When clients who have suffered personal injuries come to our office for advice, they often want to know how much their Missouri personal injury claim is worth. That’s a fair question to ask. You and your loved ones are in a stressful situation that brings many medical and non-medical bills to pay. If the accident was not your fault, then someone else needs to pay their fair share. Determining that amount, however, depends on the circumstances of your particular case.
Only an experienced Missouri personal injury lawyer can make a good estimate of how much your claim is worth. However, if you are eager to learn about it as soon as possible, then you should know that every personal injury claim’s value depends largely on the same factors:
1. Liability – Who is Responsible for the Injuries
It is important to determine whether only the other side was at fault, or both of you are liable for the accident. Shared responsibility is particularly common in car accidents. The insurance company will attempt to establish shared liability in their first phone call with you. The questions they ask are designed to benefit their insured and push blame for the accident on you. This is why it’s important NOT to give a recorded statement to the insurance company. If the wreck or injury was caused solely by the other party, you should expect to be fully compensated for your damages by the responsible party. But, if you were partially responsible for the accident, then your compensation will decrease accordingly. If you were entirely to blame for the injury, then you are not entitled to compensation.
Also, the ability to prove liability is very important. Proving liability is usually easier in automobile wrecks, but it is much more difficult in slip and fall accidents, for example. Therefore, the value of the slip and fall accident is usually less than the same injury from a clear liability car accident as the insurance company may successfully claim that you are partially at fault for your slip/trip and fall injury.
2. Amount of insurance available
No matter how severe your injuries are, typically you are capped by the amount of the applicable insurance policies of the liable person. The first issue is whether the responsible party has insurance. If you have an automobile accident with an uninsured driver and if you don’t carry the proper insurance, you may not be able to collect for your damages. Or, if the responsible person’s insurance limits are not enough, then your own insurance policy may cover the unpaid value of your claim up to your insurance limits. For instance, in automobile accidents if the responsible party has only $25,000 in insurance available and your damages total $50,000, you may look to your own Underinsured automobile policy (if you have one) to fully compensate you for the value of your claim. If the wreck was caused by a commercial vehicle or a semi-truck, for which the insurance limits are typically much higher, chances are that there will be enough insurance available to provide for a complete financial recovery.
3. Damages – Injuries, Medical Bills, Lost Wages, Pain and Suffering
If you can prove that the other party caused the wreck, they have insurance to compensate you for your damages, and if you can prove that your injuries were caused by the wreck (and not from some other condition or injury), then you are likely to get compensated for your damages. The amount of compensation depends on the severity of your injuries, past, present and future medical bills and costs, lost income and pain and suffering. If your accident caused you only pain and suffering along with some scratches, the compensation won’t be significant as your injuries are not significant. But, if you suffered broken bones and a head injury, your compensation will be substantially larger because your medical bills, costs for treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs and expenses are substantially larger.
No matter the circumstances of your claim, talk to a Missouri personal injury attorney for free. You can contact Griggs Injury Law today for help to determine the value of your case.