The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are around 400,000 personal injury cases filed every year. With these hundreds of thousands of cases, the plaintiff receives such a wide range of financial compensation for their injuries. Because of this volatility, the team at i-Lawsuit investigated some potential factors that can impact the final payout. There are many factors that contribute to financial compensation, but here are five common ones.
Your State’s Comparative Negligence Laws
The comparative negligence law in the state where your accident happened has a huge influence on a personal injury case’s financial value. By definition, comparative negligence laws divvy up fault between the parties involved, and dictate if a plaintiff can even seek damages.
You can check the negligence laws for every state here, but the most common type of comparative negligence law is one called ‘modified comparative negligence law.’ Manning Law, a personal injury law firm in Denver, Colorado operates under this legal precedent, which states that the plaintiff’s damages get reduced by the percentage of fault that the plaintiff is found guilty of. Essentially, if a plaintiff is found at 20% fault for the accident, then they can collect 80% of the total damages awarded.
As you can imagine, this can severely impact the final compensation of a case. To get more information about your states’ negligence laws, here is a complete guide.
Severity of Injury
The severity of the injury sustained is one of the biggest factors that affects the financial compensation of a personal injury claim. Some considerations that help determine the severity of the injury include:
- How much does the injury impact your current daily life?
- How greatly will the injury impact your future quality of life?
- Will you require daily assistance?
- Does the injury stop you from doing a job you once performed easily?
If the injury alters your ability to care and provide for yourself, you will likely get much more financial compensation to help cover the costs of living.
Your individual personal injury case can be strengthened by ample evidence. Examples of strong evidence can include: video footage from a nearby store, traffic camera footage, eye witnesses that will testify, in depth police reports, etc. This helps your attorneys get an unbiased, third party recounting of the events that transpired.
This means, if you do have a witness at the scene of the accident, exchange contact information before they leave, if they cannot wait for the police to get there. Losing credible evidence and witness testimony can create a “he said she said” situation, making it difficult to assign the fault entirely on the other party.
Medical Treatments and Other Healthcare Documentation
Keeping a detailed account of the medical treatment you have received can impact the value of the case as well. This medical documentation does not only include hospital and doctors visits, but psychiatric care, chiropractic, massage therapy, whatever subsequent treatment you are advised to receive.
Keeping track of receipts and costs are especially important if the treatment you seek is out of your healthcare network. These numbers are harder to track down the further removed you are from the incident, so keep copies of everything just to be safe.
Personal Injury Attorneys Experience
Hiring the right attorney can greatly impact the final result. Ideally, you should be sure that any potential lawyer has a mix of trial and settlement experience. Additionally, experience with the same type of case can be helpful too.
In order to help clients decide on a law firm, many firms include a “case results” or “testimonials” page on their site. Haug Farrar & Franco, PLLC, a Mississippi personal injury firm utilizes client testimonials and other forms of customer feedback to show how well they perform in and out of the courtroom.
By researching the site itself, as well as third party review platforms like Yelp and Avvo, you can get a well-rounded look at how experienced your potential lawyer is.
There are many more factors that impact a personal injury settlement, but these five are some of the most common.