If someone else’s negligence gave you a serious personal injury, it is natural to wonder what your lawsuit against the at-fault party could be worth. The value of your claim can help you plan your future. The worth of a personal injury claim in Arizona can depend on many factors, including a jury’s interpretation of how much the accident made a plaintiff suffer. Pain and suffering damages are some of the hardest to estimate on your own. You may need a personal injury lawyer’s assistance to figure out how much your claim is worth in Phoenix.
Factors That Determine the Value of Your Injury Claim
No two personal injury claims are exactly alike. The person behind the claim makes the results too variable for an accurate average settlement value. Rather than searching for average settlement amounts, ask an attorney to analyze the unique factors specific to your case that may determine the value of your injury claim.
- Previous health status
- Injury severity
- Amount and duration of pain and suffering
- Eligibility for exemplary damages
- Comparative negligence
- Insurance coverage available
These and many other factors could affect the outcome of your personal injury case. The only way to obtain an accurate estimate of what your injury claim might be worth is through a free consultation with an attorney. A lawyer can assess all relevant factors to provide an honest opinion.
How Damages Increase How Much Your Personal Injury Case Is Worth
In general terms, a personal injury claimant with extensive, severe or expensive damages will receive more money in compensation than someone with a minor injury claim. The amount a plaintiff recovers in insurance money or a jury verdict in Arizona directly correlates with his or her amount of damages.
- Past and future medical costs
- Losses of income and benefits
- Lost future capacity to earn
- Permanent disfigurement or disabilities
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Property damage repairs
- Wrongful death damages
- Punitive damages
Greater damages equal greater claim value. The more damages you can list on your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, the more money the defendant may offer to settle your case. A lawyer can help you identify, list and properly estimate the value of all your accident-related damages for a claim.
How a Plaintiff’s Actions Can Affect a Damages Award
In determining the value of an award, an insurance company or jury will analyze the actions of both the defendant and the plaintiff. Many personal injury claims involve the comparative fault or negligence of the injured party. Arizona Revised Statute 12-2505 states that if a plaintiff was partially responsible for his or her injuries – either through negligence or the assumption of risk – the degree to which he or she was at fault will reduce a compensatory award proportionately. Your actions relative to the accident, therefore, could affect your damages award.
If the defendant in your claim alleges that you were partially to blame for your injuries, it is up to a jury’s discretion in Arizona what percentage of fault to assign to you. If the jury decides to apply the comparative negligence doctrine, it will reduce your judgment award by your percentage of fault. Since Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state, there is no cap on how much you can be at fault for an accident. The courts will still allow you to recover even after finding you 99% responsible.
Another way in which your actions could affect a damages award is in the steps you take or fail to take after an accident. Failing to preserve key evidence, for example, could negatively impact your ability to prove a defendant’s fault for your damages. The best way to maximize your compensatory award is to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you make all the correct moves toward a successful outcome from the beginning. Hiring a lawyer is something you can do to positively affect your damages award.