What’s My Case Worth
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident that was someone else’s fault, how much are you entitled to recover? Here’s what you need to know.
Serious accidents can lead to substantial losses. So can medical mistakes, exposure to asbestos, and other dangerous events for which other individuals and companies are to blame. If you have been injured or lost a loved one, you may be entitled to recover your losses, and calculating these losses will be a critical step on the road to recovery.
If you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim, what is your case worth? Here, we will provide you with the information you need in order to begin answering this question. We will cover some key facts and common misconceptions, and we will provide an overview of the factors that are used to calculate damages for serious and fatal injuries.
5 Key Facts about Calculating Your Losses
1. You are Entitled to Recover Your Financial Losses
In all 50 states, accident victims, victims of asbestos exposure, victims of medical malpractice, and families who have lost loved ones due to negligence and product defects are entitled to recover their financial losses. So, in order to calculate the value of your claim, one of the first steps is to calculate your direct out-of-pocket expenses. This includes expenses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
- Prescription costs
- Transportation costs
- Property repair and replacement costs
- Medical supplies, medical equipment, and home and vehicle modification costs
In addition, financial losses include loss of income and benefits. Accident victims can recover their lost wages, salary, commissions, tips, benefits, and all other forms of compensation, and they can also recover damages for their loss of future earning capacity.
2. You are Entitled to Recover Your Non-Financial Losses
Injury victims and families nationwide can also recover compensation for their non-financial losses. Non-financial losses are those that do not involve monetary costs, but instead negatively impact your life in other ways. For example, in serious accident cases, it is fairly common for injury victims to recover damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma (including post-traumatic stress)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, consortium, services, society, and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Some states have “no-fault” insurance laws that limit accident victims’ access to non-financial damages in some cases. However, these laws apply exclusively to auto accidents, and they only apply when the victim’s injuries are relatively minor. At Oberheiden Law, we are experienced in recovering damages for our clients’ non-financial losses, and we can use our experience to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
3. Your Losses Will Continue to Accumulate Over Time
When you suffer serious injuries or lose a loved one in an accident, your losses will continue to accumulate over time. You will continue to incur medical expenses until you are fully recovered, and you may need to continue filling prescriptions for months or years to come. If you are unable to work (or if you are forced to take a lower-paying job), your loss of income will continue as well, and your non-financial losses may continue to impact various aspects of your day-to-day life.
4. Your Future Losses are Likely to Be the Greatest Portion of Your Claim
Due to the ongoing financial and non-financial costs of serious and fatal injuries, for most individuals and families, future losses make up the greatest portion of their claim. At Oberheiden Law, we work closely with our clients and the trusted experts in our nationwide network in order to ensure that we are seeking full compensation for the long-term costs of our clients’ injuries and losses. Too often, individuals and families focus only on the short-term effects of what happened. We make sure our clients’ avoid this mistake and recover the full financial compensation they deserve.
5. You Cannot Count on the Insurance Companies to Calculate Your Losses for You
Another common mistake individuals and families make is relying on the insurance companies to calculate their losses for them. When you have an insurance claim, it is up to you to make sure you know how much you are entitled to recover. The insurance companies put their own interests first, and they are not obligated to help you understand the value of your claim. If you rely on the insurance companies to calculate your losses, you will end up with less than you deserve.
5 Common Misconceptions about Calculating Damages
1. Calculating Your Losses After an Accident is Easy
Calculating your losses after an accident is not easy. There are many steps involved, and there are many factors you need to consider—as we discuss below. This makes it essential to hire an experienced attorney who has a proven record of success securing just compensation for injury victims and their families.
2. You Don’t Need to Calculate Your Losses Exactly
When you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim, your claim is unique to you. No one else has suffered the same exact losses, and there are no round numbers that can be used to estimate your recovery. In order to recover full compensation, you need to work with an experienced attorney to determine the exact amount you are entitled to recover based on the specific circumstances at hand.
3. You Can Calculate Your Losses On Your Own
While you may be able to add up your financial losses to date, calculating your future financial losses and your non-financial losses requires the advice and representation of an experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer. These are complex calculations that require extensive medical, financial, and legal knowledge, and it often takes a team of experts to accurately calculate just compensation.
4. You Will Never Recover the Full Amount You are Owed
Some accident victims make the mistake of assuming they will never recover the full amount they are owed. They assume that the insurance companies will take advantage of them, and that there is nothing they can do to affect the outcome of their case. However, an experienced attorney can help, and at Oberheiden Law our track record speaks for itself.
5. Legal Feels Will Reduce the Amount of Your Recovery
Another common assumption people make is that they will recover less if they hire an attorney. However, while your attorney will receive a contingency fee if your claim is successful, the reality is that an attorney can help you recover far more than you could on your own. As a result, even taking your attorney’s contingency fee into account, you can still recover more with an experienced attorney on your side.
Plus, at Oberheiden Law, we charge a reduced contingency fee of 25%, so our clients keep more of their settlements and verdicts.
These are the Factors that Will Determine What Your Case is Worth
In order to calculate your losses after a serious accident, there are several factors that you need to take into account. These factors relate to: (i) the cause of your injury, (ii) your financial circumstances, and (iii) the non-financial impacts you have endured (and will continue to endure in the future). For example, when determining what your case is worth, our attorneys will need to answer questions such as:
- Were you partially at fault? Different states have different laws regarding “comparative” and “contributory” fault. However, in most states, even if you were partially at fault, you can still recover partial compensation for your losses. When investigating your case, our attorneys will gather the evidence required in order to seek maximum compensation for your losses.
- What are your long-term medical needs? Will you need surgery in the future? Will you need medications to manage your pain? Will you need to undergo extensive therapy or rehabilitation? These are all expensive medical needs that must be carefully evaluated in order to accurately calculate your claim for just compensation.
- What accommodations will you need? Will you need to make modifications to your home or vehicle in order to adjust to living with a disability? These are direct financial costs that can also factor into determining the non-financial costs of your injuries.
- What do you do for work? If you have been unable to do your job as a result of your injuries, your current income will determine how much you are entitled to recover for your time missed from work. Your current income will also determine how much you are entitled to recover for your loss of future earning capacity.
- How are non-financial losses calculated in your state? There are two primary methods used to calculate damages for non-financial losses resulting from traumatic injuries. These are: (i) the “multiplier” method, which calculates non-financial damages based on a multiple (usually between 1.5 and 5) of your financial losses, and (ii) the “per diem” method, which applies a daily dollar amount to your pain, suffering, and other non-financial losses.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer at Oberheiden Law
Are you entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or your loved one’s death? To find out, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Oberheiden law. You can reach us nationwide 24/7, so call 469-587-6786 or tell us about your case online now.