When you suffer injuries due to the fault of another, one of the first things you should do, after seeking medical attention, is determine whether or not you should bring suit against the person(s) responsible. To do this, you will need some idea of what your personal injury case is worth. If you stand to recover very little, suing may not be worth the hassle.
Typically, when an individual consults with an attorney regarding a possible personal injury suit, they are still receiving medical treatment for their injuries. At this stage, no personal injury attorney can honestly say how much your case is worth. This is because a large part of any award you receive will depend upon the ultimate cost of your medical care, and at this stage it may not be possible to know what your prognosis is and what treatment you will need in the long-run. Nonetheless, here is a look at how you can get an idea of what your personal injury case might be worth in Oklahoma.
The first place to start in determining the value of any personal injury case is with damages. Damages are the economic losses and physical and emotional harm you suffer as results of an accident. There are two basic types of damages:
Economic damages are damages that have a quantifiable monetary value. These include medical expenses, prescription drugs, loss of earnings, damage to property or anything that has a dollar amount or a receipt for it and is an economic loss.
Non-economic damages are damages for which a specific monetary value is difficult to assign, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma. This is usually where the fight typically occurs in a personal injury case. Claimants and insurance companies rarely agree on how much value should be placed on non-economic damages, and typically the jury has to determine what it believes to be fair compensation based on a variety of different factors.
Factors affecting the value of your claim
Liability – Cases in which another is clearly liable for injuries are worth more than cases with disputed liability. So, if the person that you hold responsible for your injuries disputes that claim, your case may be worth less. Furthermore, in Oklahoma, the percentage of your own liability will be subtracted from the amount of compensation you are awarded; and if you are 50% or more at fault, you will be barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries at all.
Your injuries – The first aspect that will be looked at are the injuries themselves. If you re-injure a part of your body that was previously injured, your case may be worth less. Oklahoma law only requires the party at fault to compensate the injured party for injuries directly caused by their negligence. Therefore, you cannot expect to be fully compensated for injuries that compound preexisting injuries.
The second aspect to be considered is the medical treatment required and the permanence of your injuries. What type of medical care will you need? What will be the intensity, frequency and duration of your treatment, and will you suffer any permanent impairment? Being able to prove with reasonable certainty that your injuries will require future treatment or be permanent can greatly affect the amount of compensation you receive. This normally requires the testimony of a doctor who is specifically qualified to give such an opinion.
How reasonable your medical bills are – Oklahoma law only requires that the party at fault compensate the injured party for medical expenses that are reasonable and necessary. Anything above and beyond what is considered reasonable will be disallowed.
It is difficult to place a value on a personal injury case early on, but may be easier to do so later when you have a better idea of your prognosis and what kind of medical care your injuries will require. The only way to make a determination is to first add up your quantifiable economic damages and then seek the advice of a qualified personal injury attorney who can give you an idea of what the value of your non-economic damages might be with respect to all factors that may affect their value.
Free Consultation: Sapulpa Personal Injury Attorney
For a free consultation with a Sapulpa personal injury lawyer, call the Wirth Law Office – Sapulpa attorney at (918) 248-0067 or toll-free at (888) 947-8452; or submit the question form at the top right of this page. Either way you reach out to us we will promptly respond to your legal concerns about your unique personal injury situation.