How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident is never a good experience. You could be suffering from injuries, property damages, and even trauma. If the accident wasn’t your fault, why should you have to foot the bill? When you turn to personal injury lawyers, you have the chance of getting compensation.

At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we offer representation to those in New Jersey who have suffered losses as a result of someone else’s actions or inactions. One of the most common questions we get from potential clients is “How much is my personal injury case worth?” Here’s a closer look at how we determine this.

What Kinds of Compensation Could I Receive?

In New Jersey, you can get compensatory and punitive damages to help cover the losses you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. Let’s talk about the differences between the two and what you might be able to expect in your individual case.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are those that are meant to reimburse you for the various losses you’ve suffered. The two main types are economic and non-economic.

Economic damages, also called special damages, are those that have a quantifiable value attached to them. In other words, they have a known worth.

Medical expenses are economic damages that you can claim after an accident. They can include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Ambulance costs
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Home health care expenses

If you’ve suffered an injury that requires ongoing medical care, your lawyer will also ask for future medical expenses to help cover all of this for as long as you need treatment.

You can also claim lost wages. Suffering injuries in an accident usually means having to take time off work to get treatment or recuperate. This means that you’re losing the wages you would otherwise have earned.

In instances when the injury prevents you from returning to your regular job at full capacity or at all, you could also claim those future wages.

Non-economic damages are those that aren’t as easy to define because they don’t have a price tag attached to them. Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic damage that seeks to compensate you for the physical and emotional pain you’ve been through because of the injuries.

Loss of enjoyment of life is another damage you can claim. If you sustained an injury that prevents you from living your life as you used to, whether physically or emotionally, you can receive compensation.

A type of non-economic damage you can claim if you lose a loved one is loss of consortium. The goal of these damages is to compensate you for the loss of support and love that you’ve experienced.

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What Are Punitive Damages?

The other kind of damage that you may claim in some cases is punitive damages. These aren’t compensatory, however. They’re meant to punish the person who’s at fault.

In New Jersey, punitive damages are rarely granted by the court because the majority of claims deal with some form of negligence. Since negligence isn’t considered malicious or intentional, it doesn’t merit punitive damages.

To award punitive damages, the court has to feel that the defendant knew their actions would be harmful, and they did them anyway. The court will also consider how long they continued with those actions and whether they tried to hide them.

An example of a case that might be awarded punitive damages is someone who was texting while driving. They knew their actions could cause harm, and they went ahead and did them anyway. Not every type of texting and driving accident will warrant punitive damages, but some may.

In New Jersey, punitive damages can be up to five times your compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever number ends up being greater.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate the Value of a Claim?

Insurance companies tend to have little trouble coming up with compensation for economic damages. They take into account what your losses have been, from medical expenses and more, and strive to reimburse you for them.

Non-economic damages are a bit more complex, however. At the beginning of a personal injury settlement negotiation process, the insurers will add up the total medical expenses related to the injury. This then becomes the base figure on which the insurer will base non-economic compensation.

To award non-economic damages, insurers tend to turn to the multiplier method or the per diem method.

The multiplier method takes the total economic damages and multiplies them by a factor, usually ranging from 1.5 to 5. Minor injuries will tend to get multipliers of 1.5 or 2, while more severe ones are awarded higher multipliers.

The per diem method assigns a daily value and multiples it by the days it takes for you to recover. It also takes into account your life expectancy. Someone who is in their 80s and loses an arm because of an accident will generally receive a lower per diem than someone in their 20s going through the same circumstances.

The Only Guarantee Is There Is No Guarantee

It’s essential for people who have gone through an accident not to get bogged down on theoretical averages about what their claim is worth. Each claim is unique, and this means that you may get less or more compensation than other similar claims have received.

Your personal injury lawyer will do their best to give you an idea of what to expect, but none of it is a guarantee.

Factors That Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

One of the most important factors that influences what your personal claim is worth is the severity of your injuries. Settlements for serious injuries are typically higher.

The types of injuries that tend to get the most compensation are those that involve permanent disability or disfigurement, along with those that will require long-term medical care or rehabilitation.

Another factor that plays a role is whether you were partly to blame for the accident. New Jersey follows no-fault laws. This means that if you were partly to blame, you can still receive some compensation. Your percentage of fault will be subtracted from the total settlement.

In a car, motorcycle, or truck accident in New Jersey, you also have to worry about limited and unlimited rights to sue insurance coverage. If you have a basic policy, your medical expenses will be covered, but you can usually only seek non-economic damages if the injury you suffered goes past a severity threshold.

If you choose a policy with the unlimited right to sue, however, you can claim non-economic damages no matter what kind of injury you suffered. The evidence you have to prove your claim will also impact the kind of compensation you receive.  

You also have to remember that you are more likely to get higher compensation if you have a lawyer helping you. A lawyer has the necessary experience to fight for your rights and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Choose Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq

At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we offer the help you need if you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault. We’re ready to assess your claim so that we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

We have a dedication to offering compassionate representation while working tenaciously to prove your claim. With over 30 years of experience helping clients get the assistance they need, we know how to tackle a variety of personal injury claims, from motorcycle accidents to product liability and more.

You can expect respect from the moment you step into our offices. We treat all of our clients like family, so you can always feel comfortable reaching out to us with questions or concerns.

At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless you do. This protects you from additional fees, which could be devastating while dealing with medical expenses and other bills. We even offer a free consultation! Getting an assessment has never been easier.

You shouldn’t have to pay out of your own pocket for injuries and property damage that resulted from an accident that wasn’t your fault. By turning to a personal injury lawyer like those on our team at Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, you can get the assistance you need.

Call us at 1-800-923-3456 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.

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