Each Florida car accident is unique. The value of accident claims differs from case to case. Still, there are common factors that judges, juries, and insurance companies use to decide your car accident case worth.
Your car accident case worth includes economic losses
- Medical expenses. There are two parts to your medical expense claim.
- The first part is the medical bills you’ve accumulated so far. Those are fairly easy to figure. Your lawyer will ask your doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies for invoices for all your treatments and medications.
- The second part is your future costs. Figuring out your future bills is hard especially if you or a loved one has a catastrophic or permanent injury. Your lawyer will begin by asking your doctor about your diagnosis and prognosis. It is good practice to postpone settlement until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI means that additional surgeries or care won’t improve your injuries. Even when you’ve reached MMI, you are still entitled to long-term medical care, so your physical and emotional problems don’t worsen.
- Medical bills include
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Consultations with psychiatrists and psychologists
- Care from other specialists and therapists
- Medical devices
- Lost income. Like medical bills, you won’t really know how much income the car accident caused you until you know your medical status. Income loss includes lost wages to date plus the loss of any future income. Wages include salary and income from a business. They may also include retirement benefits. Wage loss is normally verified through tax returns and employer statements.
- Property damage. Typically, this is the cost to repair your car. If your car can’t be repaired, it is the cost to buy a new car with similar mileage in similar conditions.
Your car accident case worth includes non-economic damages
Non-economic losses are the open-ended damages. Two juries can assign different values to similar conditions. For example, one jury may award $50,000 for a broken arm that heals in two months. Another jury may only award $15,000.
The main items of car accident case worth are:
- Pain and suffering. This includes your daily physical pain. It includes your constant worry about your health and finances. It includes the fears and anxieties you have. An experienced lawyer will get reports from your treating doctors. These reports will detail many items such as:
- Inability to do daily tasks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Inability to do work activities
- Loss of motion
- A comparison of your health before the accident and after the accident
- Any objective evidence to support your physical and emotional pain
Lawyers help show pain and suffering:
- By having you state all the things you can’t do now that you did before the accident. This includes your inability to brush your teeth, eat, drive, read, or perform many daily functions
- By having you explain how much it hurts to sit, walk, move, or do just about anything
- Through showing your injuries (for example, your broken arm) so the judge and jury can see your pain
- By having friends, coworkers, and friends also verity your physical and emotional difficulties
- Loss of consortium. In Florida, the value of your car accident claim also includes a claim by your spouse. Consortium loss means your spouse can’t enjoy your comfort and support because of your injuries. It also means your spouse can’t enjoy the sexual intimacy you once shared.
- Scarring and disfigurement. The value of a car accident case increases if you lost a limb or body part. Any scarring, especially facial scarring, adds to the value of a Florida car accident.
The car accident case worth is just one part of your case. Even if you can prove someone else is responsible, you still need to be able to collect. Typically, your no-fault carrier will pay some of your damages. The liability carrier for the responsible defendants should pay the rest.
If the defendants didn’t have enough insurance, then your own carrier should pay your UM/UIM claim. UM/UIM pays the value of your car accident case – minus what’s already paid. UM/UIM benefits are available only up to the policy limits you bought.
Accident victims should not settle their case on their own
It’s a bad idea to settle an accident claim without getting advice from an experienced lawyer. The lawyer will understand:
- When to begin settlement negotiations
- What your Florida car accident case is really worth
- The art of negotiation – how to get the best settlement