January 24, 2022 | Personal Injury
“How much money will I get for my personal injury case?” This question is asked by almost every injury victim who meets with an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer. It’s easy to understand why people want to know how much an injury claim is worth.
After an injury or accident, your initial focus is on your physical injuries. The medical bills begin to arrive in the mail within weeks. Soon, you run out of personal leave or vacation time at work, and you may have no income. How are you going to pay your bills and living expenses?
You should not bear the financial burden caused by another person’s negligent acts. Oklahoma personal injury laws offer a legal means for recovering compensation for your financial losses and other damages. However, many factors determine how much money goes into your pocket from a personal injury settlement.
Documenting Damages Caused by the Accident and Injury
The first step in determining the value of your case is gathering evidence proving your damages. Damages in a personal injury case include economic and non-economic damages.
The types of damages you might receive for personal injury recovery include:
- Reimbursement for your past and present medical bills, personal care costs, costs of nursing care
- Compensation for pain and suffering caused by mental anguish, physical injuries, and emotional distress
- Reimbursement of your past and present loss of income, including wages, benefits, salary, overtime pay, and other forms of income
- Compensation for future lost wages and reductions in earning potential
- Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- Compensation for disabilities, scarring, impairments, and disfigurement
- Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and costs
You must have documentation of each type of damage before receiving compensation for those damages. The value of economic damages is the actual cost of the loss or expense. Copies of bills, invoices, income statements, letters from employers, and receipts are used to prove economic damages and calculate their value.
Non-economic damages (pain and suffering) are more difficult to calculate. There is no “price tag” for pain and suffering, nor is there a standard formula for valuing pain and suffering damages. As a result, many insurance companies value non-economic damages as a multiple of economic damages.
In other words, they typically multiply the total economic damages by a number between 1.5 and five. Higher numbers are used for cases with traumatic injuries and long-term impairments.
What Can Affect the Value of My Personal Injury Claim?
Many factors affect the value of your personal injury claim.
Severity of Injuries
Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the settlement claim or verdict value. The reason the value of a claim increases with the severity of injuries is simple. Catastrophic injuries result in higher medical expenses, more lost time from work, and permanent impairments.
Fault and Liability
Fault is another significant factor in how much money you may receive for your personal injury claim. Oklahoma is a fault state for personal injury claims. The person “at fault” for causing your injuries can be held financially liable for damages.
If the defendant was entirely at fault for the cause of the accident or injury, you could demand compensation for the total value of your damages. However, if you are partially at fault for the cause of your injury, the other party may raise the defense of comparative negligence.
Under Oklahoma Statutes §23-13, your compensation can be reduced if you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury. The amount you recover for damages decreases by your percentage of fault. If you are 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover any money for your damages.
That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorney on your side. They can fight back against unfair blame that could otherwise dramatically reduce the value of your claim.
Strength of Evidence
Even though you know the other person caused your injury, you may need to prove fault in court. You must have evidence to prove the legal elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. You meet the burden of proof when you convince the jury that there is a greater than 50 percent chance your claim is true.
If your case is weak, you may be forced to settle with the insurance company for less than your damages are worth.
How Much of My Settlement Do I Get?
Once the above factors are taken into account and you finally arrive at a settlement, there are still expenses that will need to be paid. Attorneys’ fees and the cost of the case must be deducted from the settlement proceeds.
Also, any outstanding medical bills or medical liens must be paid before you receive any money for your personal injury claim. In some cases, you may need to reimburse your health insurance company for medical bills it paid related to the accident claim.
An Oklahoma personal injury lawyer evaluates your case and provides an honest, detailed analysis of your legal options. An attorney also discusses the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit versus accepting a settlement offer. In addition, there could be other factors that affect your claim, such as pre-existing conditions or third-party defendants.
The insurance company and its claims adjuster have one goal: to pay as little as possible to get rid of your claim. Likewise, a personal injury lawyer has one goal: to put as much money in your pocket as possible. Please make sure you receive advice from the person who will fight for your best interest.
Contact the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas: