How Much Will My Personal Injury Case Settle For?
For those that have been negligibly injured in an accident, a natural question arises, and that is, “How much will my personal injury case settle for?” The answer to that question depends on a number of factors that must be considered. Each case is, of course, different with its own set of facts and circumstances. In order to determine how much a particular case is worth, we must look at three things:
- Insurance coverage available
Once those three things are evaluated, then you can accurately estimate the value of a personal injury case. Before one can even bring a claim, it must be shown that a person or company is liable for the injuries that were caused. Liability essentially means legal liability to someone for the losses that he or she caused to someone else.
In the context of a car accident case, if you rear-end someone else’s vehicle, you are more than likely going to be deemed liable or negligent. Or if a store owner failed to clean from the floor a spilled substance and someone slips and falls, as a result, depending on the facts, liability may attach to the store owner for failing to reasonably take care of the floor for its customers.
Liability is the first consideration that must be looked at. Because, without it, there is no case to pursue, to begin with. The second element we look to in determining how much a personal injury case is worth is the amount of damages. Damages is a legal term referring to any and all losses that were caused by the accident. These are comprised of medical bills that arise in the accident, as well as lost wages that accrue from one’s inability to work following the accident.
Additionally, pain and suffering damages come into play as well. The more severe the injuries, the more likely it is that great pain and suffering was caused to the injury victim. Pain and suffering is really more of an art than it is a science. Each human being responds differently to pain; so, therefore, the amount of pain and suffering due to a particular person is very, very fact-specific. Other damages that may arise from a personal injury accident may be scarring, or a limp that results in the accident, or any and all other residual effects to one’s person that did not exist at the time of the accident. Keep in mind there is no pain and suffering for workers’ compensation cases in Massachusetts.
The third element that we look to in determining and evaluating personal injury cases is the amount of insurance coverage available. For a minor accident, the amount of coverage doesn’t usually come into play. However, for more serious personal injury accidents such as product liability cases or wrongful death cases, the amount of insurance coverage available does come into play quite a bit. For those types of cases, frequently, there are numerous defendants that are sued, and therefore, numerous insurance policies can be reached.
As a general rule, most individuals carry very low insurance limits. For example, on a personal automobile policy, the vehicle owner’s insurance coverage may only be $20,000 in liability coverage. However, if the vehicle that was negligent for causing the motor vehicle accident is a commercial vehicle, chances are, that insurance policy is going to be significant and could be as much as a million dollars.
Therefore, a good starting point when evaluating the settlement value of a personal injury case is looking at liability, damages, and available insurance coverage. Once those areas are evaluated, only then can one, with any degree of precision, estimate the value of a personal injury case. If you or someone you know needs a Boston personal injury attorney, I encourage you to call us at 617-444-7777 for your free, no-obligation consultation.