What is the Value of my Car Accident Claim?
When someone is injured in a car wreck, one of the first things they want to know is how much their injury claim is worth. They usually want to know this right away, so they have some idea of what they can expect to recover to compensate them for their injuries.
The first important point to make here is, it is impossible to provide an accurate valuation of your claim shortly after an auto accident. At this point, you will have only just started to be treated for your injuries, and if your injuries are moderate to severe, it will take a while before you are recovered or before you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
In the beginning, it is also difficult to know exactly how the accident happened and what were all the contributing factors. An extensive investigation is required to determine which parties were at fault and to uncover all potential legal avenues toward recovering compensation.
One word of warning – early on in any case, it is not uncommon for the insurance adjuster or another representative from the insurance company to contact the injured party and present a settlement offer. Insurance companies know that when someone has been hurt in a car crash, they usually have to miss work for several weeks or longer while their medical bills pile up. With finances tight, people are often motivated to take the first offer that comes their way.
You should NEVER accept the first settlement offer that an insurance company gives you, and here’s why. As mentioned previously, there is no way of knowing the true value of your car accident claim until your doctor gives his or her final assessment of your condition. For this reason, the offer you get is likely to be for far less than your case is worth.
If you have been contacted by the insurance company and been given an offer, the next phone call you should make is to a seasoned Mississippi car wreck attorney, so you can review your case and discuss your legal rights and options.
How Much is a Car Accident Case Worth in Mississippi?
No two cases are alike, and there are several unique factors that will help determine the value of your auto accident claim, these include:
- The severity of your injuries;
- How well you followed the recommendations of the medical professional(s) you saw;
- Which parties were primarily at fault for the accident;
- The extent of the evidence (e.g., police report, photos of the scene, etc.) and eyewitness testimony that is available to help substantiate your claim;
- The ability to secure the testimony of expert witnesses who can help articulate the full extent of the losses you suffered.
Damages Available in Mississippi Car Accident Cases
There are various types of compensation that may be available for auto accident injury victims. These can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are actual monetary losses an injured party suffers, such as medical bills (both current and future), loss of current and future earnings, and property damage.
- Non-economic Damages: These are losses that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. Examples include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of enjoyment.
In some rare cases in which the actions of the responsible party were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from engaging in similarly egregious behaviors in the future. In Mississippi, punitive damages are capped based on the net worth of the defendant.
Juries are Unpredictable
The last point we want to make about determining the value of a car accident claim is that damage awards can fluctuate significantly based solely on who is determining the award. Some juries are more conservative than others, and you never know what can happen during a trial. This is why it is generally in the best interests for both sides to settle the case prior to litigation.
That said, your lawyer should have the proven ability to secure large damage awards at trial and be fully prepared for litigation from the outset. This way, if the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith, you will be in the best possible position to obtain a highly favorable outcome if the case ends up at trial.
Contact the Experienced Mississippi Car Accident Lawyers at the Gardner Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in Mississippi, get in touch with the skilled car wreck lawyers at the Gardner Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. Call our office today at (228) 900-9618 or message us through our online contact form.