disoriented, in pain, and probably quite confused. Why didn’t they hit their brakes? Or maybe you were proceeding through an intersection with a green light, when an oncoming vehicle attempted to “beat the light,” failed, and came directly into your right of way without allowing you enough time to avoid a collision.
Immediately post-accident, you will possibly be checked out by paramedics, should they come to the scene. Speak to the police to help them fill out their report. Perhaps you will be taken by ambulance to a hospital, or you or your family will take you to an urgent care facility to be further evaluated by a medical doctor. As discussed previously, you should consult, and likely hire, an attorney to ensure that your injuries are justly compensated by the other driver’s (and often your own) insurance company.
However, determining just how much any particular case is worth is a difficult endeavor. Insurance companies and, at a later time in your case, juries tend to evaluate your case based on many factors, the most common and basic I will discuss below.
The first consideration is who is “at fault” or where liability lies. Florida is a Comparative Negligence state, which means that a person’s responsibility for an accident essentially acts as a determining factor in how much of the damage caused in an accident that person is responsible for. In an accident where a party is found to be 60% at fault for $20,000.00 worth of damages, they will only be financially responsible for 60% of $20,000.00, or $12,000.00.
Next insurance companies and juries consider whether you, the Plaintiff, have had similar injuries in the past. While previously suffering from or even receiving a settlement for, the same or similar injuries does not act as a bar to recovery, it does act to limit the amount of value an injury (or “aggravation” as the Insurance Defense industry describes it) carries.
Finally, the most important factor is the actual damage or injury sustained. Certain injuries are more “valuable” than others. This is because some injuries cause longer, more permanent impairments, or having longer more painful recoveries associated with them. Or, in some cases, a full recovery can never truly be had. A personal injury Plaintiff incurs medical bills in the process of treating for his/her injuries. The size, reasonableness, and whether the treatment is related to the injuries in question, all play a role in the value determination made by insurance companies and juries. A Plaintiff that merely receives massage therapy for a single disc bulge has not incurred the same amount of damage as a Plaintiff that underwent a multi-level disc fusion or some other invasive surgery.
There are a multitude of factors that affect the value of your personal injury lawsuit. In fact, even the quality of attorney that a Plaintiff hires to represent them can greatly affect the outcome of their case. That is why it is of the utmost importance that a personal injury claimant (and eventual Plaintiff) carefully vets their choice for representation. Not only will the attorney hired be the best person to help evaluate your case from an objective position, but who they are will also play a role in the amount of value placed on your case by the insurance company and eventually, a jury.
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in an automobile, motorcycle, or trucking accident, you should consult with a law firm with experience handling automobile accident personal injury claims to ensure that you, the victim, receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, or future loss of income. The Dolman Law Group serves personal injury clients all over the state of Florida from their conveniently located Clearwater office. Call for a case evaluation today at 727-451-6900, and rest assured that our team is ready and willing to take the case as far as necessary to reach an appropriate resolution for your case.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765