Anyone who has been injured as a result of another party’s negligence has the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to recover compensation. If you’ve been injured, it’s in your best interest to take legal action with the help of a Tampa personal injury attorney right away. But first, you may be wondering how much your case is worth. Here’s what you need to know about calculating the value of your case:
What Factors Will Affect the Value of Your Case?
Every personal injury case is unique, which is why it is difficult to determine how much your claim is worth without speaking to an attorney.
But in general, a number of factors can affect the value of your case, including:
- Your role in the accident
- Type and severity of your injuries
- Long-term consequences of your injuries
- Length of your recovery
- Emotional trauma
- How the injuries affected your ability to work
These are some of the many factors that must be taken into consideration when calculating the value of your claim.
What Types of Compensation Are You Entitled to For Your Injuries?
The three main categories of compensation that are awarded to victims in personal injury cases are:
- Special Damages
- General Damages
- Punitive Damages
What Are Special Damages?
Special damages are awarded to compensate victims for monetary losses they have suffered and expenses they have incurred as a result of their injuries.
Some of the most common types of special damages include:
- Medical expenses, including bills for hospital stays, physical therapy, prescription medication, rehabilitation, doctor’s visits, lab work, and more.
- Estimated cost of future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Estimated loss of future earnings
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses or monetary losses related to your injury
Special damages can vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. There is no limit on the amount of compensation you may be awarded to cover these losses and expenses. But you will need to be able to provide proof of these losses and expenses in the form of pay stubs, medical bills, receipts, and other types of evidence.
What Are General Damages?
Unlike special damages, general damages are awarded to compensate victims for non-monetary losses they have suffered as a result of their injuries. Some examples of non-monetary losses include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
There is no limit on the amount of compensation you may be awarded to cover these non-monetary losses. You cannot provide proof in the form of a receipt or invoice for non-monetary losses. But your attorney can help you calculate the value of these losses and provide proof of their existence.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Both special and general damages are awarded to compensate victims for specific losses and/or expenses. But punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the victim. Instead, these damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their negligent conduct.
Punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases. In fact, they are rarely awarded. The court will only award punitive damages when the victim is able to prove that the defendant is guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. In other words, the victim must show that the defendant either intentionally caused them harm or acted with a complete disregard or indifference to the victim’s life.
If the defendant intentionally harmed the victim, there is no limit on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded to the victim. But there is a limit in other cases. If the defendant’s negligence was motivated by financial gain, the cap on punitive damages is either $2 million or four times the amount of special and general damages awarded to the victim, whichever is greater. In all other cases, punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the amount of special and general damages awarded to the victim, whichever is greater.
How Will Comparative Negligence Laws Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Case?
Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws could impact how much your personal injury case is worth. Under these laws, the amount of compensation you are awarded for your injuries will depend on how you contributed to the cause of the accident. Pure comparative negligence laws allow victims to recover compensation for their injuries even if they are partly at fault. But the amount of compensation victims are able to recover will be reduced by their fault percentage.
For example, say you are injured in a slip and fall accident and suffer $100,000 in damages. The court finds that the property owner was 70% at fault and you were 30% at fault for the accident. You would typically be entitled to $100,000 in compensation for your injuries. But because you were partially to blame, the court will reduce your compensation to account for the role you played in the accident. This means your compensation will be reduced by 30% to $70,000.
So, although you can still recover compensation if you were partly to blame, you will not be able to recover the full amount. If you are found partially liable in your case, this could impact the value of your claim.
Discuss Your Case With Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the law gives you the right to recover compensation for your injuries. But you shouldn’t face the challenging process of filing a personal injury claim on your own. Instead, turn to the aggressive personal injury attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett for help.
Our team has successfully recovered over $115 million in compensation for our clients. With over 125 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to obtain the maximum compensation available for the injured. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.