What is My Jacksonville, Florida Personal Injury Case Worth
This is often the first question injured clients ask their attorneys.
The truth is that the value of your case is dependent on quite a few factors. The first would be the medical bills from your crash. You won’t know how much those bills are in total until you are finished with your treatment. Next, it depends on if you are entitled to recover your “loss of earnings” or “lost wages.” That is simply the amount of money you would have made if you weren’t injured and able to do your job. The calculation of lost wages could include long-term lost wages if the injury prevents you from doing your job in the future, such as if you lose the use of one arm and you were a surgeon. Additionally, you may receive money for property damage for the destruction of your vehicle. There is no mathematical formula that can be used to determine the exact value of your case. Every case is different, as are the people working on your case. The other driver’s insurance company and the jury your case is tried in front of will have major impacts on its value.
When asking an attorney to estimate the value of your case, be leery if an attorney over promises how much you could earn. Estimates made based on the value of cases similar to yours may not always be accurate. This is especially true in Florida because Florida’s no-fault auto crash law makes recovery for motor vehicle accidents very different from other types of accidents.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
The factors deciding the value of the claim depend on whether you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, an assault, or other incident that falls under a personal injury claim. Because of Florida’s no-fault auto accident law, recovery for motor vehicle crashes is different than for other types of accidents. The following is a guideline:
- Available money. If another party is found to be at fault in your accident, you can sue them for damages. Those damages would come from whatever liability insurance they carry and would be limited to the amount of coverage. For a motor vehicle accident under Florida’s no-fault law, you would first turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy to pay your medical bills, which should pay 80 percent of your medical costs and 60 percent of lost income, minus your deductible and up to the limit of your policy. Florida requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage, but you can opt for more coverage.
- Extent of injuries. Determining the amount of damages you are owed will primarily depend on the extent of your injuries and your medical bills. If the other party is 100 percent at fault for your injuries and they have enough insurance, you should receive damages for the total amount of your medical bills. For a car accident, there are exceptions to the no-fault law. If you suffered permanent injuries, a loved one died, or your medical bills are expected to exceed $10,000, you may be able to sue the other driver for compensation if he or she was found to be at fault. In this case, your compensation would come from that driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) policy, if he has it, and would be limited to the amount of the policy.
- Other losses. An attorney will be able to argue for additional damages to cover other losses, including lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, childcare, and more. These losses can be difficult to quantify and you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you.
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