One of the most common questions victims have is how much their personal injury claim is worth.
This is not a simple question to answer, as many factors can affect the value of a claim. On the other hand, there are some guidelines that help personal injury attorneys determine how much they should settle the case for if the defendant is willing to pay. These guidelines are fairly uniform and reflect the realities of many previous personal injury settlements.
- Economic damages. The first calculation your attorney will make is your current and projected economic damages. Also called “special damages,” these include things like medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your property, such as a vehicle. It is very important to have an accurate assessment of your economic damages so that you will have money to continue to pay your living expenses during your recuperation.
- Non-economic damages. These damages include things that cannot be measured easily in terms of dollars. One of the most common types of non-economic damages is “pain and suffering.” However, there are also several other categories of non-economic, or general, damages. Sometimes your spouse or children’s loss of enjoyment of your company or other issues may arise and are counted in with these damages. Calculating these types of damages may be much more complicated than figuring out economic damage totals.
Once you have a baseline of your economic damages, attorneys will often use an approximation to calculate your non-economic damages. As no two people are exactly the same, non-economic damages can range widely from one victim to another. It is unwise, for this reason, to base your settlement ideas on someone else’s experience.
In general, the younger and healthier you were before the accident; the more support you provided for your family; and the better your prospects of increased income or other opportunities, the higher your damages will be. However, that does not mean that you should discount the effect of your pain and suffering, especially if the defendant acted in a way that was clearly dangerous or wrong. Many cases have been settled for large amounts, even when the victim was older or younger, had already retired or was not yet working, or was unable to provide for his or her family even before the accident.
The key to coming up with the right figure for your personal injury settlement is having the guidance of an attorney who has a wide range of experience in settling these types of claims. You do not want to trust your future, and your possible settlement amount, to someone who is inexperienced. You want to be able to rely on your attorney’s understanding, and the best way to do that is to choose a lawyer with a proven track record in getting good settlements for his or her client.
At Barber & Associates, we have been helping Alaska personal injury victims for many years. With the help of our professional and knowledgeable attorneys, you can be sure that your claim will receive the maximum possible value. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover compensation for your personal injury case.