5.25 million car accidents occurred in the United States in 2020 alone. That’s ten car crashes every minute of that year. Even a fender bender can cause a devastating injury. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you will need to be aware of what the process will entail. What kind of compensation can you get after an accident? Can you claim money for mental anguish? What evidence do you need to prove your case? Here are five important factors that affect compensation in a personal injury claim.
1. Hospital Bills
You can file a personal injury suit and be reimbursed for the money you spent on your hospital bills. However, make sure you have paperwork from your doctor and hospital that describes the treatments you have received.
Also, if you are receiving ongoing therapy due to your accident, you can receive compensation for those future expenses. You can claim the expenses for additional doctor’s visits, medication, and psychological therapy. If you need equipment like a wheelchair, you may be able to include these expenses in your lawsuit. Just be sure to keep itemized documents that show how much you are paying.
2. Lost Wages
Victims also suffer a loss of income while in the hospital recovering. Lost wages can also be included in a personal injury claim. If your injuries caused a disability and you can no longer work, you can claim loss of earning potential in your settlement. You can use pay stubs, W-2 forms, and wage verifications from your employer. If you are self-employed, you can use your tax returns or banking records to show proof of income.
3. Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering refer to the physical and mental anguish that your injury has created. Physical pain can, unfortunately, affect emotional well-being. In fact, 22.3% of people who survive car accidents develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have symptoms associated with PTSD, you should get tested for it and provide documents to the court about it. You can receive money without a formal diagnosis, but a diagnosis strengthens your case.
It can be hard to prove mental pain and suffering in court, even if you can show substantial physical pain. Therefore, you may need to provide your own testimony, talking about the pain you have endured. Friends and family members can also testify on your behalf, speaking to what they have observed. Documenting a change in your behavior and personality due to your accident can prove your claim.
4. Degrees of Fault
Sometimes, both the defendant and the plaintiff are at fault for the personal injury accident. Because California follows comparative negligence laws, the court will determine a percentage of fault for each party in a car accident case.
If the plaintiff bears a degree of fault, the court can deduct some of the money they would otherwise recover. For example, if you were 20% at fault for an accident that would have awarded you a total of $10,000 in compensation, you would only be able to recover $8,000 from your lawsuit.
5. Eyewitness Evidence
You will need to testify about what you were doing during the accident. The defendant’s lawyer will cross-examine you, so be prepared to handle difficult questions. However, the most valuable evidence will be from a third party who witnessed the crash, as they are a non-bias party. Even if they did not see the crash itself, they can provide evidence about the road conditions or other drivers.
Or, if someone else was in your car, they can testify in court. Your lawyer should prepare them for their testimony and ask them questions so the judge and jury can understand their answers.
The Factors for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
You can file a personal injury claim after a car accident, but your chances of success increase if you can prove why you should be compensated for hospital bills and lost wages. Other areas that can be compensated are pain and suffering. However, you need paperwork that shows you are receiving therapy and have a diagnosed health issue. Supply the court with evidence, and you can have a successful case outcome. An experienced personal injury lawyer can build a winning case for you. Legacy Accident Lawyers serves the city of Tustin and offers a free consultation to get started. Contact us to learn more.