If you have recently been the victim of an auto accident, you will eventually start questioning what your auto accident claim is worth. Determining the value of your case is a crucial aspect of any car accident, both for you and your attorney. It affects many decisions, including when to settle versus when to go to trial.
What Determines the Value of an Auto Accident Claim?
The following are some factors your attorney will take into consideration to determine the value of your auto accident claim.
Three different types of damages available to you when evaluating the worth of your case. They are:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages, and
- Punitive damages.
Economic damages are those capable of being proven to an exact monetary amount. Usually, they are established with the help of bills and receipts. Economic damages typically consist of things like medical bills, medications, medical equipment, heating pads, and more. They also include lost income, lost sick leave, lost vacation, and traveling expenses to and from medical checkups.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to prove and quantify. They refer to the “pain and suffering” experienced by the accident. This includes emotional harm such as anxiety, stress, and depression. It also includes missing out on family events and social life. Permanent physical disability is also non-economic damage. There is no formula for assigning the value of these types of damages. Many attorneys and insurance companies will use multiple of your economic damages to come up with a number.
The third category of damages is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by the jury to punish the at-fault party for particularly bad or negligent behavior, such as drinking and driving. Typically, they are added on top of the other two types of damages. However, they are harder to get and are not available in every kind of car accident case.
The Insurance Coverage That Can Be Pursued
Third-Party Insurance from the At-Fault Driver
When you sue another driver for damages sustained in a car accident, it is typically the defendant’s car insurance company that pays the auto accident claim compensation amount you expect for your injuries. So, the defendant’s policy determines how much money you can realistically recover.
If the defendant’s car insurance policy only states a certain amount of money as the maximum coverage and the defendant has no other significant income or assets, then your case’s value will be equal to the defendant’s policy limit unless you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
Your Own First Party Insurance
Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If the at-fault driver in an accident doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, it can make the situation even worse. That’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes in in auto accident claims. It’s an extra insurance policy that covers you when the driver who caused the accident didn’t have enough insurance. It can help to cover expenses that cannot be wholly covered by the at-fault person’s insurance. So if you’re ever in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can rest assured knowing that you’re covered.
PIP is first-party insurance that helps pay for your auto accident-related expenses, no matter who is at fault. PIP can covers things like medical bills, lost wages, and other essential expenses you can submit a receipt for to your own insurance company.
In some states, PIP is mandatory, while in others it is optional. In Texas, insurance companies have to offer their insured parties PIP, and signed rejections are required demonstrating you have declined PIP.
PIP can be very beneficial in the event of an auto accident, as it can help cover expenses that you would otherwise have to pay out-of-pocket. If you are involved in an auto accident, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if PIP coverage is right for you.
The Strength of Your Case
Many issues affect the value of your case, and each case is different. You should always have a candid discussion with your attorney regarding what may increase or decrease the value of the auto accident claim before you attempt pre-suit settlement negotiations or going to trial. Your case has to be very strong and depends on many factors such as your age, general health at the time of the accident, the cost of your past, present, and future medical treatment, property damage, and even witness statements.
Each one of these factors can be complicated to put a monetary value on, but with the right injury attorney, they can sift through all the evidence, reports, and testimony and make sure that you get every penny that you are entitled to in your case.
The Venue in Which Your Accident Occurred
This means the court or county where your case could be filed. Usually, metropolitan counties tend to be more favorable to injury claimants than rural counties, which are typically more conservative. But, depending on how your attorney presents your case and you make a very genuine, sympathetic witness for yourself, rural, conservative judges are known to award more money.
The bottom line is that your car accident case is probably worth more than you think it is. The only way to know for sure is to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Get a FREE CONSULTATION Related to Your Auto Accident Claim
You can also find more information about auto accident claims by clicking this link. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney.
Contact one of our experienced accident attorneys at Thompson Law. We offer clients a free case evaluation and will help you get the proper medical treatment and compensation for your suffering. Call THE TEXAS FOURS 24/7 at (214) 444-4444, or toll-free at 1-800-LION-LAW.