How Do I Know What My Accident Is Worth?
A major traffic accident is traumatic especially if you had more than minor injuries. A big insurance company may pressure you to close your case, but you may be entitled to more compensation than they would like to pay. Call the Hanna Personal Injury law firm and let us help determine the value of your claim. With us on your side, you will not have to face big insurance companies alone, and they will have a team of lawyers ready to defend not paying you what you are entitled to receive.
If you have been in an accident where someone else was at fault, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Don't sign anything until you have had a free consultation with our attorneys. Be sure to save any receipts for any expenses you had and save copies of any reports you have access to.
Determining the value
It is hard to determine the worth of your case, but we can help you determine whether you should sue the insurance company or anyone else to get more compensation. It is hard to know the extent of injuries at the time an accident occurs. It may be months later before the extent of your injuries is known. Ultimately a jury may decide what your case is worth. Many personal injury cases are settled out of court and never get to trial. In those cases, we can compare your case with other similar cases, and the value of your claim is negotiated from that point. Most cases are settled out of court, but it is good to know your attorney will represent you as hard as possible, and you need to feel confident your attorney will take the case to court if a settlement cannot be agreed on.
Types of injuries
There are two basic types of losses you can suffer in an accident, and that is economic and non-economic.
The economic losses are rather straightforward. This would include the loss of your vehicle, lost time from work and expenses that you will have receipts for. There is a specific dollar amount that can be cited as what was lost in the accident. Some examples of this include:
- Medical expenses that your insurance did not pay
- Possible future medical charges
- Lost earnings, and future earnings
- Damaged property such as your vehicle and its contents
- Services such as cleaning or childcare while you are recovering.
The non-economic damages are harder to define. There is no way to objectively quantify the value of what was lost, so there has to become subjectivity involved. We often take similar cases as an example of what a certain loss is worth. Examples of this could include:
- Pain and suffering, mental or emotional
- Loss of quality of life
- Death of a loved one
- The consortium, or the loss of income from another family member who was incapacitated or killed.
Accidents involving big trucks are one of the most common personal injury cases. Often a big truck will weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and the typical car weighs in at less than 4,000, so there is usually a lot of damage to the smaller vehicle in this situation.
There are a lot of rules governing how truckers are supposed to act on the highway, and rules concerning qualifications and so forth. In an ideal world, these rules would keep most people safe from harm. At times economics gets in the way when truckers or their employers want to get around the rules to make more money or to get a shipment to a certain place on time. When this happens, it is a case of negligence, and you should be compensated if you are a victim of an accident.
Accidents can happen to anyone, no matter how safe you try to be. Even so, there are times when accidents could have been avoided. Drunk drivers, or those distracted by phones or electronic devices, are just two examples of how drivers of regular cars may be negligent and cause an accident.
There could be others that could be held liable for negligence, such as the carmaker if it can be determined something wrong with a vehicle caused the accident. If there are objects left in the roadway that leads to an accident, whoever left those objects there could be liable.
Often who is at fault is straightforward. In almost all cases if a car hits another car in the back, that car is at fault. If a driver turns left in front of you, and you hit that car, the one turning will likely be at fault.
Texas uses a comparative negligence rule in determining who is at fault in an accident. In most states, it is one or the other who is ruled at fault. The one at fault, or their insurance company, is responsible for damages. But in Texas, a percentage of responsibility can be used in determining fault.
if a car turns left and you hit that car, normally that car would be at fault because it caused the accident. However, if you were speeding and the same thing happened, then you would be ruled partly responsible as well. The amount of compensation you receive could be reduced by the percentage that you are ruled to have contributed to the accident. If one driver was more than 50 percent responsible, you may get payment from their insurer.
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