Answering the question: “How much is my personal injury case worth?” can be tricky from the onset after an accident. After most accidents, victims will have to seek medical attention and treatment to determine the extent of their injuries.
Since the human body is unpredictable in the way it heals and how it will react to an injury, it is often unknown the extent of medical treatment needed.
Since medical treatment and care dictate a large portion of the value of a personal injury claim, the value of a personal injury claim is typically known at the conclusion of the medical treatment.
First steps to determine the value of an injury claim
One of the first steps in determining the value of an injury claim is to establish insurance coverage. Insurance coverage means how much insurance does the at-fault party have?
If the person does not have insurance, the victim will often have to rely on their own insurance for compensation.
If the person who caused the accident or injury does have insurance, there is typically a policy limit in place for car accidents. Policy limits in Maryland are typically $30,000 / $60,000.
That is standard and required minimum coverage under Maryland auto insurance laws.
This means at the maximum amount of money that can be recovered by one individual is $30,000. the $60,000 value is the maximum amount that can be collected by all injured parties as a result of the accident.
The Next Step is Determining the Value of an Injury Claim
The next step in determining the value of a personal injury claim is establishing liability or fault. This means your Columbia personal injury lawyer must determine who caused the accident.
Since Maryland is a contributory negligence state, the at-fault person must be 100% at fault for the accident for him/her to be held liable.
If fault is unclear in an accident, this may lead to litigation to determine who caused the accident. Depending on the extent of the damages and the amount claimed in a lawsuit, a Maryland judge or jury will determine liability.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident?
Pain and suffering amounts in a car accident is not an exact science. Pain and suffering vary from claim to claim, and their is no exact number or formula for pain and suffering. P
ain and suffering refers to the hassle and personal expense you go through after a car accident. This can be such pain as:
- Difficulty in performing daily tasks (laundry, sitting at your deck, performing your job)
- Time taken away from your family while recovering (not being able to play with your kids)
- Travel to and from medical treatment and physical therapy
- Preclusion from participating in daily activities (sports events, concerts, etc.)
- Inability to exercise and physical activities after an accident (you could not go to the gym)
- Any other hassle or time you spent doing something you wouldn’t have normally had to do but for the auto accident.
All of these things are considered by the insurance company when determining pain and suffering and compensating a victim of an auto accident. It can often be difficult to put a dollar value on these losses.
That is why an experienced car accident lawyer can determine the correct value and argue that before the insurance adjuster.
Does surgery affect the value of a personal injury claim?
All medical treatment has value. From an x-ray to surgery, each procedure will cost the victim money to achieve the intended result.
In some cases, the victim of an accident may never fully recover. This is often referred to as permanency or a permanent injury after an accident.
If an individual suffers a permanent injury, they can seek compensation for future medical expenses or the future pain that will be incurred. All of these factors play into determining how much a personal injury claim is worth.
Example of a Claim Value After a Car Accident in Maryland
If an individual is hurt in a car accident. That person is taken to the hospital and sees a doctor or receives scans or x-rays, then there is a value or cost associated with that treatment.
If the injuries or pain persist, a victim may be required to attend physical therapy or receive injections for their pain.
Doctors may determine that surgery is necessary after an accident.
Surgeries are expensive, and that will increase the claim for the accident. As an example, assume that a person is involved in a car accident and seeks medical attention to the hospital.
Medical bills from the hospital total $2,000.
The victim is suffering from continued pain and seeks treatment from their primary care physician and a physical therapist. The victim is treated by the physical therapist for 6 weeks and incurs medical bills of $5,000.
We now have a total medical cost of $7,000 as a result of the accident. This is a good starting point to determine how much a personal injury claim is worth.
Lost Wages and How They Affect the Value of an Injury Claim
However, there is more to this claim than just the medical bills. Let’s assume that the victim was treated by the physical therapist a total of 20 times.
During those 20 visits, the victim had to leave work early and suffered lost wages and earnings in the amount of $4,000. Now, the total loss has increased to $11,000.
Pain and Suffering in an Injury Claim
There is also the pain and suffering factor to consider. Pain and suffering is not a hard number.
It is calculated to determine the value for the time and hassle incurred because of the accident.
Seeking medical treatment is not something that most people look forward to or desire.
And because of that, the victim must be compensated for the hassle of dealing with the treatment.
That number must be determined by your Maryland personal injury lawyer to ensure it is factored into the claim made with the insurance company for the person that caused the accident.
As you can see, it is very difficult to determine the value of a personal injury claim until the end of treatment or until the doctors have determined the treatment is no longer successful.
Injury lawyers that can help increase the value of your claim
Injury claims can be complicated and overwhelming. With all the paperwork and complicated legal steps, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to help maximize your compensation and ensure that you receive a fair and just settlement.
Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today to determine the value of your injury claim and to get help after an accident.