What is My Car Accident Injury Case Worth?
Perhaps the single most frequently asked question that an injury attorney receives on a given day is what is my car accident injury case worth? If you are asking this question, this it is highly likely that you have not gotten a straight forward answer from an Attorney and have not found that magical calculator to figure out your case is worth $_______ . The reason for this is because each case value is based on the facts of the accident. There is no magical formula such as 3x medical bills or 5x medical bills, although these theories are still out there. So the real question remains, what is your case worth? Well to begin, a few of the factors that determine the case value are as follows:
Facts of Accident:
a). Who was at-fault? – This is the basic clearing house question that you will be asked. If you were at-fault or listed at-fault on the police report then your chance of recovery is nearly 0% in Alabama. This is due to Alabama being a contributory negligent state. This means that if you were even 1% at-fault and the other person was 99% at-fault you would not be able to recover because you contributed to the accident.
b). Was a police report filed? – Always very important to have a police report filed and obtained to review what the officer’s opinion was concerning who caused the accident.
c). Witnesses – witnesses are always very important to any case. If you do not have witnesses it does not extremely hurt your cases in situations such as rear end collisions because it is pretty clear who caused the accident. However, if you have an accident at an intersection where both parties claim they had the green light, then witnesses make or break a case.
d). Photos or Videos of the scene – Pictures and especially video can be very helpful in showing not only who caused the accident, but the severity of the impact., was there a police report filed, are their witnesses, are their photos of the scene.
e). Property damage – If there was little to no property damage to your case, then this decreases your case significantly because it is hard to show mechanism for injury. This is not to say this is impossible, it is just an uphill battle. On the other side of the coin, a totaled out vehicle shows a significant impact so this adds value to the case because it justifies the treatment and backs up the causation of the injury.
a). Commercial Vehicle/ 18 wheeler – If the person that hit you was driving a commercial vehicle or 18 wheeler then this significantly increases the value of your case.
b). DUI/ Leaving the Scene of Accident– If the defendant was charged with DUI or left the scene of the accident then this adds significant value to the case.
c). Criminal/ Traffic history – If the at-fault party has a significant criminal/traffic history then this adds value to the case.
a). Ambulance and Hospital – Medical treatment is very important. If you went by Ambulance to the Hospital or just went to the hospital by private vehicle then this shows immediate injury and thus adds value to the case of say someone who did not report injury at the scene.
b). Type of Injury – The value of a case is based on the severity of your injury. Death is obviously the most severe injury one can suffer and on the opposite side of the scale is no injury at all. If you suffered broken bones, had to have surgery, have permanent scarring or permanent restrictions then your case is worth more and should be worth more than someone with soft tissue injury that went to a chiropractor for a couple weeks.
c). Pre-existing Injury– If you had a pre-existing injury and it was re-injured or aggravated as a result of the accident, then this may diminish your return. However, Alabama does recognize damages for the aggravation of a pre-existing injury because you take the victim as you find them.
d). Delay in care – Delays in care and seeking treatment always destroy case value. The reason for this is because if you are injured and hurting then most people think you should seek treatment immediately.
a). Insurance Company– Insurance companies matter because many do not pay as much for claims as others. This forces our firm to file suit in many cases to get you the recovery you deserve. We NEVER sell your case short simply because an insurance company only offers a low take or it leave it amount. So you should also never sell your claim short.
These are just some of many factors that injury attorneys look at in determining value. If you have received an offer from an insurance company or are wondering how much your case may be worth, then please contact our law firm. We would be more than glad to discuss your case and give you a straight forward answer. Please call us today at 251-445-7602 or if you would like to chat with immediately please click the link at the bottom right side of the page.