Wondering how much your case is worth is normal. When you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s perfectly natural to question how much your case is worth because the money that you win will be used to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
What Determines How Much a Case is Worth?
How much a case is worth depends on many factors, including but not limited to the cause of the auto accident, the severity of accident injuries, the earning potential of those involved in a car accident, and more.
In general, there are two types of monetary compensation available to car accident injury victims: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Types of Compensation for Car Accident Claims: Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are those damages that compensate victims for financial losses related to their injuries. Truck and auto accidents can result in all sorts of financial losses, including those related to:
- Medical bills. Medical care is expensive, especially emergency room and trauma care like that commonly needed after a serious automobile or motorcycle accident. Accident victims are entitled to recover the cost of past, present and future medical care that results from their injuries.
- Lost wages. If someone’s accident injuries prevent them from being able to work, they are entitled to recover current and future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering. Not only are accident victim’s entitled to receive compensation for their physical suffering, they are entitled to recover losses due to mental and emotional distress too. It is important to know that some states (including Wisconsin) limit the amount that someone may recover for pain and suffering, which can affect how much a case is worth.
- Loss of normal life. If your car accident injuries prevent you from pursuing a normal, pleasurable life (for instance, they prevent you from engaging in exercise, hobbies or social activities) you may be able to recover damages for a “loss of normal life.”
- Other compensatory damages. Other types of less well-known compensatory damages include loss of consortium (or marital distress), increased risk of future harm, disfigurement, shortened life expectancy, and future expenses (including that for care-taking).
Types of Compensation for Car Accident Claims: Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are also called “punishment damages” because they are intended to punish the liable party for extremely negligent, intentional or reckless behavior. Punitive damages can be trivial or they can be extremely significant, depending on the facts of the case and the financial standing of the guilty party. In general, punitive damages are reserved exclusively for the most extreme cases of negligence or intentional behavior (such as a company that knowingly manufacturers a faulty or life-threatening product).
Potential Limitations on How Much a Case Is Worth
In general, there are two primary factors that can affect how much your case is worth:
- Who is liable for your injuries? The amount of monetary compensation that someone can recover from an accident often largely rests with who is at fault for their injuries. If someone else is entirely at fault, the victim is usually entitled to receive all compensatory damages. If, however, the victim is also at fault for the accident, they may not be entitled to recover any compensatory damages.Partial fault can also come into play. For instance, if it is determined that someone is 30% at fault for a car accident, they may only receive 70% of the total compensatory damages.
- Did the injured party try to “mitigate” their damages? To mitigate your damages means to minimize aggravating your injuries. If an injured party does not mitigate their damages (by refusing to seek prompt medical attention, following through with doctor’s instructions, or behaving in physically careless ways that could aggravate their injuries), they may find their compensatory damages award reduced.
Get a Free Legal Consultation to Help Understand How Much Your Case is Worth
While no one can tell you exactly how much your case is worth until it is actually settled, a good lawyer can help you understand what factors influence how much a case is worth and what you can do to increase your chances of getting a recovery for your losses.
For a free legal consultation to better understand your car accident case and your rights, call auto accident lawyer Karl Gebhard. He will act swiftly to help you protect your rights and recover your losses. All services offered on a contingency basis.
For your free consultation, call today at 414-873-6550.