Why Some Injury Victims Recover More than Others

lady justice statute looking aheadOne of the most common questions our lawyers get is, “What is the value of my personal injury claim?”

While this question may seem simple, answering it is not so easy. Every claim is different and there are many things that can affect each claim’s value.

Our experienced Savannah personal injury lawyers at Roden Law offer a free consultation to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your claim, including its potential value.

Reasons Claims are Valued Differently

There are many factors that can increase or decrease the value of a personal injury claim. Some of the most important factors include:

The Strength of the Evidence in Your Claim

For an insurance company to settle a claim or for a jury to rule in your favor, you must have strong evidence that establishes the following:

  • The defendant had a legal duty
  • The defendant breached this duty
  • By breaching the duty, the defendant caused your injuries
  • You suffered damages

Claims with strong evidence will be more valuable than claims in which liability or the value of damages is not clear.

Strong evidence may take many forms, such as:

  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Accident or police reports
  • Photographs or videos of the accident scene and your injuries
  • Employment records
  • Witness statements
  • Pain journal entries

A knowledgeable lawyer can investigate your claim and help you gather evidence to support it.

Insurance Limits

Most personal injury claims are settled for an amount within the defendant’s insurance limits. The insurance company will only typically pay up to the limit of coverage.

For example, if the defendant was an insured driver and had bodily injury liability policy worth $50,000, the most the insurance company would pay to settle the claim would most likely be $50,000. If your damages exceed this amount, you may be able to sue the other driver.

How Clear Liability Is

If it is clear and obvious that the defendant acted in a negligent or reckless manner, the claim is likely to be worth more than if liability is difficult to determine. Also, if the defendant acts with reckless disregard for your life or safety, punitive damages may be available if you sue the defendant, which would increase the potential value of your claim.

How Attorneys Determine the Value of Claims

Attorneys can identify potential sources of compensation for your claim and try to assign a value for your damages.

Some damages may be easier to quantify, such as the value of:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury

Psychological Damages

You may also be able to recover compensation for the psychological damages that were caused by your accident, also referred to as pain and suffering. You may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Shock
  • Fear
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

What is Comparative Negligence in Georgia?

Another factor that can affect the value of your claim is whether your own negligence contributed to the accident. If you are 50 percent or more at fault for an accident in the state of Georgia, you will be barred from recovering any compensation.

However, if you are 49 percent or less at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation from the other negligent party or parties under Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule. Your award will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you suffered damages of $50,000 and you are found to be 10 percent at fault, your award would be reduced by 10 percent, or $5,000. You would only be eligible to recover up to $45,000.

Call to Discuss the Potential Value of Your Claim

Each claim is different and involves unique factors. Contact Roden Law to discuss your claim with an experienced lawyer and learn about the potential value of your claim.

The consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action.