When a person suffers injuries due to the negligence of another party, they have a personal injury case. This means the victim is entitled to financial compensation. However, one question our Douglasville personal injury attorneys have encountered severally is how much their case is worth.
Several factors determine the worth of a personal injury case, and we’ll look at them in this article. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from another person’s negligent actions, contact our legal team at the Law Office of John B. Jackson.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case is a legal dispute arising from the negligent, malicious, or intentional harm a person causes another. The person who performs the hurtful action is the at-fault party, and the one affected is the victim.
The responsible party pays compensation to the injured person through their insurance company. This money generally covers costs of medical treatment and other ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
There are different types of personal injury cases. We discuss some of them below.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
A motor vehicle accident is one of the leading causes of death and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits in Georgia. In 2020, the state recorded 331,798 traffic accidents, out of which 124,493 suffered injuries and 1,730 died.
These crashes are caused primarily due to driver’s negligence and sometimes due to external factors. This includes:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Running red lights or disobeying traffic signals
- Mechanical failure
- Driver’s fatigue
- Adverse road or weather conditions
- Illegal lane change, etc
Georgia is an at-fault car accident insurance state, meaning that the at-fault party’s insurance handles compensation. So, after a crash, the victim, through their attorney, can file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
A medical practitioner — doctor, nurse, medical laboratory scientist, etc. — must use the utmost standard of care when treating patients. If they fail to do so, and such negligence results in injury or death, they will be liable for medical negligence.
Common examples of medical malpractice cases are:
- Surgical negligence
- Prescription and medication error
- Negligent medical advice
- Pregnancy and birth injuries
Medical negligence cases are hard to prove as not all negative outcomes amount to malpractice. However, experienced lawyers know what constitutes negligent conduct and can prove it. So, hire one if you suspect medical malpractice.
A product liability case arises when manufacturers fail to produce safe products and sell them to the public. For example, if a defective brake caused a single-vehicle car crash, you can bring a product liability case against the vehicle or parts manufacturer.
There are different types of product liability cases, but they fall within three broad categories, namely:
- Defective manufacture
- Defective design
- Failure to provide adequate warning
Product manufacturers often deny liability when their goods injure a customer. However, they also have an experienced legal team working for them. So, when going up against them, ensure Douglasville personal injury attorneys represent you.
Other personal injury cases are dog bites and premises liability (slip and fall). Sometimes, a workers’ compensation case might become a personal injury claim if the:
- Employer lacks work comp insurance
- The employer intentionally harmed the employee, or
- A third-party caused the accident that injured the employee.
We handle all the types of personal injury cases discussed here at the Law Office of John B. Jackson.
Douglasville Attorneys Explain the Worth of a Personal Injury Case
It’s not uncommon to meet injury victims who have a specific number they want as compensation. While there is nothing wrong with this, most people arrive at ridiculous figures based on what they heard or saw on TV.
For example, the story could be, “Mr. A got $100,000 as an insurance settlement for a rear-end accident. So, I expect to get the same, or something close.”
This victim failed to consider that their injury, monetary, and property losses may not be the same as Mr. A. This is because no two-car accidents are the same. The two occurrences may be rear-end collisions, but the cause and consequences would likely differ.
Therefore, to know the worth of a personal injury case, each claim is considered based on its facts and circumstances. Below are factors that affect your claim’s worth.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages refer to the money spent on medical treatment, the wages lost while recovering, and other out-of-pocket expenses. It also covers the cost of future medical expenses or equipment and income projections if the injury leaves you unable to work.
Non-economic damages pay for the non-physical and non-monetary effects of the accident. Hence they do not have a fixed dollar value. It includes emotional anguish, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, etc.
These two types of settlement form compensatory damages. Therefore, the total amount of economic damages multiplied by a number from one to ten determines how much you get as a settlement.
- The severity of your injury
- Your income before the accident
- The value of a damaged property
- The mental and emotional effects of the injury, and
- How much you spent on associated costs determines your case’s worth.
A personal injury case’s worth increases if the evidence allows the victim to ask for punitive damages. Here, the at-fault party must have behaved maliciously or caused harm intentionally. The presence of either of the two means your lawyer files a lawsuit and not an insurance claim.
Insurance companies do not pay punitive damages because the auto liability insurance policy does not cover it. In addition, Georgia places a $250,000 cap on this settlement, meaning that you can not get more than that amount. Also, 75% of the damages go to the state treasury. However, when combined with compensatory damages, your payment increases significantly.
Comparative negligence massively affects a personal injury case’s worth. Under the Georgia comparative negligence rule, if a victim contributed to the accident, their fault percentage will be subtracted from their compensation.
If your liability is 20%, your case’s worth drops by that percentage, leaving you only with 80% of the settlement. So, suppose you have a $100,000 compensation. The insurance company or court takes out 20%, leaving you with $80,000.
Finally, if your fault is 50% or higher, your personal injury case has no worth because you cannot file a compensation claim.
Do You Need Expert Legal Help? Contact Douglasville Personal Injury Attorneys
Trying to determine your case’s worth while recovering from the physical and mental effects of an injury is unwise. Instead, let a Douglasville injury attorney help you. At the Law Office of John B. Jackson, we have the experience and legal knowledge needed to calculate the value of your case. We will get you what you deserve and not a penny less, so call today for a free case review.