Each personal injury claim has underlying facts and circumstances that add to and detract from its value, making it impossible to place an exact amount on your claim. However, your Las Vegas personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and provide a rough, ballpark estimate of what you might receive for compensation if you prevail in your claim.
Until you have a chance to meet with a lawyer, we provide a closer look at some factors that can influence the value of your personal injury claim.
How Severe Are Your Injuries?
All things being equal, people with the most severe injuries typically receive more compensation than those with minor injuries. For example, a broken leg is a nuisance and painful, but many make a full recovery within a few months after removing their cast or brace. Conversely, a shattered ankle likely requires reconstructive surgery and leaves victims with lifelong complications.
More severe injuries also increase the value of the claim because they are more costly. They often require surgery, which comes with expenses for a surgical team and hospitalization for recovery. Even when those who suffer severe injuries do not require surgery, they often need to spend days or weeks in the hospital.
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What Is the Nature of Your Injuries?
The value of your personal injury claim also hinges on the nature of your injuries. Certain injuries come with additional physical and emotional challenges that sometimes lead to embarrassment, frustration, and other negative emotions.
For example, a person who suffers permanent visible scars from cuts or burns in a traffic accident or another type of accident likely will receive more compensation than someone who has no permanent scarring. The same applies to someone who must have a limb amputated and deal with the frustration of learning how to use a prosthetic limb.
What is Your Long-Term Prognosis?
Closely related to the nature and severity of injuries is a person’s likelihood of a full recovery. Sometimes it’s obvious whether someone will make a full recovery because their injuries are relatively minor. In other cases, a full recovery is unlikely, which typically translates into more compensation for a personal injury claim.
Examples of injuries that often come with lifelong complications include spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will work closely with your doctor and other medical experts to learn about your long-term prognosis and factor it into your claim.
What Was Your Total Economic Loss?
Whether injuries come from traffic accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, or some other event, victims and their families face some level of economic loss. Economic loss is easily quantifiable and directly increases the value of a personal injury claim. Although economic loss comes from various sources after an injury, some are more common than others. They include:
- Medical expenses. The most severe injuries come with six or seven-figure price tags by the time you add up ambulance service, emergency room treatment, surgery, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and hospitalization.
- Rehabilitation costs. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and mental health services add to the economic loss of an injury.
- Lost wages. Those with severe injuries lose income because of missing work due to injury and hospitalization. Some never return to their job, losing a lifetime of wages and benefits.
- Costs for replacement services. Severe injuries make it difficult or impossible for victims to maintain their households after returning home from the hospital—some need to hire a cleaning service, handyman, lawn care service, or other outside help.
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How Have Your Injuries Impacted Your Life?
A portion of your personal injury claim includes compensation for non-economic losses. These losses, which are difficult to quantify, speak to the way your injuries have impacted your life physically and emotionally.
They include things like loss of consortium, pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and other ways your injuries have impacted your relationships and your ability to do the things you did before your injuries. Those who suffer the most severe injuries typically have greater non-economic losses, increasing the value of their claims.
Are There Any Insurance Policy Limits?
Insurance policy limits play a large role in determining the real value of your claim. Although your claim might be worth more, any insurance policy limits related to your claim can prevent you from collecting the full amount. For example, if you suffered injuries in a car accident and your attorney values your claim at $1.5 million, you might only be able to collect $500,000 because of the policy limit on the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability policy.
Were You Partially at Fault for Your Injuries?
Nevada courts apply comparative fault to personal injury cases, which can decrease the value of your claim. If you contributed to the cause of the event that led to your injuries, the court will assign you a percentage portion of the fault. If you win your case, the court will reduce the damages you can collect by that percentage. Insurance companies also factor this into settlement negotiations.
Contact our Attorneys if Someone Harmed You Due to Gross Negligence
If you suffered injuries because someone willfully harmed you or showed a complete disregard for your safety, you could be eligible for punitive damages. Courts award punitive damages to deter defendants from future harm and negligence, but they are rare. However, if your claim warrants suing for punitive damages, they can significantly increase the value of your claim.
If you have suffered injuries in a traffic accident or other event in Las Vegas or the surrounding area, Nevada law permits you to take action when someone else caused your injuries. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a no-obligation, free consultation.