Determining How Much Your Accident Claim Is Worth
Placing a value on an accident claim is more of an art than a science in many ways. There are many factors that go into determining the value of a claim, and no two cases are alike. Two people may be involved in similar rear-end collisions, for example, but walk away with totally different injuries. The value of your claim generally will be affected by the nature and extent of your injuries, whether you lost time at work, the strength of the evidence, the amount of insurance available to cover your damages, and whether you played any role in causing the accident.
To get the best estimate of the value of your claim, you should talk to a personal injury attorney with experience handling your type of accident. A qualified auto accident attorney, for example, will have a thorough understanding of all of the different facets of an auto collision, the types of injuries that may occur, how those injuries usually are treated, the costs associated with injuries, how insurance coverage works for auto accidents, the likelihood of an insurance settlement, and how a jury would be likely to treat your claim if you file a lawsuit. Your attorney should be able to apply his or her knowledge and experience to the individual circumstances of your case and be able to provide an estimate of the potential value of your claim.
When you have been injured in a serious car accident, you may be wondering how to proceed. An experienced Chicago car accident attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you through the complex stages following your accident.
Damages You Can Claim
There are certain kinds of compensation that you can claim in Illinois when you’re injured in an accident. Your lawyer can discuss with you what types of compensation may be available to you, and the potential value.
- Medical Bills — This may include bills for hospital stays, visits to your doctor’s office, bills for treatment such as physical therapy, prescription drug costs, or the cost of medical supplies such as crutches or a wheelchair.
- Lost Income — If you’re temporarily or permanently out of work because of your injury, you may be able to make a claim for the wages you’ve lost, both present and future.
- Pain and Suffering — If you’re being treated for emotional distress such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder because of your accident, you may be able to make a claim for compensation of your pain and suffering.
- Disability and Disfigurement — If your accident has resulted in partial or total disability, or your appearance has been disfigured in some way such as through scarring, you may have a claim for compensation.
- Loss of Normal Life — If you’re unable to perform everyday tasks or engage in hobbies you once enjoyed because of your injuries, you may be able to receive compensation.
Illinois applies a principle called comparative negligence to monetary awards in personal injury lawsuits. This principle means a jury will reduce any award you receive in proportion to your own negligence in the accident, if any. The idea behind comparative negligence is that the person you’re suing should only have to be responsible for his or her own fault, not yours. So if a jury determines that something you did or failed to do amounted to 25 percent of the fault for your injuries, then your award would be reduced by 25 percent, e.g., if your total claim is worth $100,000, you’d get $75,000. If you contributed more than 50 percent of the fault, then you get nothing in Illinois.
Insurance Limits and Claims
Your compensation in a personal injury case based on negligence or recklessness usually is going to be paid from an insurance policy. Usually the insurance policy held by the person who caused your injuries will pay out, but sometimes it might be your own insurance. When your compensation comes from insurance, you’re limited by the amount of insurance coverage. You may have extensive injuries as a result of your accident, and someone else may be completely at fault, but you still may not be able to get compensation for the full amount of your damages. Say you had to have several surgeries and now have $100,000 in medical bills. If there’s only $50,000 in insurance coverage available, then $50,000 is the most an insurance company is going to offer in settlement of your claim.