If you were injured in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Arizona, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from them. However, you need to know how much your claim is worth, how long it could take to get the compensation you deserve, and the possible hassles you could encounter when going up against the motorist’s insurance company.
Determining the value of your claim is complicated. You need to understand the two steps involved in figuring this out.
Step #1: Calculating the Compensation You Should Recover in Your Auto Crash Settlement
The first step in valuing your claim is determining the amount of damages the insurance company should pay you.
You Can Recover These Types of Compensation Under Arizona Law
- Medical expenses. You should be reimbursed for the medical treatments needed to treat your injuries. This can include surgeries, hospitalizations, doctor visits, physical therapy, mental health counseling, medications, and assistive aids. You are also entitled to future medical expenses if you have not fully recovered from your injuries or suffered a permanent injury that will require long-term care.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity. You should recover your past and future lost wages for the time you are off work while recovering from your injuries. You should also receive lost perks of your job, such as lost bonuses, commissions, and sick and vacation time. If you must change jobs or become permanently disabled due to your injuries, you are entitled to your lost earning capacity damages to compensate you for the wages and other benefits you will lose for the rest of your life.
- Pain and suffering. You could endure pain, suffering, and emotional distress from the auto accident and your injuries. Your settlement should fully compensate you for the past and future pain and suffering you experience.
- Property damage. The insurance company should also pay you the cost of repairing or replacing your motor vehicle and any other property damaged in the wreck.
- Wrongful death damages. If a family member was killed in a car crash, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death action.
Step #2: Determining What Factors Affect Your Claim’s Value
When determining the value of your claim, you also need to consider the factors that can make your claim stronger or weaker. The factors will affect the overall value of your case.
Factors That Can Impact a Claim’s Value
- Seriousness of your injuries. If you suffered severe injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, internal organ damage, or back injury, you will need long-term medical care and could be off work for months or longer while recovering. This can make your case stronger and increases the value of your claim.
- Liability disputes. Your claim would be worth less if there were legitimate disputes as to who caused your car accident or if you were partially to blame for causing it. Under Arizona’s comparative negligence law, the amount of compensation you could recover would be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the collision.
- Mistakes you make. Even if you have a solid claim against the negligent driver, the value of your claim could be reduced if you make mistakes in your case. Not obtaining prompt medical care or agreeing to give a recorded statement are a few errors that can give the insurance company ammunition to fight your claim and force you to accept less money in your settlement.
- Settlement vs. trial value. The value of your claim may be less if you settle your claim instead of taking it to trial. You may have to agree to accept slightly less compensation to come to an agreement with the insurance company. If you take your case to a jury trial, you would request all the compensation you deserve. However, there is no guarantee the jury would award it to you.
What Is the Best Way to Value Your Claim Accurately?
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with extensive experience successfully settling and litigating auto crash claims can help you value your claim accurately.
At Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we handle car collision claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only owe us attorney fees when we settle your case. To learn about the value of your claim and how we can assist you, use our online contact form or call us at 928-226-0165 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today. We also invite you to order our free book, Injured in Northern Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You.