At some point after being involved in a personal injury car accident in Washington State, victims start to wonder what the value of the accident is. This is certainly a normal and valid question.
Unfortunately, there is not a simple “one size fits all” answer. There are, however, some basics that relate to compensation for injuries sustained in a Washington State car accident that may help you to better understand the process of determining the value of a case.
The first, and most important, consideration is the issue of negligence. In order to recover anything in the way of compensation, the other driver must have been negligent, or at fault, in the accident. The other driver is not required to have been 100 percent at fault under Washington’s comparative negligence laws, but the defendant must have been negligent in some manner before being held responsible. The compensation to which you are ultimately entitled will have a direct relationship to the percentage of fault the defendant bears in the accident. In other words, if your case is worth $10,000 and the defendant was 75 percent responsible, then you would be entitled to $7,500 (75% of $10,000).
Next, the type and amount of damages incurred as a result of the accident must be considered. “Damages” is just a legal term for injuries. Basically, there are two types of damages — economic and non-economic. Economic damages are things like medical bills, repairs to your vehicle and lost wages. These are expenses that are easily quantifiable. Non-economic damages are what people often refer to as “pain and suffering,” although they actually encompass additional things as well. These are not as easy to quantify, or attach a dollar amount to, because they are more personal and subjective in nature. For example, a broken leg might cause more long-term damage to a professional athlete than to the average person. Likewise, a young child might suffer more psychological harm from being involved in a car accident than an adult.
Factors that typically go into an analysis of your non-economic damages include the type and severity of your physical injuries, your age and your general health prior to the accident as well as your lifestyle, occupation and family situation. There may be other factors that are unique and specific to your case.
A Washington State car accident attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to determine who was at fault before proceeding to analyze the damages you have sustained. Your attorney will then turn to the damages you suffered in the accident. The final value of your case will take into account any fault you may have shared in the accident, your economic and your non-economic damages. The amount that you and your attorney agree on for a final value will then be presented to the defendant as a settlement offer in most cases. You may eventually accept a settlement offer after negotiations or you may decide to proceed to a trial.
As you can see, the value of your Washington State car accident case depends on many factors and circumstances that are as unique as you are. The only way to accurately know what your case is worth is to sit down with an attorney and go over the facts of your case.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with the Washington State car accident attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm. Please call 509-457-1948 or use our online contact form.