If you have recently been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what your case is “worth.” As experienced lawyers such as those who practice at Cohen & Cohen can confirm, it is virtually impossible to accurately estimate the true worth of a car accident case until an attorney has been permitted to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the crash and objectively evaluate their findings.
Why is it so difficult to calculate the worth of an individual’s car crash case? It is rarely easy to know, at a glance, who is at fault for the harm that has been caused, to what degree they are at fault, and how costly an accident injury victim’s harm will prove to be.
Fault and Causation
Before the value of a car accident case can be valued – and a fair personal injury damages award and/or insurance settlement pursued – the cause(s) of the crash must be accurately determined. Once they have been identified, an attorney can assess which party/parties may be held legally and financially liable for any harm that was caused. These investigations and assessments take time and skill.
Costs and Partial Liability Concerns
Once causation and fault have been determined, an attorney can then start assessing the value of a victim’s case. How expensive are their medical bills? Will they require future medical treatment? Have they lost wages due to their crash? How extensive was the property damage? Questions like these help an attorney understand how costly a crash has been for an injury victim.
Once the costs of a victim’s harm have been assessed, the matter of whether the victim was at all to blame for their injurious circumstances must be addressed. Washington D.C. holds victims to a contributory negligence standard. As a result, if a victim was partially to blame for their circumstances, they may be entitled to a significant insurance settlement but they are unlikely to be awarded personal injury damages for their harm.
Average and Extraordinary Settlements
There are a number of research tools that attorneys use to estimate the average personal injury damage awards and settlement awards handed down in different cases. One of the tools that many personal injury attorneys use when approaching the valuation process involves researching what similarly situated accident victims have been awarded in their cases. For example, the current median compensatory damages award handed down to auto accident victims in Washington D.C. is $9,000.
This figure alone won’t tell a lawyer much. It cannot be stressed enough that every case is different and that the valuation of your case will depend upon a variety of factors. However, this figure does give lawyers a frame of reference that roughly half of victims receive an award that is lower than this figure and roughly half of all victims receive an award that is higher than this figure. The value of your case could be below this median figure, approximate it or exceed it significantly. By speaking with a lawyer, you’ll know one way or the other.
If you have been in a car accident, contact a Washington, DC car accident lawyer as soon as you can.