The settlement of your personal injury claim could determine whether or not you can afford medical bills and other associated costs. That’s why it is important to get an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX, from day one.
What Factors Determine the Size of a Personal Injury Claim?
The Severity of Injuries
The severity of your injuries is likely the single most crucial factor in determining the size of your claim. This includes physical and psychological damages, such as how long it will take to fully recover, whether the injuries resulted in permanent disability, plus pain and suffering.
Personal injuries that require multiple surgeries or long-term rehabilitation will likely result in a larger settlement. It also means your lawyer needs to make a compelling case for why you should receive enough compensation to cover all associated costs.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer
It is also important to keep in mind that your injury lawyer plays a significant role in determining the size of your claim. An experienced attorney has access to information and resources unavailable to inexperienced practitioners. This is part of the reason why settlement amounts may vary across similar cases.
We have nothing against budding lawyers, but experience speaks for itself. People who choose to go with experienced lawyers may avoid litigation and get a better settlement.
Lost Wages or Loss of Earning Capacity
Lost wages or a decreased earning capacity due to your injuries can also be considered when determining the size of your injury claim. But your lawyer will need to provide evidence linking the accident to lost wages and prove that you could have made more if it weren’t for the accident and resulting injuries.
To make this work, a lawyer should provide medical records, proof of employment, and other evidence showing how the personal injury has impacted your income. However, the issue of lost wages can be complicated for self-employed people.
Impact on Quality of Life
Let’s say you are in a car accident and suffer severe back pain, limiting your ability to participate in activities that used to bring you joy. This lost quality of life can be taken into account when calculating the size of your injury claim.
A lawyer needs to demonstrate how your life has changed and provide evidence that links it directly to the accident and resulting injuries. This may involve getting an expert opinion or finding witnesses who can testify to the changes in your life after the accident.
Pain and Suffering, Emotional Distress, and Loss of Consortium
Personal injuries can also cause pain and suffering, emotional distress, or disruption of relationships with family members. And your attorney can include non-economic damages like these when calculating your settlement.
Unfortunately, these types of losses can be difficult to prove. That is why it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to make a strong case for non-economic losses.
A punitive damage award may be given in addition to medical expenses and wage loss damages. It is meant to punish the other party for their negligent behavior and can significantly increase the value of your claim.
However, it is important to note that punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases. Your attorney must demonstrate that the other party’s behavior was incredibly reckless or intentional to get approved for this damage.
The legal jurisdiction in which the personal injury occurred can also play an important role in determining the size of your settlement.
For example, Texas has a modified comparative negligence rule which allows people to sue for damages even if they are partially at fault. This means people can still recover damages if they are found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident.
Insurance Coverage in Houston, TX
The insurance coverage available to the other party can also determine the size of your injury claim. This is a way for the insurer to protect their interests and limit the amount of money they have to pay out in claims.
If the other party does not have enough insurance coverage, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to cover the remaining costs. In some cases, you may even file a suit against other parties involved in the accident (such as an employer or manufacturer) who may have additional insurance coverage.
Witnesses and Evidence
The amount of evidence and witnesses you have can also affect the size of your settlement. Your attorney has to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the accident for you to receive fair compensation. This may involve collecting medical records, witness testimonies, and photos or videos of the accident.
It is important to collect as much evidence as possible, even if it seems insignificant, so your attorney can get you a fair settlement. This is especially helpful if you are dealing with complex legal issues or the other party is disputing your claim.
Credibility and Past Conduct
Your credibility and past conduct can also impact the size of your settlement. If you have a history of making false claims or if there are questions about your character, it may be harder to prove that you deserve compensation.
On the other hand, if you have strong evidence, witnesses, and a good reputation, it is more likely that your attorney can get a higher settlement. It is also important to be honest and forthright throughout the process to preserve your credibility.
Expert Witness Testimony
In some cases, an expert witness may be necessary to help prove the extent of your injury and how much compensation you deserve. This can be a doctor who specializes in the area of your injury or a financial expert who can testify to lost wages and other economic losses.
By presenting an expert witness, you can increase the size of your settlement because their testimony adds credibility to your case. It also helps demonstrate the full impact of your injuries.
Statute of Limitations
Waiting too long to file a claim can also affect your settlement. Every state has a statute of limitations that says how long you have to file a personal injury claim after an accident occurs. If you do not file within this timeframe, you may be unable to receive compensation.
If you wait too long, witnesses may no longer be available to testify, or evidence may become too difficult to collect. Therefore, it is important to contact an attorney immediately to maximize your chances of getting a fair settlement. We recommend contacting an attorney within the first month after your accident.
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding on an injury settlement, which is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, TX. Call Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, today and take advantage of our free consultation. We will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.