You have been injured in a car accident and you are probably wondering: Is it worth it to bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver? What kind of compensation will you receive for your injuries?
Even if the driver faces a criminal lawsuit for drunk driving or reckless driving, the only way for you to recover compensation for your injuries is through a personal injury claim. Determining how much compensation you will receive is difficult since it depends largely on the facts of your case. Yet, both personal injury lawyers and insurance adjusters rely on a number of factors to calculate reasonable compensation (of course, both parties will generally disagree about what constitutes "reasonable compensation").
The following are some of the most important factors to consider.
Who was at fault for the accident?
Connecticut is a "modified comparative negligence" state. This means that you can recover compensation if you were 50 percent or less at fault for an accident. If, however, you were responsible for at least 51 percent of the accident, you will not be able to recover compensation.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on how negligent you were for the accident. For example, if a court determines that you were 25 percent negligent for an accident and your damages are $100,000, you will only be able to recover $75,000, or 75 percent of the damages.
What are the economic damages?
Economic damages are actual financial damages suffered. You can be reimbursed for your past, current and future medical bills, as well as loss of income caused by the accident (including anticipated income), funeral expenses and property damage. Medical experts and financial experts can help you and your attorney estimate future medical expense and lost income.
What are the noneconomic damages?
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate. They include pain and suffering, scarring, humiliation, impairment, loss of enjoyment of life and more. In many cases, a doctor can assign a rating to your disability based on your injuries. You will also want to consider how the injury or death affects your everyday life. What are the activities you used to do but can no longer do? Were there any pre-existing injuries? Life expectancy will also play a role in determining the damages you can recover.
Are there any punitive damages?
In some cases, such as drunk driving accidents, the at-fault party may also pay you punitive damages for his or her reckless actions. You may be entitled to recover double or triple damages.
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