If you’ve another person has injured you in an accident, you are likely wondering, “how much is my personal injury case worth?”
The bad news is: there is no quick, easy answer to your question. The good news is that there are experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you determine the value of your case and help get you the financial compensation that you deserve.
Personal injury matters can result from almost any type of accident, including car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and more. It’s a broad area of the law that covers any case where a person has been injured due to another party’s negligent conduct. Recovering compensation in these matters depends largely on the facts of your case. Read on for some important general information on what goes into determining the value of your personal injury case.
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Meeting with South Florida Personal Injury Attorneys is the First Step
After sustaining an injury in an accident, your priority should be your safety and getting healthy again. After you’ve done this, the first—and most important thing—you can do is to promptly consult with a personal injury attorney. Florida’s statute of limitations generally allows personal injury cases to be filed within four years after your accident/injury.
Four years may seem like a lot of time, but waiting too long can have disastrous consequences to your case. For example, evidence becomes harder to obtain as time goes on. Evidence is a key factor in supporting your claim for “damages.” By waiting, you could negatively impact the value of your personal injury case. Memories may fade. Witnesses and records may become harder to track down. That’s why it’s best to act quickly and promptly.
At your first meeting, you and your attorney will discuss a number of factors that play into your case’s worth. You’ll discuss the facts of the case, including the “who, what, where, and when” of your accident. You will discuss records and any other documentation that may be available, such as accident reports, medical records, and more.
You’ll discuss the injuries you’ve sustained and how it has affected your life. In Florida, personal injury claimants can receive financial compensation for “economic” and “non-economic” damages (discussed more fully below). Economic damages account for all of the tangible expenses you have incurred due to your injury, including medical care costs, lost wages from time off from work, and future lost earnings and medical costs. Non-economic damages account for all the intangible ways the injury has affected you, including any way it has changed your life, any psychological issues stemming from the injury, and more.
Calculating and maximizing the potential value of your case involves painstaking, meticulous research into the facts and evidence. This may sound daunting. But an experienced personal injury attorney will make that process easy and support you all along the way.
No one can give you an exact figure on how much your claim is worth in just one meeting. However, your attorney will be able to advise you on the viability of your claim and what needs to be done going forward (e.g. – to file or not to file; what documents need to be obtained, etc.).
Economic Damages You Can Claim in Florida Personal Injury Matters
Again, you can receive compensation for economic damages, i.e., any of the tangible costs and expenses associated with your accident, such as past and future medical care and past and future lost wages.
Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, you may have received medical care to address the harm. Sometimes, this can be a quick hospital admission for casting a broken bone. Other times, you may have suffered a catastrophic injury, requiring extensive hospital stays, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Regardless of the severity of your injury, all your expenses related to medical care are potentially recoverable.
Medical billing records are key pieces of evidence in supporting your medical care costs. Even if partially paid by insurance, your full costs may be potentially recoverable. Notably, you are entitled to request a copy of your own medical records, including billing records, at any time. Alternatively, your attorney can (and will) also seek out all relevant medical and billing records associated with your claim.
Future Medical Care
You can receive financial compensation for care that has not occurred yet. If your accident has caused long-lasting or permanent injuries, it likely will require future medical visits across various medical specialties.
For example, if you’ve sustained a spinal injury in a car accident, you may be faced with years of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other forms of rehabilitation. You deserve compensation for these future losses and costs. Your attorney will work with you and medical experts (e.g. – life care planners) to determine the anticipated costs of future medical care, allowing you to claim that as part of your case.
Injuries put people out of work. Sometimes permanently. If you have had to take time off work for recovery, or even if you have just had to cut back on your hours, you have a potential lost wages claim. Employment records help to support lost wages claims, as they typically show hours worked, absences from work, and other important information for supporting your claim.
Future Lost Wages
Unfortunately, many accidents completely preclude you from returning to work. You could have suffered a debilitating injury that means you can’t return to the office. Many new clients are surprised to learn that you can actually recover damages for future lost wages.
In other words, your recovery can include compensation for anticipated lost earnings in the future. Attorneys work with expert economists, who can help advise on employment trends and how your career earnings might have played out, but for the accident that occurred.
Pain and Suffering – Non-Economic Damages in Florida Personal Injury Matters
You deserve financial compensation for all of the non-tangible costs and losses this accident has caused for you. Florida allows for recovery for “pain and suffering.” This includes psychological trauma, distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other long-lasting mental health issues.
Your attorney will also work with you to determine every single way your life has changed as a result of the accident. Any changes in career prospects, your love life, your family life, or any other way your enjoyment of life has been impacted are important for determining non-economic damages.
Notably, Florida even allows your loved ones a potential claim related to your injury. When you’re hurt, it affects your loved ones. If your spouse or child has suffered a loss of companionship or support, there may be a potential “loss of consortium” claim that can be filed against the negligent defendant. Your attorney can help you bring this and any other damages claims to get everything your family deserves.
Contact Experienced South Florida Injury Attorneys Today
It bears repeating: act quickly if you think you have a potential personal injury case. Waiting can cause issues that negatively impact the value of your claim. You likely have a lot of questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us and an experienced personal injury attorney will help with your case.