Very few drivers skate through life without having a car accident. When you do have one, it is, at minimum, a significant inconvenience. However, collisions often result in extensive damages, leading to serious physical, emotional and financial impacts. Your life may be permanently or temporarily altered if you sustain severe injuries. You might also have to pursue a legal car accident claim to receive compensation for your losses.
We know that the decision to file a lawsuit isn’t easy. You need to determine whether it is worth the time, effort and emotional investment. Car crash claims are often complex, and the outcomes depend on numerous factors. Weighing each one before moving forward is essential. A skilled Jeffcoat Law Firm lawyer can help you understand whether your case has merit.
Understanding Factors Impacting the Value of a Car Accident Claim
Often, there is more to determining your claim’s value than simply adding up your hospital bills, with several factors contributing to final damages and the amount you can recover.
The Extent of Your Physical Injuries
The extent of your physical injuries is the primary factor determining the outcome of your case, as these harms lead to the other damages you can pursue. Severe injuries can result in medical expenses, such as:
- Extensive emergency care
- Ongoing treatment and physical therapy
- Long-term conditions
- Future or recurring physical damage
Calculating the value of your physical injuries requires considering the costs you’ve accrued thus far and any potential expenses you might incur. Our car accident lawyers know how to calculate these damages. We also consult with your doctors and other experts to determine possible future health impacts and expenses due to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
The Impact to Your Earnings
Missing work is often an outcome of collisions that lead to injuries. Lost wages factor into your claim’s value. To calculate the value of missed wages, multiply your daily salary by the number of days you couldn’t work due to your injuries. However, if you haven’t yet returned to work, you must consider how much more time you will likely miss.
You may also be unable to return to work the same number of hours or in the same capacity. Any alterations to your ability to work as much or in the same capacity increase the potential value of your claim. If your future earning potential is diminished due to permanent physical damages, we calculate how much you would lose over your lifetime and add that amount to the damages.
The Level of Non-Economic Damages
Medical expenses and lost wages are economic damages, meaning they have a direct financial impact. Non-economic damages are those not directly tied to financial losses, such as emotional distress, pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment. Determining the value of these damages is more complicated.
If you file a personal injury claim, you can pursue non-economic damages, adding them to the damages you seek. Jeffcoat Firm car accident attorneys have extensive experience assessing and calculating the non-economic damages that impact your claim’s value.
The Potential for Punitive Damages
Under particular circumstances, South Carolina allows plaintiffs to seek punitive damages. You must demonstrate that the at-fault driver engaged in reckless or willfully dangerous behaviors, such as intoxicated driving. The state caps the punitive damages amount you can pursue at three times the actual damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
The Role Your Actions Played in the Accident
Another important factor impacting your claim is how much responsibility you had for the accident. Often, more than one driver shares liability in a traffic collision. If you were partially at fault, you could still file a claim. However, you must show that you were no more than half responsible. If you don’t meet the state’s 51% bar, your claim’s value is effectively zero.
You can receive compensation if you demonstrate that the other driver was at least 50% liable. Your claim’s final value depends on the percentage of responsibility assigned to you and the other driver. If you were 40% at fault and the other driver was 60% responsible, you would receive 60% of the awarded damages.
Getting Started With a Jeffcoat Law Firm Car Accident Lawyer
The Jeffcoat Law Firm is here for you if you sustained injuries in a car accident. We understand the challenges you face in determining whether to file a car accident claim and help you calculate the potential value of your claim so you can make the best decision for you. Contact us today for a free case review.