If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you’re likely dealing with medical treatments, which means you’re also dealing with medical bills. The expenses can quickly overwhelm you, especially if you can’t work because of your injuries. Maybe you’re waiting for the insurance company to make you an offer, or perhaps they already have made one, but you don’t know if it will cover all your needs.
If you want to know how much your car accident is worth, talk with a personal injury attorney who handles car accident claims.
During your free initial consultation with an attorney, they will consider several factors to understand the value of your car accident claim. Here are some aspects they may assess.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries will help determine the value of your car accident claim. When you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit after a car accident, the goal is to seek compensation for your damages. These damages can include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Here are some ways the severity of your injuries directly affects several aspects of your claim:
The more severe your injuries, the higher your medical expenses. This includes costs for emergency medical care, surgeries, hospital stays, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatments. These expenses are typically a significant part of your claim.
After severe injuries, you may miss work for an extended period. Permanent disabilities may result in a substantial loss of income. The severity of your injuries will play a role in calculating the compensation you deserve for lost income and future earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Severe injuries often lead to significant physical pain, emotional distress, and decreased quality of life, and you can recover substantial compensation for them.
Insurance companies and courts consider the severity of your injuries when assessing these damages.
Some injuries may result in permanent disabilities or require ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. These long-term consequences will significantly affect the overall value of your claim.
Future Medical Costs
If your injuries require ongoing medical treatment or future surgeries, you may include the cost of these treatments in your claim. This includes estimates of future medical expenses related to your injuries.
The Extent of Your Property Damage
Property damage can add value to a car accident claim, even though it primarily relates to the damage to your vehicle rather than personal injuries.
First, significant property damage can serve as visual evidence of the severity of the accident. When a vehicle sustains substantial damage, it often indicates a high-impact collision, which can establish the seriousness of the incident. This can influence how the insurance company or a jury perceives the accident and may result in a higher settlement offer or verdict.
Extensive property damage can also indicate that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. For example, if the other driver ran a red light and caused a high-speed collision that totaled your car, it can demonstrate their liability and strengthen your claim.
Your claim should include the cost to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. The more expensive the repairs or replacement, the higher the property damage portion of your claim.
If you need to tow your vehicle from the accident scene or store it at a tow yard, your property damage claim can include these fees. If your vehicle is in the shop for repairs, you may recover compensation for rental car expenses during the repair period. Your claim can include this additional cost, adding to its overall value.
Whether Multiple Parties Contributed to the Accident
In a car accident case, various parties may bear liability, or legal responsibility, for the accident. The more parties you can hold liable for an accident, the more potential sources of compensation, further maximizing your compensation.
Here are some common parties that you can hold liable in a car accident case:
The most common party held liable in car accidents is another driver involved in the collision. If another was negligent, driving recklessly, running a red light, or texting while driving, causing the accident, you can hold them responsible for your damages.
If the at-fault driver operated a vehicle owned by someone else, you can hold the vehicle owner liable for the accident, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances.
If the at-fault driver was on the job at the time of the accident, you can hold their employer liable for their employees’ actions while performing work-related tasks.
Poor road conditions, inadequate signage, or other factors related to the road’s design and maintenance may contribute to accidents. In such cases, you can hold government entities responsible for road maintenance liable for the accident.
Sometimes, accidents occur due to defects in the vehicle or its components, such as faulty brakes or tires. In these cases, you can hold the vehicle manufacturer or parts manufacturer liable through a product liability claim.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
While drivers are often at fault in car accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists, a pedestrian or bicyclist’s actions may contribute to the accident. In such cases, they may share liability.
Passengers who engage in behavior that distracts the driver or otherwise contributes to the accident may also share liability.
Whether You Are Partly to Blame for Your Injuries
Louisiana follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which determines how to award damages in personal injury cases when both parties (plaintiff and defendant) share some degree of fault for an accident. Under Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence rule, the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover is directly proportionate to their level of fault in causing the accident.
So, after a car accident or personal injury incident, fault is assessed to determine how much responsibility each party bears. This assessment can involve witness statements, evidence from the accident scene, and police reports. The percentage of fault assigned to each party is typically expressed as a percentage, with 100% representing total fault.
In Louisiana, the pure comparative negligence rule allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the accident. The plaintiff’s total recoverable damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. If you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still pursue compensation, but it will decrease based on your degree of fault.
One key feature of Louisiana’s pure comparative negligence rule is that it allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they are primarily at fault for the accident. In some other states with modified comparative negligence rules, a plaintiff may not recover damages if they are deemed more than 50 percent or 51 percent at fault. There is no such bar in Louisiana.
Auto Insurance Policies
Another factor to consider when valuing your car accident claim is the insurance coverage available. Louisiana follows a traditional fault-based or at-fault insurance system regarding car accident claims.
In a fault-based system, the driver responsible for causing an accident must pay for the damages and injuries resulting from that accident. This means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company must cover the losses of the other parties involved in the accident.
When a car accident occurs in Louisiana, insurance companies and courts will determine fault for the accident. The at-fault party and their insurance company must compensate the other parties for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and other damages.
Drivers in Louisiana must carry liability insurance, covers the costs of injuries and damages they cause to others in an accident. Louisiana law establishes the minimum liability insurance requirements.
Motorists in Louisiana must carry at least:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person
- $30,000 per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability insurance
In Louisiana, individuals who are injured in car accidents typically have the option to file personal injury claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
For property damage claims, individuals can also file claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover the costs of repairing or replacing their damaged vehicles or other property. The at-fault driver must cover the cost of any damages that exceed their policy limits.
But you may also file a claim against your own insurance for the difference if you have other coverage, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Retain an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
The complex and time-consuming process of valuing a car accident claim is probably the last thing you need to deal with after suffering injuries in a car wreck. Hiring a lawyer to handle the claims process can provide considerable peace of mind. But it can also vastly improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries. Research shows that people who hire attorneys to handle accident claims recover significantly more compensation than those who do not retain a lawyer.
The car accident lawyers at Wright Gray Law Firm have years of experience valuing accident claims and helping accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Contact Wright Gray Law Firm today at (504) 616-6462 or use this online form to learn more.