One of the very first questions that most people want to ask a personal injury attorney: How much is my accident case worth? This is especially important in high dollar accident cases—where injured victims often need financial compensation to pay their medical bills and support their family.
Valuing an accident claim is complicated. The reality is that there are many different variables that could affect the value of your case. Here, our Washington personal injury attorneys highlight the four key factors that lead to high dollar injury settlements and verdicts.
The Severity of the Accident
With limited exceptions, accident damages are meant to be compensatory in nature—meaning they are usually tied to a specific economic or non economic loss. In other words, the more severe a plaintiff’s injuries and the more significant their damage, the more likely that they will be able to recover a high dollar settlement.
As described in the Washington Civil Jury Instructions, injured victims are entitled to an amount of money that will compensate them “reasonably and fairly” for the damages that were “caused by the negligence of the defendant.”
Applying that somewhat vague standard to real world situations can be challenging. If you or your loved one was seriously injured in an accident, an attorney can help you recover compensation for all losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent disfigurement or disability.
Proof of Full Liability
To hold another party liable for your accident, you must prove their culpability. In most personal injury claims, including most auto accident claims, liability is based on negligence. Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant acted in a careless or reckless manner and, by doing so, contributed to causing the accident. Without proof of liability, a high dollar settlement or verdict will be out of reach.
The ability to prove “full” liability matters in Washington because the state is a comparative fault jurisdiction. In effect, this means that injured victims can be held liable for part of their own accident, while still recovering compensation. However, when you are held partially liable, your recovery will be reduced proportionally. As an example, being held 30 percent at fault for your own accident results in a 30 percent reduction in compensation. In a high dollar accident, this can make an enormous difference.
Insurance coverage is another important issue—especially in high dollar accident cases. If you or your family member suffered severe injuries in an accident, you may run into an insurance policy coverage limits.
Of course, there are also some high dollar cases where insurance coverage is sufficient. For instance, if you were injured in a commercial truck accident, the trucking company may have more than enough insurance to cover the full extent of your damages.
How exactly insurance policy limits and coverage terms will impact your case depends on many different factors. Dealing with insurance companies is one of the most confusing, often frustrating aspects of high dollar personal injury claims. It is crucial that you consult with an attorney who knows how to hold defendants and large insurance companies accountable.
Ability to Navigate the Claims Process
Unfortunately, recovering full and fair financial compensation in a high dollar accident claim can be challenging. The claims process is notoriously complex. Defendants and insurers have an economic interest in trying to resolve these cases for the lowest amount possible—perhaps even denying liability altogether if they think that they can get away with it.
One of the biggest factors in determining the value of a high dollar personal injury case is your ability to navigate the claims process. In far too many cases, injured victims are not able to maximize their recovery. Put simply, you need a top-rated personal injury attorney on your side. A lawyer will be able to review your case, investigate the accident, gather evidence, prepare a claim, and take action to get you the full compensation that you need to pay your bills and support the people you care about.
Get Help From Our Washington Accident Lawyers Today
At Premier Law Group, our Washington personal injury attorneys have the skills and experience to handle high dollar accident cases. We will fight aggressively to help you maximize your financial compensation. To set up a no free, no obligation initial consultation, please contact us today. With office locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, and Renton, we represent accident victims throughout the region including in King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County.