Blog of William C. McCaskill
How Much Money Can I Get In A Car Crash Case?
Posted on August 28, 2017
The amount of damages largely depends on the strength of the victim/plaintiff’s evidence and the quality of the insurance company’s legal defenses.
Initially, the fight is not a fair one. Although there is a relatively low burden of proof, the victim/plaintiff must assemble vast quantities of evidence and present this evidence to the jury in a compelling way. On the other side, most insurance companies have many lawyers and investigators whose sole mission is to reduce or deny compensation to injured parties.
An aggressive attorney evens the odds, first by assembling evidence that is legally relevant as well as emotionally persuasive, and secondly by fighting just as hard for the injured party as the insurance company fights against him or her.
Medical bills are usually the largest item in this category. According to one study, the average cost for an injury-related hospital stay varies between about $30,000 and $60,000. Critical care injuries can cost exponentially more. Making matters worse, many health insurance companies will not cover these expenses, citing legal liability issues.
Victim/plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for these losses, and there is more good news. Most personal injury attorneys can arrange for victims to receive treatment from qualified medical professionals without the upfront cost. This arrangement not only gets victims the ongoing care they need, including rehabilitative therapy but also helps build a strong case. Then, when the case is resolved, an attorney can negotiate to lower the bill, thus increasing the proportion of money that the victim keeps.
Lost wages are the other big item. Victim/plaintiffs are entitled to both past and future lost wages, and in many wrongful death cases, that second item is difficult to calculate. So, attorneys often partner with accountants or other professionals, to put together compelling evidence that the jury can easily understand.
Victim/plaintiffs are also entitled to property damage, such as the loss of a family car. Both the economic and emotional values are compensable.
The indirect losses in car crash and other cases often far eclipse the direct losses. Some common categories include:
- Pain and Suffering: To help the jury determine a dollar amount, many lawyers advance either a medical bills-based model (e.g. three times the medical bills for pain and suffering) or a per diem model (e.g. $100 a day).
- Loss of Enjoyment in Life: Many injured victims have jobs, hobbies, or other interests that they cannot pursue with the same vigor because of their injuries.
- Emotional Distress: Car crashes create considerable stress and anxiety over unpaid bills, serious injuries, and a host of other issues.
Under the zone of danger rule, some victims do not have to be physically injured to collect compensation for noneconomic losses. The most common example is uninjured parents who share a vehicle with an injured child.
Contact an Assertive Attorney
Car crash victims may be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Oxon Hill, contact The Law Office of William C. McCaskill, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.