It is impossible to place a value on the pain and suffering a victim and his or her family suffers after a personal injury accident. Because the legal system cannot undo what has already been done, the only recourse it can provide is a monetary award for the accident victim. However, there is not a standard formula for calculating the value of a personal injury claim. Several factors impact how much you can receive for your claim.
Hiring an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney can help increase your chance of recovering full value for your claim. Call (916) 999-9000 to request a free consultation with one of our California personal injury lawyers.
Factors Used in Calculating the Value of Your Injury Claim
Types of Damages
One of the first factors to consider is the types of damages you may be entitled to recover. Damages are divided into financial and non-financial damages. Financial damages are your out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, travel expenses, and other costs related to the accident, your injuries, and your recovery. You are entitled to recover dollar-for-dollar these expenses. Therefore, tracking and documenting all financial losses increases the value of your claim.
The other type of damages is non-economical or pain and suffering damages. These damages include physical pain, permanent disability, scarring, emotional suffering, and disfigurement. Because you cannot place a “price tag” on these damages, we use several factors to calculate the value of your pain and suffering such as:
- The types of injuries sustained;
- The length of your recovery;
- Whether you have permanent scarring, disability, or disfigurement;
- The pain level you experience each day;
- Any activities you cannot perform because of your injuries; and,
- The impact on your social and family relationships.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to use this information to maximize the amount you can recover for pain and suffering damages.
Your Responsibility for the Accident
If you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation can be reduced under California’s comparative negligence standard. If a jury finds that you were somewhat at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Therefore, if the jury determines your contribution to the accident was 30 percent, your compensation will be reduced by 30 percent.
The At-Fault Party’s Ability to Pay
You can obtain a million-dollar judgment against the negligent party, but if that person carries minimum insurance and has very few assets, your chance of collecting the full amount is unlikely. For example, many people carry minimum liability insurance for car accidents. If the person does not have any other assets to seize, you are limited to the $15,000 bodily injury coverage.
For this reason, you may want to consider carrying underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Your UIM coverage pays the difference between the other person’s policy limits and your actual damages up to the limits of your policy. UIM coverage can help ensure you recover the full value of your claim or as close to that value as possible.
Call a Sacramento Injury Attorney for More Information
Contact The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website for a free legal consultation with a California accident lawyer. Our law firm serves clients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, El Dorado Hills and other communities in the greater Sacramento area.