When you are injured in an accident due to the negligence of another, you may consider filing a lawsuit as a way to recoup financial losses and pay off medical bills stemming from your injuries. There are many different points to consider when building a case, such as putting a dollar value on the harm you endured. Understanding which factors might affect this amount can help you create a viable lawsuit.
1. Proof of Liability
Before you can collect on damages in a personal lawsuit, you must first prove that someone else was negligent and directly caused your injuries. This may be a difficult step that often requires the services of an attorney so he or she can review your case, its details and then help you understand whether you have the right to sue. Submitting witness accounts and police reports may help assist your attorney with this step.
2. Comparative Negligence
The value of your personal injury case could fall if a judge finds your injury was caused by both your actions and those of another. This is known as “comparative negligence” and may allow you to collect only a percentage of the damages you seek. The negligence may be split evenly or the other party may be more at fault, depending on the individual circumstances of the accident.
3. The Cost of Medical Bills
One factor that makes up a large portion of the value of your personal injury case is usually the cost of medical bills that result from the accident. As such, your case may be worth thousands if you were seriously injured, will require surgeries, or you have to undergo any type of physical rehabilitation in the future. You may want to submit your medical reports to an experienced attorney so he or she can determine their total in relation to your case.
4. The Degree of Negligence
If the actions of the person who caused your injuries were especially reckless, you might be able to sue for punitive damages. For example, if the defendant in your case knowingly and willfully drove after drinking at a party and hit your vehicle, the judge might award you punitive damages to punish that individual. Some states have limits on punitive damage amounts, so you may want to ask your lawyer about these caps and whether you qualify to include them in your lawsuit.
The value of your personal injury lawsuit can be difficult to calculate, but legal assistance is available.