According to a 2002 report from the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average United States economic cost of a critically-injured crash survivor is $1.1 million. The average cost of a roadway fatality is a little less, at $977,000. These costs can include medical bills, vehicle repairs, and even time that is lost from work because of the injuries.
With accidents costing those involved so much in common car crashes, it makes sense that crash victims typically want to seek compensation to help pay for these fees by making claims against those at fault. In a perfect world, the judge or jury would automatically believe the plaintiff and give him or her the amount that is requested in the claim. However, that is not how lawsuits work: the plaintiff must provide evidence that shows the defendant is at fault. The accident victim also has to provide proof that the amount of compensation that is asked for is warranted.
Factors That Affect Accident Claims
A judge or jury will examine a variety of factors when determining the validity of a case and how much it is worth. Some of the major factors include:
The consistency of your accounts. A judge or jury will likely become suspicious of the validity of your claim if your version of events regarding the accident changes. Crash victims must give multiple explanations of the events that occurred leading up to, during, and after the accident to a variety of different people, including physicians, insurance adjusters, first responders, hospital workers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and attorneys. The defendant’s attorney and the judge or jury will look for discrepancies in your account and if any are found, they will surely use them against you. Staying consistent with your story will increase your chances of winning your claim and receiving the amount you deserve.
If the doctor’s opinions support your medical claims. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will examine your medical records very carefully to look for any discrepancies between your doctor’s findings and opinions and your claims. They will pay special attention to what you say about your pain and discomfort levels, and compare them to what the doctor believes you should feel, according to the type of injuries you have and treatments you’ve received. If the doctor’s opinions don’t support your claims, the attorney will likely state that you are exaggerating your injuries.
If you have solid proof of the defendant’s negligence. Unless you have substantial evidence that proves the defendant’s negligence, you likely won’t win your case, which is why having an experienced car accident attorney on your side is essential. If you have a sub-par attorney working for you and the defendant hired a skilled lawyer, you will likely lose your case, as your attorney won’t have the evidence and knowledge needed in order to win. A skilled attorney will likely hire investigators and medical experts, and find witnesses who can corroborate your account of the accident.
If your injuries are consistent with your lifestyle. The defense attorney will likely hire an investigator to monitor your actions, mostly to see if your injury claims match your lifestyle. If you allege that you are so injured that you can’t work, but the investigator catches you jogging around the neighborhood, your claim won’t be taken seriously. The attorney for the defendant will accuse you of lying, or at the very least, exaggerating your injuries, and your chances of winning your case will become almost non-existent. Living the kind of life that is expected with the type of injury you claim is essential if you want to receive compensation for your crash.
What Is Your Case Worth?
The amount of compensation you may receive depends on a variety of factors, including the type of injury you have. As you may expect, the more serious the injury, the more compensation you will likely receive. For example, head and vertebrae injuries will likely garner more compensation than a muscle sprain or strain. To get a better idea of what your case is worth, contact the attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP by calling 855.947.0707.