At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC we hear from potential clients every week who have suffered an injury but don’t know whether it is worthwhile to seek compensation. “My injury is really minor,” they tell us, or “I don’t know if it worth anyone’s time.”
There is rarely a clear-cut answer as to how much your case is worth. To understand how a lawyer analyzes this situation, refer to the information below.
Your Economic Losses
Washington courts exist to compensate people for their injuries. Generally, you can receive compensation for any financial loss you have suffered as a result of your personal injury, such as:
Medical expenses, including surgery, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and prescription drugs
Lost wages if you couldn’t work while recovering from your injuries
Property damage, such as damage to your car in a collision
Take out your receipts, bills, or repair estimates and add up the amounts. These are your economic losses. If your injuries are so serious that you will continue to miss work in the future or need future medical care, then estimate those amounts as well.
Your Non-Economic Losses
Personal injury victims can also receive compensation for non-economic injuries. These are harder to calculate since there isn’t a receipt or estimate attached. Nevertheless, you can receive money for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical and mental disability
- Disfigurement and scarring
Analyze Whether You Contributed to the Accident
Washington law recognizes that sometimes victims contribute to their own accidents. Consider the following:
- A pedestrian, her nose buried in a book, walks directly behind a car backing out of a parking lot. The pedestrian is struck because she wasn’t watching where she was going.
- A driver is speeding through a yellow light when another driver T-bones him by racing through a red light.
In these examples, the victim made some mistake which contributed to their injuries. Nevertheless, Washington law still allows them to sue for compensation if they can prove the defendant was at least somewhat responsible for their injuries.
Under Washington’s contributory fault law, however, a victim’s financial recovery will be reduced by their proportion of fault. So, if your injuries are worth $50,000 but you are 50% responsible, you will only receive $25,000. If you were 20% responsible, you will receive $40,000.
It can be tricky to identify your degree of fault, so discuss the factual circumstances surrounding your accident with your personal injury lawyer.
Check How Much Money the Defendant Has
If you win a lawsuit, you get a piece of paper stating that the defendant must pay you money. And that’s all it is: a piece of paper. If the defendant has no assets, then you cannot receive anything, and your injuries will be worth nothing.
Many defendants rely on insurance policies to pay out compensation after they injure someone. For example, a driver should have auto insurance, and many people also have homeowner’s insurance (especially if they have a mortgage). Your lawyer can request information about the policy limits for these policies, which will give you some idea of how much is available.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer in Yakima Today
Instead of assuming your injuries are too minor, you should schedule a free consultation to analyze your case. One of the personal injury lawyers at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC will happily go over the facts of your accident and identify whether you can sue. Contact us today.