How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

March 04, 2020

by Donaldson & Weston

Motor-vehicle collisions cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars every year in property damage, lost productivity, and healthcare expenses. When you factor in diminished quality of life, this figure balloons to nearly a trillion dollars annually.

At the individual level, even a minor car accident can have major financial implications. In addition to direct expenses like medical bills, victims may have to cover indirect costs like lost wages. There are also non-economic damages to consider such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.

Thankfully, tort law allows injured parties to seek compensation for all such damages. Whether you end up recovering a payout that covers 100 percent of your losses, though, will depend on a variety of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest influencers that could impact your claim’s potential settlement or verdict:

1. The Severity of Your Injuries

Because they cost more to diagnose, stabilize, and rehabilitate, severe injuries tend to warrant higher payouts. Permanent scarring, disfigurement, or disability also lend to larger settlements and verdicts by contributing to the value of non-economic damages.

2. The Impact of the Injuries on Your Income

If you are expected to make a full recovery before the case is resolved, you will only be entitled to seek compensation for the wages you lose while you’re out of work. If, on the other hand, doctors believe your injuries are reasonably certain to diminish your future income-earning capacity, you can include such damages in the settlement calculations. This could increase the potential value of your case considerably.

3. Your Own Role in the Accident

Florida has a pure comparative fault rule, which means any compensation you’re entitled to will be reduced by your own percentage of liability. If you incur $50,000 in damages, for example, but you’re deemed 10 percent at fault, you may recover no more than 90 percent of said losses, or $45,000.

Failing to mitigate damages could also reduce the total payout to which you are entitled. If you ignored your doctor’s orders, for example, the opposing party may be able to shift some liability your way. They would simply have to prove that your own negligence has prolonged your recovery or aggravated your condition.

4. Whether the Circumstances Warrant a Punitive Award

Car accident claims do not typically warrant punitive damages; however, if the at-fault party demonstrated gross negligence or intentional misconduct—by drinking and driving, for example, or fleeing the scene—you may be entitled to a punitive award on top of the standard compensatory damages. In the state of Florida, such awards are usually capped at the greater of $500,000 or three times the total compensatory damages.

Discuss Your Case with an Accident Lawyer in Stuart

If you intend to file a car accident claim in Florida, turn to Donaldson & Weston. We’ve helped hundreds of clients resolve personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 772-66-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Stuart.