Since every car accident claim is different, there is no simple answer for how much your case is worth. The amount of compensation you can recover will depend on many factors unique to your accident and situation. Therefore, here is a general explanation of how a car accident case’s value is determined.
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The higher your financial losses related to your car accident, the more compensation you have the right to recover. The economic damages that injury victims are commonly reimbursed for include:
Medical Expenses: The costs for any medical treatment you need now and require in the future following the accident.
Property Damage: The repairs to or replacement of your vehicle and any other property damaged in the collision (e.g., phone, car seat, laptop, etc).
Lost Wages: Any income or benefits you have lost while recovering and unable to work, as well as the amount you expect to lose in the future.
Diminished Earning Capacity: If your injury has caused permanent impairments, you can recover compensation for the difference in the income you can earn now compared to before the accident.
Recovering these types of compensation requires thorough documentation to prove your injuries were a direct result of the car accident and receipts or bills for the related expenses. If you did not seek medical care immediately following the crash, that can significantly impact your compensation. The at-fault party’s insurance company will likely try to reduce your compensation by arguing that your injuries were not caused by the accident or that they are not as severe as you claim.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages, also referred to as non-economic damages, is another form of compensation that most victims have the right to and can dramatically increase your claim’s value. The more severe your injuries and their impact on your daily life, the more your claim is worth. Pain and suffering is compensation for the physical and psychological harm you have endured and will in the future.
However, assigning a figure to pain and suffering can be challenging. Attorneys and insurance companies typically calculate this sum by using a multiplier method. This method multiplies your economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost income, property damage, etc.) by a number, typically between 1.5 to 5, chosen based on injury severity. For example, a multiplier of 1.5 may be applied to a case involving a broken arm that heals within six weeks. In contrast, a multiplier of 5 may be used in a case where the victim suffered paralysis.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases involving an at-fault party who exhibited an extreme disregard for the safety of others. Therefore, this type of compensation may not be available in your case. If it is, punitive damages cannot exceed more than two times the amount of your economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages, not to exceed $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is greater.
Comparative Negligence in Texas
Texas’s modified comparative negligence law can reduce or eliminate an individual’s compensation in a car accident case. Under this law, each party involved is assigned a percentage of fault for their contribution to the collision, and their compensation is reduced accordingly. However, you cannot be 51% or more to blame, or else you cannot recover any compensation. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 40% at fault for your injury, you will receive 60% of the award or $60,000. On the other hand, if you are found 51% or more to blame, you will not receive any part of your award.
Insurance Policy Limits
If your losses exceed the at-fault party’s policy limits, their insurer is not required to pay beyond the policy’s maximum amounts. As a result, you may be forced to search for alternative options to recover the difference, such as suing the at-fault party personally.
Speak to an Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident and are interested in discussing your case’s worth, arrange a free consultation with a skilled Houston personal injury lawyer today.