Talking with an attorney from insurance companies is the worst thing you can do if you have been in a car crash. Knowing what not to say, will be crucial to your lawsuit success. You must understand that insurance companies "prefer" to deny your claim or at the the very least they want to pay as little as possible, not the most. So, after being the victim in a car accident, there are some things you should do immediately to ensure that you get a fair and comprehensive settlement, it is best to speak with an injury attorney as soon as possible.
What goes into the Settlement Amount?
You should be in the exact same situation as if the injury had not occurred if you file a personal injury lawsuit. A complete settlement will include all costs, expenses, and damages that you suffered as a result of the accident. These include:
Economic or Special Damages
Special damages are specific, quantifiable damage such as:
- Medical bills
- Hospital costs
- Drug prices
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Loss in quality of life
- Property damage
- Transport costs
Usually, you will need receipts or other proof to show the amount of your special damages.
Non-economic or General Damages
Because they aren't as concrete as other damages, general damages can be more difficult to calculate. These damages include:
- The two most painful things in life are suffering and pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium, also known as loss of marital relations
- Services lost
In valuing your case, the final type of damages that "could" be considered is punitive or exemplary damages. But what is punitive damages and is it awarded in all car accident cases? Punitive damages is a special type of compensation for personal injuries. Punitive damages do not provide compensation for injuries or damages suffered by the victim. Punitive damages, as their name implies, are only awarded to punish the defendant for wrongdoing. Unfortunately, punitive damages are not awarded in every car accident case. In fact, it is not awarded in most. The only instances where a plaintiff "might be" entitled to punitive damages is when the at-fault driver was deemed to be grossly negligent or reckless.
Standard of Proof in Florida
In order to be successful in a lawsuit, it is important to be prepared with what is required in Florida courts. Florida requires proof that damages are special or general to be shown . This would be 51% if it were a number. One could also say that the way you claim it happened more likely than the fact it actually did. Punitive damages, on the other hand must be proven to have a greater burden of proof. This standard is known as "clear, convincing" evidence. It would be closer to 75% as a number.
How to Calculate your Damages
It is easy to calculate some damages. You can easily calculate your special and economic damages by providing receipts and W-2s that show wages and costs for equipment, therapy, transportation, and other expenses. These are items for which you can provide concrete evidence. General damages are not based upon specific out-of pocket costs. Our accident attorney at Beharry Law can help you with this calculation.
You should choose an attorney who has sufficient experience in car accidents to know the value according to the non-economic damages that you sustained. They will be able to tell you what the average pain and suffering is for cases similar to yours. Your attorneys will also be familiar with how punitive damages are assessed in car accident cases. They will be able to tell you if you might receive them in your case. These factors all contribute to the overall value of your case.