Calculating Compensation Understanding the Valuation of Personal Injury Claims

After filing a personal injury claim, one of your first questions is probably, “How much money will I get?” We understand. Money is a big concern when you’re out of work, with bills piling up. Properly valuing your losses and assessing the compensation you should pursue is a delicate task that should be trusted to an experienced personal injury claim lawyer. Many factors contribute to the value of your claim, and an experienced personal injury attorney will know how to seek justice for every loss you’ve suffered. 

Don’t try to handle your Phoenix personal injury case on your own. Contact Silkman Law Firm today for a free case review with a skilled Phoenix personal injury attorney.

The Basics of Personal Injury Claims

What is a personal injury claim?

Under personal injury law, when someone is harmed because of the actions or inaction of another person, they have a legal right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company. To do so, they file a claim with the insurer. The injured party’s lawyer must prove that the at-fault party’s wrongdoing caused the injuries. Car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, and defective product injuries are common forms of personal injury cases.

If it can be proven that the at-fault party was negligent or acted carelessly, they should have to pay for the injured party’s losses from the accident. If the insurer does not agree to an appropriate settlement, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue the money they deserve in court. Most personal injury claims end with a settlement.

Types of Compensation Available

In Arizona, someone injured by another in a wrongful act or omission can pursue compensation for their accident-related losses. When the personal injury case goes to court, the compensation is awarded as “damages.” Arizona’s jury instructions outline the elements for awarding damages. Damages may include compensation for the fiscal losses of the plaintiff, like current and future medical care and rehabilitation, lost wages, and loss of earning potential. These are easily quantified and tallied using receipts, pay stubs, medical billing statements, or property damage estimates.

The jury instructions also include losses that, while not tangible, still have value. These damages can include the nature, extent, and duration of the injury, pain, suffering, and anxiety from your injuries, disability, disfigurement, and a loss of enjoyment of life because of your changed abilities or trauma. 

In Arizona, a jury can award punitive damages to an injured person if they determine that the at-fault party acted intentionally, with malice, or knowing that their actions might significantly injure others. Punitive damages are only available in a court case, not through a settlement, and they aren’t easy to get. 

Factors Influencing Claim Valuation

Each personal injury claim is different because of the circumstances of that claim. No two settlements or awards will be alike, even if the same type of accident and injury is involved in each claim. 

Some factors that may go into valuing your claim include:

  • Your current and future medical bills 
  • Whether you need accommodations in a nursing home or require in-home care
  • Whether you’re permanently disabled
  • Whether there has been disfigurement
  • The value of repairing or replacing your damaged property
  • Whether your home will need alterations to accommodate a disability
  • How much time you missed at work
  • Whether your earning potential is now limited because of your injuries or trauma
  • The extent of your pain and suffering
  • The accident’s impact on your life

The Role of Evidence in Valuing Your Claim

It’s your Phoenix personal injury lawyer’s job to properly value your case and build solid justification for the amount of your settlement. This is where evidence like medical records or your pain journal comes in handy.

Medical records can link your injuries and disability to the accident. This is why seeing a doctor right after an accident is so important, even if you don’t think you’re hurt badly. Save everything your doctor gives you, including all medical expenses and statements for care. To get money for your medical care, you have to prove that you need it.

Your pay stubs, showing the days you missed work to heal from your accident injuries, are also important. You’re entitled to demand full repayment for all unearned wages, even if you used PTO or sick time. 

You may be unable to return to work in the same capacity you had before the accident. If you’re temporarily or permanently disabled, this could affect your paycheck. For example, you may need to only work part-time or light duty, which might pay less than you were making before the injury. A letter from your employer may also help substantiate your claim for lost wages.

Statements from an auto repair shop for repairing your vehicle or a statement from your insurance company showing your vehicle was totaled can help prove the extent of your property damage losses. You may be able to claim other property damage, like a damaged phone, laptop, or watch.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Once your lawyer has valued your case and sent a demand letter to the other party outlining the compensation you deserve, the next step in the personal injury claim process is negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

The insurer may respond to your lawyer’s demand letter by:

  • Paying the amount of the demand (your case is now over)
  • Agreeing their client was liable but offering a lower settlement (negotiations begin)
  • Disputing the facts of the case (more negotiations and possibly a trial will follow)

Experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyers are also skilled negotiators. Your lawyer may go back and forth with the insurance company or agree to mediation to reach a settlement agreement.

When to Seek Legal Assistance

The best time to talk to a lawyer is right after the accident. The next best time is today. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better the chances for a successful outcome in your claim. The other party’s insurance company may try to settle fast, hoping you won’t get an attorney who knows the actual value of your claim. Your Phoenix personal injury lawyer will protect your rights and can recognize any lowball offers. Your attorney won’t let the insurance company take advantage of you.

Contact Our Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney to Learn More

Have you been hurt in an accident you didn’t cause? We can pursue full and fair compensation for your losses so you don’t have to do the work yourself. Contact the legal team at Silkman Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix injury attorney.